Episode 212 Keith Harrison Recovering From Trauma on the Police Force Transcript

This transcript is from episode 212 with guest Keith Harrison.

[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran active duty guard reserve or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio.

[00:00:18] Scott DeLuzio: And now let’s get on with the show.

[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Keith Harrison. Keith is a police officer who like many military service members and veterans have struggled with his mental health. He’s here to talk about his struggle and why it’s important to choose to recover, not just for yourself, but also for the people who are around you.

[00:00:42] Scott DeLuzio: So welcome to the show. Keith, I’m glad to have you on

[00:00:45] Keith Harrison: Scott, man. I again, I know we spoke briefly in the beginning here, but I really appreciate. This opportunity talked to you, your audience, and listened to a few shows in the past. And I just really want to acknowledge what you’re doing is super important and the commitment you have [00:01:00] is outstanding.

[00:01:00] Keith Harrison: So I really appreciate you allowing me to be a part of your community.

[00:01:05] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Yeah. So, for the listeners who are out there, who. Maybe are not familiar with you. Why don’t you tell us just a little bit briefly about yourself and your background?

[00:01:17] Keith Harrison: Yeah, so, I am a police officer. I’ve been a police officer now for over 16 years.

[00:01:22] Keith Harrison: I am in Canada and a major police service in Ontario. And I have seen a lot of things. I’ve been into a lot of things. In the past. I wish I had taken the Liberty to get treatment and stuff, but really had it come to a boiling point per se breaking in 2018. When I had sought internal help for my struggles and wanted to get out of the front lines because I have always been a primary response officer.

[00:01:51] Keith Harrison: I have never had a. Homicide or any sort of <inaudible> and stuff like that. It’s always been frontline. You call. And as we all know, it’s frontline officers. You [00:02:00] never know what you’re going to get. Right. It’s a complete crapshoot of the dispatch call. So you’re always in that hypervigilant state and I just needed to get away from that.

[00:02:08] Keith Harrison: And unfortunately I did not get the internal support and had to look elsewhere and I’m looking back on the three years that I was away from my job. Healing growing really in a place now where I’m almost thankful that I was able to take the route that I did because I was able to get to a point where I couldn’t even imagine was even possible for myself, my mental health state.

[00:02:38] Keith Harrison: So I’m back to work now. In 2021, I returned shortly after being three years old. And when I did return to the work, I just wanted to set an intention, a give us a go. And if policing isn’t a go for me 20 years from now, I can leave say, you know what? They didn’t drive me away or [00:03:00] it didn’t break me.

[00:03:00] Keith Harrison: It just wasn’t for me. And maybe I will find a new purpose doing something else, but at least needed to go back. With the mindful intention of, we got to give us a go and if it’s a good fit, if it’s healthy for me, if it’s making me still have joy in every day, doing what I’m doing great. And if it isn’t we’ll, then let’s pivot and move on to something else.

[00:03:22] Keith Harrison: And I’m really blessed that, that intention was so strong. When I did return to the work I made a very clear point that peer support would be something that would be very much involved with advocating for guys. I work closely or girls that I work with, that I would be somebody that I needed 10 years ago, that if they saw me, they would know.

[00:03:46] Keith Harrison: Yeah. I had a pretty dark time. And my last day of work was either I drive into the station or they find me in my patrol car with my note of everyone who failed me. And that’s what it came down to. So the fact that [00:04:00] people know of this and I’m back to work. I want that to be a symbol of you don’t need to be seen as a broken toy, or you don’t need to be seen as something that if you’re there or close to that, that it’s the end.

[00:04:13] Keith Harrison: Hey, that guy he’s smiling all the time. Once he so happy, like, can I get on that? Just, really just push towards that and really highlighting the organizations and services that were really a big part of my recovery. And that got me to tier response apparel. So, you know, kind of what I’m doing.

[00:04:33] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So I want to dig into a little bit more on your mental health journey. And you talked about some failures along the way as far as leadership and things like that but for you personally It seemed like it was a progression over the years as you were working especially on that frontline, first responder you’re the one who’s showing up to, like you said, it’s a crapshoot, you don’t know what you’re going to get when you walk in the door or when you pull up on the scene responding to that call [00:05:00] what was that like?

[00:05:00] Scott DeLuzio: How did that progression work? And then when did you get to that breaking point? you, When you were like, this is. This is too much. Something has to change one way or the other,

[00:05:11] Keith Harrison: Yeah, Scott, it unfortunately there were some pretty live trauma experiences probably within the first year and a half that I was on that really have stuck with me.

[00:05:23] Keith Harrison: I can speak openly about it now. But one of the ones that kinda really stuck with me. And really hard to meet through my PTSD and really weighed on the mental health of myself was an infant debt that I had really early on in my career. At the time my ex and I were expecting our first, we were about three weeks out, four weeks out.

[00:05:43] Keith Harrison: And that really, I can talk openly now, which is. I guess part of my recovery, my, the ability to work through the event. But it had me up all night. Cause I was the one that didn’t save the baby’s life, and I wanted to get checked. I broke down in front of [00:06:00] everybody.

