Pc Asif Ahmed shares his personal story
“Who would have thought that me, Asif, a guy who is always happy, laughing and joking, the soul of the party would ever contemplate killing himself?
“I’ll be the first to admit that I did not believe in depression. I didn’t even know it was a mental illness. I was negative and even blasé about mental health. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that this dark shadow would cast its spell on me!
“I am a Muslim, I don’t normally talk about my religion publicly because I don’t want people to associate me and my flaws with the beautiful religion that is Islam. At times I have found solace in the power of prayer or fasting during Ramadan.
“But, in 2013 I really began to struggle mentally and physically. I somehow adopted a coping mechanism in my life, my stimulants were the gym which I became addicted to for the highs and alcohol which I drank to pick myself up when I was low.
“These coping mechanisms soon stopped working and I was spiralling out of control. My moods and temper were affecting my loved ones, be it family or friends.
“One evening it all went wrong and I attempted suicide. I wanted it over. The way I was feeling, the emotions, the guilt… I wanted rid of all these feelings.
“I was put on medication and referred to a psychiatrist. This appointment took months to come through. When I finally did get the appointment I poured my heart to this complete stranger.
“I have learned a lot about myself, depression, mental health and my limitations as an individual and as a police officer. Since 2013 I have relapsed several times.
“I would dwell on my flaws and failures instead of my accomplishments and success in life.
“I have accepted that I will live with my condition for the rest of my life so I need to manage my day-to-day activity be it in or out of work.
“The most important aspect is to remember to always take my medication and always at the same time each day. I also now have regular contact with my doctor.
“Above all I now know my limitations. I listen to my body, rest when needed and use cognitive therapy or mindfulness to support me.
“I have a really large and loyal friendship network outside of work that I have known since I was at school. I spend time with them either playing football or going for meals. Some will be shocked when reading this about my battle.
“My advice to anyone going through depression or any mental ill health is talk to someone. If you can’t talk to a loved one because of embarrassment then talk to someone independent, but get help.”
Source: West-Midlands police