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Police Wife Help

Community Member



my husband has been a police officer for 18 years.

Suddenly he can’t get dressed for work, can’t go to work, and is generally a mess.

He’s seen the doctor and has been diagnosed with PTSD- not a huge shock for me as I’ve watched the symptoms worsen for years, most notably in the last 12 months

what is shocking is that he’s now not going back to work.. ever - I found this out today

We now face an uncertain future 

anyone been here and can tell me what to expect 

the doctor said today (and it keeps going around in my head) He will never fully recover

what the actual!

excuse my ignorance- I’m in shock and not feeling overly able to communicate right now

i appreciate your responses in advance 

10 Replies 10

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Angel, welcome to the forums. 


It's a sad situation that your H is dealing with PTSD, it can be a horrible and devastating illness to live with. 
I won't argue that he can't return to work in the Police force, the demands of this role, depend upon their members to be mentally well. 
Having PTSD could compromise not only HIS life but the people around him - with no ill intention. 


So I couldn't argue with not returning to that field of work. 


I completely disagree with the statement: "He will never fully recover"... although the journey of healing from PTSD takes a darned lot of focus on HEALING, commitment and study (in my case). 
I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD and was told to medically retire because of this (and years before was told to medically retire because of physical injuries), but not by any experts in my field of work. It's not the Police or Armed forces.
I haven't retired. 


Similar to having other MH illnesses, the person must WANT to heal and WANT to do everything required TO heal. 
I could say with some surety that H cannot return to Police work BUT later on, he could return to some other forms of work, IF he has healed to a point he can cope with this. 


I've more or less healed from C-PTSD but many don't. 
Healing cannot be forced by a spouse, or anyone at all, but the support of a loving and caring spouse could help the process of healing. 


This is a stressful time. I can understand your distress.
If you want immediate support, please phone 1800RESPECT to ask them all about this diagnosis and get support for yourself also. 

Much love

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dearest Angel,


A very caring and warm welcome to our forums..


I am so deeply sorry that your husband has been diagnosed with PTSD…my heart goes out to you both….I have PTSD caused from long term trauma…and do know by my lived experience how very hard it is to mange at times….


With PTSD, my life can be fairly “normal*….for around 98% of the time…then, I might hear something, see something or even smell something that triggers me into a PTSD cycle/downer  and immediately I’m down that so call “rabbit hole” before I even realised I was triggered….My psychiatrist also told me that I’ll never recover 100%…in my own opinion..I think he is right….but on a daily basis, my life is good….it’s the unexpected triggers…that take me down….


PTSD is different for everyone, and effects each other differently….The most important thing is for your husband to get the help he so much deserves and needs earlier rather then later….


I have had a few years of counselling, which I really do hope that your husband does reach out for….My Dr contacted set me up with a Victims Counsellor, which I found helpful in learning different coping strategies to getting past all the built up fear I had of just simply living day to day….It took a lot of hard work but now I’m doing volunteer work at a charity shop, doing my own shopping and getting back out into society….I agree with our lovely ecomama…it’s a horrible and devastating illness to live with….but with  professional help, and counselling hopefully your beautiful husband will start to heal…Just by you being their for him, when he feels to talk, or needs a gentle hug…will be an added big help for him to heal,  along with professional help..


Sending you my kindest thoughts dear Angel, with my care..and a warm caring hug 🤗…(if that’s okay)…


We are here for you, whenever you feel up to talking…







Community Member

Thank you both so much for your replies


i agree you absolutely can heal from PTSD, it wasn’t my comment - it was the doctors statement.


I’ve calmed down now from the shock and appreciate your support, thank you so much 😊 

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

HI Angel, indeed you are one as you love your husband very much.


I havent been a policeman but I have been in the AirForce, a Prison Officer, dog ranger, security guard and Private Investigator. Indeed I know how your husband is feeling because 9 years ago at 57yo I had 2 psychotic events in quick succession and could not return to my beloved profession of PI. In fact my doctor told me I could no longer work at all.


There is little doubt I had PTSD among the bipolar, depression, and dysthymia. By far my greatest supporter was my loving wife, married now 11 years, yes, she was worried about income etc but together we pressed on. Luckily we were granted the Disability Pension however 3 months later they clamped down on applicants so its harder to get now.


Every situation is different and yours is no exception, however your husband likely has a disability clause in his superannuation plus workcover and having been an investigator with workcover and other organisations I would very strongly suggest you both get a good solicitor specialising in workers compensation.


If he can work in another related field other options include security officer, council work, etc but I would seek part time work and supplement any other income like super, reason being he has been overloaded and his doctor has the say if he can work at all. 


I'm glad you've calmed down. Oh, BTW, thanking your husband for his service in protecting us all.


Thank you so much, great advice

Have him go back to GP and raise a work cover claim. 

Submit that too his HR in the police, they will action with the polices insurance provider and he can go through the process of work cover.

This will cover you for his wages 12 months and ongoing medical care.

Best wishes

Community Member

Hi Angel

I am so sorry that you and your husband are currently going through this process.  I can 100% relate.  My husband was a police officer for 15 years and was very good at his job.  In June 2018 at an organised AAO he had a complete breakdown.  Unable to communicate or breath and became completely disassociated with his surroundings.  Unfortunately this happened some travel away from home and he was in a hotel room following his breakdown and things just got worse.

Since then, we have followed the painful road that is PTSD for first responders / Police.  To be extremely honest, it has been absolutely awful and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Unfortunately, the senior staff at his LAC (Station) were not the best people to be dealing with this type of situation and over time have made this a horrible situation for my husband and our family.  Overall, the Police don't have a great culture when it comes to dealing with this type of injury, as unfortunately, I believe it is becoming an epidemic sweeping the force.

There will be a process that your husband has to go through involving the WC, Return to Work coordinators.  The Police are really not trying to get their staff back being operational, they are signing them off as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, it's all about the stats for the cops.  They don't seem to care about the person and what phrases mean  - "will never recover".

It is very hard for a partner and to be honest I have struggled for 4 years now.  Working full time, raising my girls and keeping my husband alive.  He has had a pretty good support network organised through insurance, although some aspects have been questionable, most of it has got him to a point now where most of his trauma has been processed, although recently he was told that the Insurer feels he can no longer be rehabilitated and the treatment process is changing - therefore his entire support team (except our GP) is also changing.  It's exhausting.

Yes, it's uncertain future.  The beginning is really difficult but get your GP on board ASAP, he will be given access to a psychologist and psychiatrist to start the WC side of things. 

I almost lost myself as there is just zero support for partners in this situation.  My girls keep me going and one day, I know I will get him back, I just hope it's soon.

Community Member

15 months in now.


He barely leaves the house unless it’s for a medical appointment and is severely dissociated 95% of the time.


there is absolutely no support for wives, partners or families and very little support for the officer themselves 


something has to change

Community Member

It sounds like he's burnt out. My brother is a cop and I've seen the changes in him over the years. He's more emotionally distant, doesn't care about others that much, became very cold actually. They see so much trauma in their job without any way of processing it that it eventually catches up with them.

I would encourage you to support him changing jobs. My bro is only 50 and wants to retire because of the demands both on his family with shift work, the trauma of attending horrific scenes. A man can only take so much. He can recover, but probably not with the same demands that were once on him. Also look into counselling if you can.