[00:06:00] Keith Harrison: I did not hold things back because as I knew, officer, I just, I didn’t know any better. Like these are all my emotions and I felt I could openly expose them and they would be seen Not the case, right. Job was to be done. And that needs to be that’s suppressed stuff then, but you need to control that.

[00:06:21] Keith Harrison: You need to get back in there. You need to finish the job. It’s not over, you can’t tap out. And I wanted to tap out. I wanted somebody to So that’s carried me through with my children’s stuff. Every one I’ve had the erosion of, my family life and stuff like that, where I’m up all night being seen as somebody who is lazy, somebody who is always tired, not knowing that I was up the whole night because I knew if I went to bed.

[00:06:46] Keith Harrison: And my daughter, my other daughter, and my son would stop reading that I would be available. But if I w I slept, they would die. Right. Like just having that constant at the early stages. [00:07:00] Couple that with the, I guess the egos and the mindset, that’s the stigmas around the male driven ego environment of first responders and military.

[00:07:10] Keith Harrison: It’s something that I never really thought myself to be a guy that would have that, but you’re kind of not forced, but. You need to do that in order to survive because if not, you’re seen as weak or seen as something that can’t be trusted, which is further from the case. Right. I find a lot of.

[00:07:31] Keith Harrison: I think women are great at acknowledging the internal feelings and they want to talk about stuff. But I think, the environment of first responders being nailed elder, then in order to be part of the boys club, they have to kind of adapt that mentality and it’s wrong. So there are programs out there they’re loosely put out there in the past.

[00:07:53] Keith Harrison: I think they’re doing a better job now, but in the past for me, when I was severely struggling, it was, yeah, we had the [00:08:00] FAP chocolate chuckle. They’re a joke. Don’t do it. Cause if someone finds out that you were seeking this, you’re not going to get the spots. If you go for a promotion, you’re going to be seen as someone that is not part of the boys club or.

[00:08:16] Keith Harrison: Somebody that they don’t want to promote or having a unit to trust and stuff like that. And hopefully, like I said, things are progressing a little bit further along in the spectrum of not seeing things that way, but they’re still there. And I think, guys like you doing what you’re doing hopefully.

[00:08:33] Keith Harrison: With me talking about my story, my struggles it will be seen as something that, mental health conversations can be as regular as makes God did your dentist today. Oh, you did. Okay. Great for you, right? Oh, you went, so you went, saw a therapist when it talks to me. Fantastic. Right? Because as much as we need to brush and floss our teeth, we need to brush and floss our minds with what.

[00:08:58] Scott DeLuzio: That’s true. And that’s [00:09:00] part of what this podcast is all about is trying to break that stigma and get the Negative image out of people’s head when it comes to going to a therapist or counselor or whoever for your mental health. I was watching a show the other day and it was a re rerun, a show from the nineties or something.

[00:09:22] Scott DeLuzio: And they were talking about someone going to talk to. A therapist, for something that had happened in their lives. And they looked at the person like they had three heads, like, why would you go and do something like that? Are you crazy? Is something wrong with you?

[00:09:38] Scott DeLuzio: But just to look at just how far we’ve come since the nineties to now, or, Years and years before there was that stigma where even just going to talk to somebody was looked at like, you are insane. Like this is something is seriously wrong with you. If you’re going to go and do that. But now. I feel like [00:10:00] the conversation has shifted where it’s not like that anymore.

[00:10:04] Scott DeLuzio: Maybe in some circumstances it might have a little bit of that, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. And so I feel fortunate that we live in a time where we’re moving in that right direction, but you’re right. There’s still some work to be done in that regards to stigmatize mental health.

[00:10:21] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And like you said, I know there’s a lot of men, especially who still feel like mental health is one of those things that they should just suck it up and deal with that type of thing. What are some ways that, that you’ve seen that have helped to break the stigma, especially amongst police officers and other first responders?

[00:10:40] Keith Harrison: Well, for me, and in my case, I was pretty fortunate too. I have some outside organizations beyond the blue is an organization that’s pretty big here up in Canada. I’m not sure if it’s very big in the states or where you are. But they have chapters right across [00:11:00] from Vancouver, Calgary right in, through all through Ontario.

[00:11:03] Keith Harrison: And their main mission is to be there for service both uniform and civilian. I never forget what amazing work civilian entities do in all forms of first responders. I feel sometimes they get left out dispatchers and all, although all they see and all they wear is just, as heavy as times as uniform members, but they’re there for them and their families.

[00:11:29] Keith Harrison: Because a lot of times we put treatment in lines of AA there’s for the adult addicts. And then there’s Alanon for the family. Right. So that they can understand and get that support of why my family member, my loved one is being in a certain way or mannerisms or why they’re caring or why they’re not being the way they’re so openly in the past, what were so I, I sought them.

[00:11:54] Keith Harrison: And even though it was taboo, I, at that point I’d had already left. And my [00:12:00] work, my, in my whole heart never thought I would return to policing. I thought it was done. Then I was never coming back and I was just looking for me and what was going to be my next chapter in my life of what I was going to do.

