40 POLICE VISION THE NATIONAL VOICE FOR CANADIAN POLICE PERSONNEL 2019 EDITION “I just wanted all of this to stop,” he said. “I never wanted to die. I just couldn’t think of any other way to get this to stop.” The suicidal thoughts were very specific. “My brain would start, ‘Well, you can get a gun,’ ” said Donnelly. ” ‘You could go to ER, you can check in and have the doctors there. Make sure there’s a transplant team on site.’ Then I could put a bullet through my head and at least my organs could be harvested and transplanted. It would be that level of detail.” He thought about riding his bicycle head-on into a tractor-trailer, or hanging himself from the third floor of police headquarters. He even practised making nooses. “If I am going to hang myself — thinking like an ident officer — it’s like, OK, I don’t want to choke to death, because I knew . . . it’s going to be at least 40 seconds before I go. That’s a long time to panic,” Donnelly said. “So I wanted to make sure it would break my neck. So I’ve got to make sure I make the noose right.” Donnelly was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and major depressive disorder. In December 2014, he was sent for a two-month stay at Homewood. After a failed return to work — he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun or wear his uniform outside police headquarters — he retired in June 2016. Now, with medication, Donnelly lives a “pretty normal life.” He can’t work, but he doesn’t think about suicide every day, either. The nightmares are mostly gone. Some days, he said, it’s enough to “cele- brate the shower.” “Those days when it’s that bad, if all you can do is get up to shower? Yay. It’s a win,” he said. “I know these depressive episodes. There’s an ebb and flow to them. Now, having gone through them, even if they get to a point where I get suicidal ideations, I know this is episodic,” he added. “I’ve got enough healing and enough ex- perience now with all the therapy and everything I’ve been through, to know that this too will pass.” Material republished with the express permission of: National Post , a division of Postmedia Network Inc. ABOUT PTSD • What: Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness stemming from exposure to psychological trauma involving serious injury, sexual violence, death or the threat of it, from one or repeated incidents. • Key factors: Length of time exposed to trauma, number of traumatic experiences, first reaction and support later. • Symptoms: Often “intrusive,” including vivid nightmares and flashbacks. The afflicted are often easily startled, irritable, can’t sleep and have trouble concentrating. Feelings of nervousness and dread are common. Get the BMO ® Canadian Police Association AIR MILES ®† Mastercard ®* and help the CPA fund projets that benefit police personnel and the public they serve at no additional cost to you. Apply online at bmo.com/cpa or call 1-800-263-2263. We’re here to help. ™ * Terms and conditions apply. Visit bmo.com/cpa for more details. ® Registered trademark of Montreal. ®* Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used under license. ®† Trademarks of AM Royalties Limited Partnership used under license by LoyaltyOne, Co. and Bank of Montreal. Always get 2x the Miles at participating AIR MILES Partners. * Earn faster. Enjoy your getaway sooner . NO ANNUAL FEE