I am in the process of writing a book about my journey with NZ Police, in particular around my time as a crisis negotiator. I started writing and quickly got to 40,000 words. After the first review, my publisher wanted more detail drawn from the events that I attended. I was unable to do so.
After four attempts at focusing on the minute detail that readers would require of my story, I gave in to having someone assist me. It was my story and I wanted to tell it my way. It is a very personal story about the emotional journey that most emergency service workers ride on every day.
It is the story of falling down time and again and getting up each time, often bruised and battered - emotionally. Of dealing with events that few have the misfortune of being involved in. How do you write about things that one could never imagine doing?
My publisher kept hinting that she could help me tell my story. Eventually, after her persistence, I gave in. It was like a heavy weight had been lifted off me. I could relax and focus on my business without the worry of how to tell my story which was consuming my mind.
And that's when I realised the importance of accepting help. For the last few weeks I have had someone come and interview me about my time in the police. And here's the kicker, I am recalling events in my police career that were long forgotten.
I am recalling important things that need to be told so that you can know what it is truly like to stand on the edge of a cliff with another person beside you, knowing that if you said the wrong thing the other person might step off the cliff and take their own life.
I am now on a journey of discovery, discovering parts of my memory that I never realised I had. Perhaps more accurately, recalling buried memories.
While I still struggle to recall the emotional challenges I faced, I have even more difficulty in recalling happier times. I know that there were many, I know that we all used to laugh a lot, I remember the camaraderie that was and is so strong, and I remember that we did help other people. But those moments are now so insignificant that I feared the book will be filled with negative stories.
The moral of this post, if I had not accepted help I would not have been able to recall lost (buried) memories. I would not have been able to tell my story the way it needs to be told. And I would not have done justice to the people who still work in emergency services.
If someone offers you help, accept it without hesitation. Similarly, if you see someone struggling, offer them a helping hand. That’s what good people do.