[00:12:14] Keith Harrison: And allowing quickly realizing, talking about yourself is I’m not going to say stronger than straight. But there is a, an immense sense of strength when you’re able to

[00:12:32] Keith Harrison: take control of your thoughts, take control of your feelings. Everyone, one of my daughter gets hit by a baseball. When she’s playing softball, it hurts like hell, but the one thing that she is mindful of when. To a place where she’s able to assess thing is one thing we control is our breathing, right?

[00:12:49] Keith Harrison: So that’s one thing that we’ve really kind of thought of in a sports world. So if we take analyses through the sports world where it’s, something’s hurting like hell, and we’re thinking that we can’t [00:13:00] control anything and the pain is going to last forever, we hone in on our breath and that’s one thing.

[00:13:05] Keith Harrison: When I talked to guys and gals at work or anybody that wants to chatter things, I like to say now, and then is there really that breathing aspect that we have is so powerful in order to control? So I might be able to control the call and might be even not controlled the person I’m dealing with, the what they’re saying, what they’re doing.

[00:13:25] Keith Harrison: And in the, around me, I might email will control how I’m feeling. The one thing I know I can get on top of this. And taking those pauses, taking that five per se, and really focusing on your breathing, focusing on your breath can make control. Then we’re able to think of a thought. And if we can think of a thought, we’re able to control what our, maybe our next step is good or bad continue or retreat.

[00:13:48] Keith Harrison: So that’s one thing pretty big in my toolbox that I like to talk about is just the breathing aspect of. How also Scott, it’s able to help us out and be our friends in times where we want to lash [00:14:00] out and rage and say things and quit. Right? Sometimes the best response is not responding, focusing on that breathing.

[00:14:06] Keith Harrison: I know now is pretty beneficial that I wish I had that tool in the past. And some circumstances that I might have one that they’re vague, but I surely one nothing because. I was unable to control my breath.

[00:14:20] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. And breathing, it sounds like it’s such a simple thing. I mean, we all do it every single day.

[00:14:25] Scott DeLuzio: Every, whether we’re awake or we’re asleep every moment of every day, we’re in one phase of breathing or another, or either breathing in, breathing out where we’re constantly doing it. Right. I don’t know how many times we’ve done it already just in this, the 15 minutes or so that this episode has been going.

[00:14:41] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But we do it all the time. We take it for granted because it’s such an involuntary thing that just happens. Right. But it can actually work for us to help calm us down and to relax us. People who struggled to get to sleep, focus on your [00:15:00] breathing, focus on how you’re breathing and feel the breath coming in and out and all that kind of stuff.

[00:15:05] Scott DeLuzio: It really does make a difference when you focus on that. And I’m glad that. Up that thing, because it is something that you can control. It’s that one little thing that you can control, you always have control over it. No matter what is going on you could be a police officer responding to a terrible tragedy.

[00:15:25] Scott DeLuzio: And you still have control of your breathing. You could be, like you said, your daughter playing softball, you could be, running around the bases or you could be at up at bat and you still have control of your breathing no matter what, you always have control over that. And it can actually change your.

[00:15:42] Scott DeLuzio: Your your mental state and it can actually help to relax you and calm you down. So I’m glad that really glad that you brought that

[00:15:49] Keith Harrison: up. Yeah, Scott, and I think it’s something that’s so simple that I think a lot of the times, at least I thought when I was really struggling is that you need to go talk to somebody and it needed to be [00:16:00] something so big.

[00:16:01] Keith Harrison: So monumental that it was going to be this massive thing that this task that I had to do. And at that time, I mean, every button. Do up on my shirt and the lock from getting ready, felt like I was snapping on a hundred pounds. So my body every time. And I was like, are you kidding me? I’m trying to like in a state now where I’m in survival mode, where I’m just trying to get through the day with the best I can.

[00:16:25] Keith Harrison: And now you’re going to try to put me to do another task to do something else to add on those. No, I don’t want to do anything else. Right. Self care and taking care of ourselves and stuff. Are there simple things that we can include in our life? And I think being first responders with firefighters and military, I think in our training, it’s ingrained with muscle memory.

[00:16:46] Keith Harrison: So many times you have individuals who get into situations where it’s like, well, I just reverted to my training because of the muscle memory we are so wired in the beautiful state. To implement things that we can build on our muscle [00:17:00] memory. And I think truly at the beginning of one’s career, or even before you’re putting it in the application form, these are things that you’re doing to build that muscle memory.

[00:17:11] Keith Harrison: So that down the line. If you’re struggling, if you’re going through something hard or somebody else’s going through something hard, you can be there for them. Or you can be there for yourself to implement these things that you automatically I’m going to go tos. I don’t have to worry about that. Toolbox that belt, that vest that I have with all my gear on, I automatically know where all my stuff is and I’m all, it’s just, I’m going to it.

[00:17:35] Keith Harrison: No matter what, it’s just, I know in this situation, this is what I need and I’m doing it. And I’m not even thinking. I think, small things here and there, getting that, change building those small habits that no longer are choices because you might actually do. I think that’s when we can really say as somebody who is in the line of frontline doing the hard work, doing [00:18:00] the beautiful work that needs to be done so that others can live safe.

