For 21 years, I served as a police officer in Wisconsin. But on Friday, 8th April 8 2016, at 5:15pm, I experienced a critical incident where I was forced to use deadly force against an individual who had armed themselves with a hatchet in a busy department store. Unfortunately, this individual passed away as a result of the incident.
Since then, I have had to confront numerous mental health challenges, both personally and professionally. As a result of the incident, I was diagnosed with a mental illness, and it took me several years to get back on the path to recovery. While I continue to struggle, I have made significant progress, and I am in a better place than I was before.
In May 2022, I faced a difficult decision when my leave of absence from the police department was not extended. I was given the option to either resign or be terminated, and despite refusing to resign, I was terminated immediately when my leave of absence expired. This happened to occur during Mental Health Awareness and Law Enforcement Appreciation Month.
Since then, I have been attending weekly therapy sessions that include in-person psychotherapy and EMDR. In addition, I have been prescribed medications such as Lexapro and Propranolol to help manage my depression and generalized anxiety.
I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received from my family, friends, therapist, girlfriend, current employer, and co-workers. Without their help, I would not be where I am today, and I cannot express how much their support means to me.
If you suspect that someone may be struggling with their mental health, I encourage you to reach out to them. Although it may feel uncomfortable or awkward, many people will not admit to needing help, and few will reach out for support. Your kindness could be a bright light in their darkest moments.
Adam A. Meyers is a former police officer in Wisconsin who is now a certified peer specialist.