Whilst reviewing the content of our new website, I was reminded of many the police clients of active for over the years. One in particular stands out for me as he taught me the importance of stressing hope to those I represent.
I first met Paul at Cox West lawyers in December 2012 with his wife. He had arranged to see me on his way admitted as an inpatient at the St John of God Hospital at Richmond. Virtually all my clients are in a distressed state first. Paul, however, a superintendent at New South Wales Police was an absolutely shattered man. As I met with him and his wife, I was really worried whether he was going to make it, so broken was he. He was basically unable to provide me with much information as to his circumstances, and it was obvious that his marriage was under intense strain.
Given the state he was in, frankly there wasn’t a lot I could say to him in regards to legal advice. Clutching at straws, I offered to him that there was always ‘hope’ and that I had acted for other police in the same situation who, following the resolution of their legal proceedings, had gone on to lead happy and contented lives. Relationships restored and living with a purpose and contentment. Many of these clients have become my friends and I remain in contact with them. Not to say that they are killed of the mental illness, that’s not how PTSD and other psychiatric disorders seem to work but nevertheless of watch their lives grow and flourish.
This message of hope was all I had to offer Paul at the time. As he left with his wife in the hospital I even wondered whether I would see him again.
Paul did his three weeks at St John of God he was in a slightly improved state of mind next time I saw him. I commenced representing him in his legal fight with the New South Wales Police Force and its insurers. During that time, just before Christmas 2013, perhaps since I was a little flat, Paul sent me an email. In that email he expressed me how important that message of hope I’d initially given to him was. He expressed that he had held onto that and at times it was all that kept him going. I really had no idea. On reflecting on it I realized the importance and the strengths of hope it is something I discuss now with most of my clients.
The message of this blog is that no matter how dark things appear on how long and hard the legal and health battles are there is always a hope of a better life and better times. I have seen it over and over again with my clients. It’s one of the most satisfying aspects of my work.
The other thing that Paul and my clients have shown me, is the importance of looking after one another. Paul had a group of ex-police colleagues who kept in contact and watched as through constant contact he rallied them and make sure that they are all getting support from one another. That is something he continues to do to this day, and I hope to be able to talk about this in another blog.
Those of you in despair at your current circumstances, there are people out there who care and are happy to listen. Never forget there is always hope.