[00:18:06] Keith Harrison: That’s when we have, like, I think real change that you’re like, okay, man, like we’re impacting, right? We’re, we’ve made the difference that this is something that is just automatic and it’s just not a one time off where a posters hung up and we talk about mental health and say, we care, give a number of phone calls and it’s all lip service.

[00:18:26] Keith Harrison: We need to get away from that. And really. Implement those muscle memory muscle memory moments in people’s training that this is something that is as important as learning the law. As in learning fire rescue, as in learning everything, this is as important

[00:18:44] Scott DeLuzio: it is. And you talked about earlier being.

[00:18:48] Scott DeLuzio: Someone that people can come to it for support, right? How do we build this community of people who can trust each other and [00:19:00] go to each other when something is going on? So, so that where someone might be having a problem and they come to you and they want to talk to you. A lot of times people don’t want to.

[00:19:12] Scott DeLuzio: Even open up about the fact that there’s a problem because they don’t want to admit something is wrong for fear of the stigma or whatever. What would you say, from your experience, what would you say would benefit people to start doing in terms of getting that kind of network of people in place so that it’s there?

[00:19:30] Scott DeLuzio: When you.

[00:19:31] Keith Harrison: Build your tribe. You don’t need it. Doesn’t need to be a big one. I mean, those strongest tribes sometimes are the smallest ones and you’re just building those resources that you can go to for myself. What I am passionate about, what my mission is and that anyone that talks to me and they know when they talk to me so that if somebody ever hear something or talks about me or says something they know that conversation is.

[00:19:57] Keith Harrison: With them and me, it doesn’t go [00:20:00] further unless it needs to go further. And then that can be addressed. If there is any chance of, extreme self harm and stuff like that, well, we can talk about what steps need to be done, but if somebody just wants to have a place where they can be seen, heard, just sometimes just unload their shit.

[00:20:20] Keith Harrison: I sometimes I don’t even get to say anything and people are like, man, I really appreciate that shit. I didn’t do anything about lipstick, but that’s sometimes all that sometime needs is to listen. I just, I need to get this off my chest. And a lot of times I know in the past I could, you know, Scott, I’m struggling with something and I’m blaring and all that shit.

[00:20:39] Keith Harrison: And as I’m talking to you, I’m listening to myself talk and I’m like, well, I’m finding this solutions on my own, but you’ve allowed me that space that’s sometimes all anyone ever needs is a space. So that they can seem to be hurt. And I think if more members get into [00:21:00] peer support, Not just so that, they’re taking phone calls or they’re actually doing the hard work of being somebody who is a peer support, but at least empower themselves with the knowledge with the teachings, with the tools, with the learning, so that they experienced something or.

[00:21:18] Keith Harrison: If they’re just chatting and it’s sometimes it’s the smallest conversations it’s, I’m not coming to you directly. I’m passive aggressive per se, with what I’m trying to tell you, right. That they’re hearing little buzzwords a lot of times. I know when I’m talking to somebody who is who gets. The journey that gets what needs to be done.

[00:21:40] Keith Harrison: There’s a language there’s words that are spoken that Scott, I don’t need to vet you anymore. I don’t need to think that I can trust you. You’ve said a few things that I, you get it. And that all it is also a couple buzzwords now. And then that people need to hear that, like, you know what, this person I can [00:22:00] feel like, I know he’s talked to them, right.

[00:22:02] Keith Harrison: At least attempt to open. No, one’s perfect. No, one’s perfect. And pure support. No, one’s perfect. When someone’s coming to them about things, we can say things that might help or hinder, but the more mindful we are of our own practice of what we’re doing this, I think that’s when we can start help others.

[00:22:23] Keith Harrison: It really begins to having all these teachings and really people. Self-reflecting in themselves. So whether it be journaling every morning, love to do it journaling at the end of the night, or I can count my wins, count my losses, something that I did really well or something that I’m hoping to do better tomorrow.

[00:22:42] Keith Harrison: That self-reflection is so key because without that we can really. Loose sight of being present. And as long as we can be consensually in a present state, there’s a real chance where, we’re [00:23:00] living a good fulfilled life. If we stay present staying on that line rather than taking other routes, which again, everyone takes their routes.

[00:23:09] Keith Harrison: Everyone has their journeys. There was multiple times I can say in my password, I had. Unexplained medical episodes, where I thought I was having gut issues. I’ve always had gut issues. Everyone who knows me, knows I have got issues, but that is something where, well, our gut health leads to our mental health and we control our gut health.

[00:23:29] Keith Harrison: If that was talking to me and I wasn’t listening to it, right. So we have to really be really, present on listening to our bodies, listening to, things that are going around us. Because everything that I was ever told me, the key, there’s nothing medically wrong with you. Well, there’s nothing medically wrong with me.

