Sergeant Ben Dimmock is part of the force’s Crime Reduction Team, who work to understand local crime patterns and hold events across the county to advise residents and businesses on security and personal safety. Ben also plays a pivotal part in the force’s new Junior Police Squad scheme.
He talks about his experience with depression and how important it is to speak to someone if you are struggling.
“It has taken a lot for me to post this, but I am doing it because I want to reach out to others who have been or are in a similar situation and have battled/are battling it and have kept it to themselves without talking to someone or seeking help. I want to share my story about suffering from depression.”
“I have always been a confident person where nothing has really phased me. Any problem I had I could rationally deal with it and move on without any issues. However one day I just didn’t feel right. This feeling carried on for days and even weeks.
“It really is hard to describe what it feels like to be depressed. I don’t think that I ever could. Or at least, I could never describe it in a way that would give significant resonance to how it really feels. I have always been a person who has never had a problem finding ways to express how I feel and it has always come naturally to me. When it comes to expressing how depression and anxiety have affected me, it’s like I’m scared to even let it out, because then it would give life to the ‘thing’ that had been so dark and awful for so many weeks of my life.
“I guess I felt as if I had lost all control of myself. I felt sad from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I couldn’t laugh or smile. I couldn’t think positively about anything in my life. All I wanted to do was cry and that’s what I did, a lot! I felt as though my mind was so weak,
“I couldn’t rationalise anything or enjoy anything. It’s a truly awful feeling to think that you have no control of your mind. I was in a very dark place.
“Admitting it to myself was the hardest thing of all. For a long time, I refused to say that I was depressed. I was so ashamed of myself. I was a man, a husband, a father. I wasn’t allowed to be depressed. I’m not weak. This is just a blip! I thought that people would think I had no reason to be depressed or they would say I was just being stupid. I didn’t want to let my family down.
“Admitting it to myself was the hardest thing of all, because those negative and completely false assumptions had come from me. It felt like admitting I was crazy, and a failure, with no reason to be the way I was.
“What I want to get across is that it’s very important that people are not ashamed.
“Now, I am in a much better place. I was given the support from loved ones to talk, and they listened. It also took a lot for me to go to the doctors and after breaking down in tears admitting to them that I needed some help. It is through talking and researching that I learnt about mental health problems like depression, and my increased understanding made it far easier to accept it for myself.
“I do have ups and downs still but releasing myself from the stigma that I had has allowed me to see that I do not need to be ashamed. It’s very important that people are not ashamed and that they feel able to talk, to anybody that they want too. In my opinion, it is the affirmation that you are not alone that will be the best support you will ever receive.
“Please talk to someone if you feel like this. What I have suffered is mild compared to how some people suffer from this illness. An illness that can kill.
“Please also look out for signs that friends and family may be suffering from depression. Be patient and be supportive. Listen to them if they want to talk. Encourage them to talk.
“Thank you for taking the time to read this.”