The book Traumatized takes the reader into the mind and soul of a Connecticut State Trooper, John Patterson, who, within the first six years of his career, shot and killed two armed felons in the line of duty. It is the story of his decline into major depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which led to nightmare filled nights, addiction and family discord, and finally, with treatment, a long, slow journey out of the darkness. Police work is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. But it’s that 1% that destroys an officer’s soul and changes their entire being. Traumatized is a courageous story, pushing directly against the unwritten code in law enforcement; be a man, tough it out, no feelings allowed. But what happens when the psychological impact is too great? Not only can an officer’s job performance go into a downward spiral, but he or she may end up dealing with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and all too frequently, suicide.
Sergeant John Rich of the Connecticut State Police, when interviewed for this book stated, “John is a hero of the department. He is not a hero because he had to shoot in the line of duty. He is a hero because he rose to the occasion of taking the necessary steps to deal with the aftermath.” This book, which chronicles the steps he took, is critical at this point in time, as our understanding of the psychological damage to police officers, fire-fighters, soldiers, and others on the front-lines is growing. Told from the inside-out, Traumatized captures the essence of the impasse faced by individuals who face life and death situations on a daily basis, yet are not supported in dealing with the emotional toll doing so can take.
There are very few books on the market about PTSD and depression in police officers, and this one differs significantly from those out there. Besides John’s personal story, his former supervisor on the force, his therapist, his wife, his mother have been interviewed, adding to the depth of the story by bringing to light the impact of PTSD on family members and others in the circle of the trooper.
This book is part memoir and part psychology. It is a must read for every police officer, fire-fighter and front-line emergency worker as well as their spouses and/or partners. Police trauma parallels the post traumatic effects our soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq face, and as the stress soldiers and police officers face day to day is similar, this will also be a powerful book for soldiers and their families. Traumatized is a brave book, breaking the centuries old code of silence. Trooper Patterson takes as big a risk in exposing himself in this book, as he does every day on the job. The reader will come to know him inside and out. And the reader will have a better appreciation and understanding of what it means for those on the front lines to go to work every day, and hopefully to return home safely each night.
Traumatized is a collaborative process. John Patterson wrote his story. Deborah Mandel, LPC a psychotherapist with 30 years’ experience working in the field of trauma edited his work and did the interviews. James R. Benn, noted author of the Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Series, provided the final rewrite to create a highly honed manuscript.