[00:23:45] Keith Harrison: I’m not some sort of secret mystery diagnosis here. What’s wrong with me? Oh, wait a second. It’s the thing, three feet above my asset. I need to live with to pay attention to writing. Yeah,

[00:23:56] Scott DeLuzio: there you go. That’s a good way to put it. I’ve never heard it that way, [00:24:00] but I like that. But it’s true when you’re talking about how sometimes people just need somebody to listen to them and they can.

[00:24:07] Scott DeLuzio: Oftentimes figure out. Something on their own just by having someone there to listen to. I know in my own life I do a lot of work with technology. And so on very often I have to open up a support issue with a company that I might be working with. And as. Writing in the support information and all the steps that I did to create this problem that is going on.

[00:24:31] Scott DeLuzio: I started thinking to myself, okay, well, there’s this other step that I didn’t do. Let me go back and try that. And then, oh yeah, boom. That fixed the problem. And now I don’t even need to send in anything for support. I figured it out on my own. Right. And it just, it happens. Right. And even just talking to my wife sometimes I’ll sit down and talk with her about something that’s going on and.

[00:24:50] Scott DeLuzio: As we’re talking, I’m like, oh, well, there’s this other thing that I hadn’t tried yet. Maybe I just need to try that. And boom, now I found a problem, a solution to the problem and it didn’t [00:25:00] require any deep dives into anything. It just, I just needed someone to listen. Sometimes it’s, like I said before, it’s my computer screen as I’m typing out the problem.

[00:25:09] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But still it’s. Way to process the information. I’m thinking through all of the steps and then I get to a point where I’m like, okay, Here’s another step that I didn’t do, I probably should try it. And boom, that tends to be the thing that, that ends up fixing the problem. And if it doesn’t, at least I’ve, it’s exposed one more possible solution to a problem that I could try and then I can escalate it to that next step where I can get that extra help that I might need.

[00:25:41] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And it’s a perfect example of how that, that just works. Just being there for someone to listen. It can really help them just process through whatever it is that they have going on. Right.

[00:25:54] Keith Harrison: And I think that gives us other than feeling like we’re amazing. Like, oh my God, I’m awesome because I solve this [00:26:00] right.

[00:26:00] Keith Harrison: That joy of feeling. But I think that really, and then instills an empowerment in the person who is struggling, that they listen, like I did this, right. Like. We don’t need big wins in life, sometimes just small little things to keep things going forward gets the momentum going. And that’s something that, they’re able to realize and themselves that like, Hey I figured that I still have some control.

[00:26:21] Keith Harrison: I still got this. I can do this. Right. It doesn’t have to be seen as do doom and gloom and stuff like that. Or the worst of the worst.

[00:26:31] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. We all have. Our own inner voice, our own mindset and all that kind of stuff. And I actually liked something that you said earlier about what, when you’re journaling you write down your wins and then you write down the things that you could do better to.

[00:26:48] Scott DeLuzio: Right. The things that maybe didn’t go quite so well today, but they weren’t necessarily bosses. They’re just things that you can work on and focus on to improve. So it’s just the mindset and the way you think about things if you’re, [00:27:00] if you list out all of your losses and you write it, No header on top of the page losses.

[00:27:05] Scott DeLuzio: And here were all the things that I screwed up. Like that’s a screws with your mind because it’s like, wow, I really messed up today. Like, I, yeah, exactly. I’m worthless. I can’t do anything. Right. Look at this, I got a whole page full of stuff that I screwed up today. That’s awful. But instead if you put it as, things to.

[00:27:25] Scott DeLuzio: To work on things, to improve things, to try to get better at, or farm out to somebody else who might be better than me, but, it’s just a different way of thinking of it. And I liked that you said it that way because it just goes to show that is the mindset that.

[00:27:42] Scott DeLuzio: Coming from right now. And it’s not beating yourself up saying, oh, I screwed up. I’m worthless. I’m terrible at all this it’s okay. You know what? I maybe need to work on something a little bit better. It’s a good way to look at things because it gives you that. Nothing to work towards to better [00:28:00] yourself.

[00:28:00] Scott DeLuzio: Right? You’re the goal is always to just be a little bit better today than you were yesterday and tomorrow better tomorrow than you were today in all of that. And just in your continuously improving yourself in that

[00:28:11] Keith Harrison: case. Yeah. That 1% mentality, right? Scott. Like if I, 1% better than I was yesterday, This time.

[00:28:19] Keith Harrison: Next year, Scott is key rear 365% better than we were. What does that look like? What does a 365% better? Scott? Look like to himself, to his family, to this world, to your podcast, to your community. But buddy of that is like, stocks and want gains of 365% over a year. Right. And we can do this on ourselves by just thinking of that 1% model.

[00:28:44] Keith Harrison: And I can think back of, where I was a year ago and looking at that, and it’s like, I think first responders, because we are very humble and our nature salts military is we sign up for a job. We’re not looking for accolades. We’re not looking for metals or pens or attaboys, or thank you.

[00:28:59] Keith Harrison: So when they do [00:29:00] come, they’re very dismissed. We’re very dismissive when it comes to someone saying thank you or an appreciation for our service and what we do. But man, as that person comes on us with something negative, we hold onto that so much harder. Right. We really need to just. They’re amazing people that we deal with every day.

