Retired police officer speaks of PTSD fight after ‘fearing for life on duty
- Credit: Archant
A former Weston policeman forced to retire after ‘fearing for his life’ while on duty has cycled more than 900 miles in support of other officers suffering from a serious anxiety disorder.
Mark Rawlins served as a frontline 24/7 response officer with Avon and Somerset Constabulary for 27 years before what seemed like a routine investigation into a theft in 2010 went drastically wrong.
He was forced to retire due to the trauma of being attacked by the suspect.
Mark, who lives in Hutton, said: “I attended an incident when I attempted to detain a man for theft.
“He began to fight with me and then his friend also began to attack me – I feared for my life.
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“That evening, I fell asleep at about 7pm and didn’t wake up for 20 hours.
“My body had gone into total shock which was confirmed by my doctor the next day.
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“The incident ended my career, I never returned to work.”
Mark was first diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in January 2011, but was re-diagnosed with severe PTSD in May this year.
The condition still has a ‘significant’ effect on his life, causing issues with anger and depression.
Mark said: “PTSD can have a significant impact on day-to-day living.
“I experience flashbacks and nightmares several times a week.
“I constantly sweat and fight throughout the night – sleep is a problem which is hard to overcome.
“It is very hard to relax with PTSD and sufferers will feel anxious most of the time.
“Concentration also becomes a major issue. Simple things such as following directions become a problem.”
To raise awareness and money for charity Injury on Duty Pensioners Association, Mark has completed a two-week cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
He has raised around £10,000 for the charity and believes more is needed to be done to show the impact PTSD has on daily life.
Mark added: “Hundreds of police officers are diagnosed with PTSD every year, all over the UK.
“It is hard leaving it at work when you attend a cot death on Christmas Day.
“It is hard to leave it at work when you attend a gunshot suicide, are first on the scene and see the devastation.”