[00:29:20] Keith Harrison: There’s people who love and appreciate what we do. So when those people come up to you and say, thank you for your service, or thank you for what you did, it’s not a sarcastic that someone’s lying to us. That we’re all thinking everyone is lying to us, right? No, they’re genuine. They’re were sincere and they’re very, truly appreciative, right?

[00:29:37] Keith Harrison: That there is, are tokens of allowing our mindset, our allowing our minds, allowing our hearts almost to allow that in that we don’t need to be. So it’s still, it’s so robotic. So, emotionally dead when we’re working per se. Right? So we have to keep things all tight in we’re allowed to have those human moments because I am a human [00:30:00] I’m, a police officer.

[00:30:02] Keith Harrison: Right. And a lot of the times I have had my best from the public, which I that’s my goal. Right. My goal to a call is to get the person’s best out of them to help me in investigation. And they know what I do. I don’t need to announce as a police officer sometimes when I’m sitting and talking, when they can see my uniform, they can see what I’m doing.

[00:30:20] Keith Harrison: They want to know where they’re talking to a person. I want to know if they’re talking to somebody who humanly connects it, gets with them. And that’s where the real connections with. We can think back to all the different conversations, all the different things we’ve expressed and experienced in our world.

[00:30:34] Keith Harrison: But Scott knows, Keith knows those human connections that I don’t even know what the conversation was. I don’t even know. I’d have to think really hard of why he even was there. But I know that connection that I had with them, it was on a real deep human level. And that’s really, I think what the public wants to see of our first responders.

[00:30:55] Keith Harrison: And I really think we can get there. If we start. Allowing [00:31:00] organizations to put first responders first and putting ourselves first and that it’s not selfish for me to think of myself. The airplanes tell you all the time with the mass come down, but don’t worry about the person next to you.

[00:31:12] Keith Harrison: You’re going to worry about you first, right? Like, so just think of it as one thing where we’re just putting that mask on ourselves first. We’re putting ourselves a second first. Not because we’re selfish, but that we’re better for the next person we’re helping. If we put ourselves

[00:31:26] Scott DeLuzio: first, right. Exactly.

[00:31:28] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I’m glad you use that example because I use that example all the time with it, the airplanes and the dogs. I love that example. Right. But I always even just thinking back to something that you had said earlier about how, when you had your kids, you were up all night because if something happened to them you want it to be there for them so that you could be the one who helped them.

[00:31:47] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But at the same time, you weren’t taking care of yourself. You weren’t getting the sleep that you needed and things like that. So, anyone ask anybody who knows anything about sleep? If you are sleep deprived, you’re not functioning at [00:32:00] your a hundred percent level. And in a moment of a crisis, the kid stops breathing or something happens and you need to be a hundred percent on your.

[00:32:08] Scott DeLuzio: That actually could be a detriment. You weren’t a hundred percent on your game at that point. Right? So you can’t, and you’ve come to realize this over the years, right. Or time that, you need to take care of yourself. You need to step away from certain things to be able to be. Best version of yourself that you possibly could be.

[00:32:28] Scott DeLuzio: And so I appreciate you coming on and sharing that message with the audience too, to let people know that it’s okay to take a step back and take care of yourself, because if you don’t do that, you end up hurting the people who you want to help the most, because you’re not going to end up being the best version that you possibly can.

[00:32:52] Keith Harrison: Yeah. Yeah. And I appreciate all those words and really, truly the they’re I’m going to take them all what you said there and truly Think back later on, [00:33:00] I’m trying to absorb all this because it’s a lot of good things that we’re going through now, but you know, if we, as society, I know that the state’s athlete Canada, we love our sports.

[00:33:08] Keith Harrison: And if we think of that mindset of like, you’re. Baseball player to say, right. And you get sent down to the minors for a rehab assignment. You have all the tools, but, taking that small demotion per se, people can look at it as something that can break them and never come back or really taking that step back and really taking that time to focus on what needs to be done.

[00:33:31] Keith Harrison: And then, your hall of fame afterwards, right?

[00:33:34] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it’s possible. Yeah. And think about the alternative. If you didn’t go in and move down to that minor league position to, to work on yourself and get rehabbed and everything that you need to do to get better. Let’s say a pitcher, right?

[00:33:48] Scott DeLuzio: And you stay in the major leagues and you’re pitching, you end up throwing your arm out to the point where maybe you can never pitch again and you cut your career short and you become [00:34:00] someone who Yeah. As opposed to a hall of Famer, someone that nobody ever knows about, like, down the road, they don’t, you’re not going to be the Babe Ruth or the, any, anybody like that, who you like everybody all these years later, everybody knows who that is.

[00:34:14] Scott DeLuzio: Right. It’s just common knowledge, but you won’t be that person because you didn’t take the time to take care of yourself. Right.

[00:34:21] Keith Harrison: It’s so key. It’s so key in. And like I said, I’m really blessed and I think back. You know what I was trying to accomplish quietly when I was seeking the help, not that I was not quiet and letting them know how I was feeling, that was never quiet, but what I wanted to do quietly, so that I was not perceived with the stigma as somebody that was broken that was sent away.

[00:34:46] Keith Harrison: That’s been used as a, and it’s. Don’t be like that guy don’t be like that girl, this is something that they broke or they were weak, whatever. And they’re just kinda [00:35:00] toning them up to the other the platoon or the the troops per se of like, can’t be like this. We can’t have people like this.

[00:35:08] Keith Harrison: If you want to be a part of this, you want to be strong if you can’t be this. So then that just allows even more. People shoving their emotions down and not wanting to speak up because, well, okay, well I know what’s going to happen. Right. But I got the one that didn’t care. And like I said, I’m truly at a state of gratitude per se to my organization, to the people.

[00:35:31] Keith Harrison: I won’t forget who they were. I’ve in my. My treatments with my occupational therapist and all that stuff. I’ve gone to the point where I’ve allowed that to go allowed that forgiveness to happen for myself, not for them because it’s better for me. And hopefully down the line, they can see 2.0 Keith and have that conversation with them.

[00:35:56] Keith Harrison: And if they do, it’s about [00:36:00] the. The topic, it’s not about our feelings and what they should have done or how they should have been better. I think people do a good job, whether they’re wrong or not of man. I may let that one slide, so hopefully they can see me as something of, well, maybe the next time somebody comes to me, I don’t do that.

[00:36:20] Keith Harrison: I am not that way. And it took a long time for me to be like, well, why do I need to be the poster child? Or why do I want to set myself up to be a poster child of like, to be better for someone else? I want someone to be better for me. But what’s happened has happened. Where did we go from now? Then that’s where, truly being that person I needed 10 years ago, that was struggling.

[00:36:38] Keith Harrison: That is now back that’s the focus and that’s what I. Within my organization, I can really do well and as well as showcasing that to other members of services, organizations, whoever. Yeah. And

[00:36:52] Scott DeLuzio: that’s, I mean, leadership leading by example, I should say at its finest, right. You’re showing.

[00:36:59] Scott DeLuzio: What you [00:37:00] wish you had available to you all those years ago, and now you’re doing it. You’re being that person for people to come to. That’s, it’s really a great way to do it because if you see something it’s broken. Well, you fix it, figure it find a solution to this and be the solution.

[00:37:18] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s exactly what it sounds like you’re doing. Could you tell us a little bit about your brand, that the tier response brand and where that came from and what it’s.

[00:37:29] Keith Harrison: Yeah. It was something that I had worked almost like a reflection thing when I was going through my trauma timelines with my occupational therapist and who I was going to be.

[00:37:39] Keith Harrison: Right. That they might focus. Who was I going to be when I returned to work really, and wants to be a kind of established of, OK Keith, if you can’t just go back and be like, well, fuck it. I did it all on my own. You guys are left to, to do it yourselves or struggle before you find your answers and, quickly my occupational therapist and I looked at.

[00:37:57] Keith Harrison: That’s not who you are. See if I can be a dick, it’s [00:38:00] in all of us, but as far as I consistent one, that’s just not me. It’s not who I was as my character. It’s not my DNA. So I almost kinda started off with like, what can I do to give back to the organizations and services that helped me.

[00:38:15] Keith Harrison: I’m not somebody who is rich. I’m. I can simply keep writing a check for all the services and stuff or inspire other people just to give money and what can they do as far as getting behind a cause and a brand. So I thought, well, we all wear clothes, what can I do as far as as something as being that symbol that.

[00:38:35] Keith Harrison: That can be showcase amongst first responders. Both, police, fire, ambulance within the healthcare corrections, military that could unite everyone to get talking about the cause, which is mental health. Co I was thinking of things, playing around and being a little creative and use really my initial.

[00:38:58] Keith Harrison: That infant’s death, which was [00:39:00] a tear response. It’s tear responses driven from the dispatch call that requires a multiple emergency services to attend an incident. We’re not sure at the time what needs to be done, but we’ll send, police, fire, ambulance, and then work together to see. What is needed, what is required?

[00:39:16] Keith Harrison: There may not be enough information that, oh, it’s just a fire. You don’t need please. Or, it’s a car accident. We need everybody approaching mental health as the call working together as a tier, that village effort, responding to that. I thought, Hey that’s kind of nice. I like how that sounds as a tier response.

[00:39:37] Keith Harrison: And then really focused. On the services, police, fire, ambulance making sure everyone within the organizations, both uniform and civilian we’re a part of it, mental the healthcare industry with staff of mercury and then having the Chevron symbolize military and corrections, but really the powerful symbol that I have in all my appearance.

[00:39:59] Keith Harrison: Even at [00:40:00] the maple leaf because I’m a proud Canadian and we are a Canadian company is to have that semi-colon present in everything that I had. I I produce and if people aren’t aware of what exactly a semi-colon is, a lot of people in mental health are aware of it because it’s something that is usually tattooed on someone’s person that they’ve either had suicidal allergies or they’ve actually had attempts to end their.

[00:40:22] Keith Harrison: People think of a semi-colon and we automatically think authors and writers and they get all these, accolades and all sorts of like smooth words because they’re able to articulate themselves so well, but even a as smooth as writers are, have writer’s block. So when they’re writing a story or writing a sentence and they’re on a.

[00:40:41] Keith Harrison: To kind of, they want to say more, there’s more to what’s going on here, but I just don’t know what it is. They had started that semi-colon as a writer’s blocked so they can finish off. Well, we can really see that semi-colon as our own personal day-to-day lives. Right. Scott, if we are trucking along [00:41:00] and things are good, but we encounter some trauma or we encounter And the time where we just need to not doing good with something, we need to check out for a bit, be okay with not being okay rather than thinking suicide is the only option to end the pain to end how we’re feeling.

[00:41:19] Keith Harrison: So that would be kind of state that if we were just to quickly insert that semi-colon into our day-to-day and insert that into our mental health so that we can check out, like I did. Acquire a toolbox, acquire resources for however long it is so that we just keep going. We don’t stop. We don’t end it so that once we are able to pick up with what we want to do, we can forge on thriving and it can continue.

[00:41:45] Keith Harrison: Right. So I thought having this all together on the apparently would really inspire the conversations, which I want the brand to be. Well, what does that semi-colon gain or why do you have [00:42:00] three rings around the circle of your logo? All the three rings represent the inner place where a group therapy takes place where it’s a circle environment, it’s close knit, it’s unbreakable, it’s safe.

[00:42:11] Keith Harrison: And the two exterior ones supporting that inner circle are the ripple effects. That tier response wishes to be as the waves of change within mental health community. And we donate find this from the apparel to those organizations so that they can run their trauma programs and services for first responders and the families of first responders.

[00:42:29] Keith Harrison: So if you are a first responder and you support first response, That’s what the gears to be high quality it’s good stuff. And that’s what it wants to be. So that’s, if you’re, if you see it, not only you seeing somebody that sees and hears you as a first responder, but at the same time are supporting the trauma programs and services that we, that I have personally been able to recover and heal.

[00:42:59] Keith Harrison: That we partner up with [00:43:00] and if we’re able to find the amazing rock stars out there doing amazing work within trauma services and organizations, well, I want you to, I want you to link up with us. I want you to reach out so that I can see what you’re doing. If there’s able, that we can help out and support.

[00:43:19] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And you’re doing a lot of great work. There’s a lot of symbolism that, that you’re talking about there in, in the logo and the design and everything. I think that some of them, I didn’t even, I didn’t even recognize some of it when I looked at the logo myself and all of that stuff. Some of it I did catch, but I didn’t catch all of it.

[00:43:36] Scott DeLuzio: And so it’s great that you have all of that in there. But also I think more importantly that, you are, Supporting those organizations that are supporting the first responders who need it the most. So, hats off to you. I think what you’re doing is excellent. Keep doing what you’re doing because I think there’s a lot of people out there who will benefit from the types of work that you do.

[00:43:57] Scott DeLuzio: Where can people go to support you [00:44:00] and tear response? Is there a website they can go to social media, anything like that, that you can direct them to?

[00:44:06] Keith Harrison: Yeah, I can probably say I know where going to, we’re probably not going to put this up tomorrow, but I can probably say when this does go up, we will have our website finally constructed.

[00:44:16] Keith Harrison: There’s two ways to find us. If you just Google tier response apparel, company.com, it’ll lead you to us, but the quick and easy one is teared. Dot CA so WWF Teer gear.ca. You can link us to our website, which we’ll have our main landing page for the store that ships worldwide as well, let’s, we’re on social media at tr underscore apparel co on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at T our apparel company.

[00:44:42] Keith Harrison: So we’re always posting up what we’re doing. Inspirational messages Yeah, just trying to move the needle towards, having mental health, be the regular conversation where someone will use it as easily as they use their dental benefits. [00:45:00]

[00:45:00] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. So thank you again for coming on and sharing your story and the things that you’re doing your journey.

[00:45:06] Scott DeLuzio: I really do appreciate it and appreciate all the work that you do for the first responders. And even for the yourself in terms of getting yourself better. Not only could you return to doing the things that you have, but you’re also to help out other people along the way. I think it’s incredibly powerful that you’re able to do that.

[00:45:28] Scott DeLuzio: So, so thank you.

[00:45:30] Keith Harrison: I appreciate that, Scott. And yeah, like I said, I just, I know there’s a. A kid out there where a girl out there we’re looking at, somebody who was a first responder and that is their dream. Right. They’re looking, they’re studying hard. They’re in school with the hopes and dreams of being a first responder police officer, a paramedic.

[00:45:48] Keith Harrison: And, we can really showcase a well thriving first responder is someone that, cause we’re always going to need them. We’re never not going to need them. But if we can showcase to the [00:46:00] next generation that you know, it’s possible to do this job and it be exposed to trauma and be exposed to all the horror that we are, there is still the ability to have a joyful thriving, happy.

[00:46:16] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Well, thank

[00:46:17] Keith Harrison: you again. Appreciate you, Scott. Thanks so much.

[00:46:22] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website driveonpodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at drive on podcast.

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