She is one of thousands of police officers tasked with keeping our streets safe, but Senior Constable Ingrid Gunthorpe’s journey to this point is nothing short of remarkable due to her battle with depression.
This week, Senior Constable Gunthorpe’s achievement was recognised with a commendation award from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.
“It’s just been amazing. I never ever expected this,” Senior Constable Gunthorpe said.
Her battle began at pregnancy in 2009 when she developed hyperemesis gravidarum – severe morning sickness - which required hospitalisation.
“It didn’t stop after my baby was born, and doctors say it caused a chemical imbalance as my body went into toxic shock,” Senior Constable Gunthorpe said.
Her post natal depression reached a critical low, which, miraculously, became the turning point in her remarkable recovery.
“I started to think about all the good I had. I had a healthy beautiful girl, a great husband, a job that I absolutely loved and amazing support from my colleagues,” she said.
“I just focussed on myself and what I needed to do to get back to full duties.”
The achievement of being returned to full duties as a police officer and overcoming depression cannot be overestimated, as police say it has never happened before.
“Yes, it’s without precedent in my 27 years experience, to make that journey back, facing such huge obstacles,” Wagga Police Superintendent Bob Noble said.
Senior Constable Gunthorpe’s superior, Sergeant Maggie Deall, said Ingrid’s journey back has been inspiring.
“It really doesn’t happen – overcoming depression after being classed as permanently restricted due to mental health. Basically, she spent two years doing everything she could to being operational again, and she did it. She is a role model and we are extremely proud of her,” Sergeant Deall said.
Senior Constable Gunthorpe said as well as Sergeant Deall and Superintendent Noble, her “shining light” was colleague and mentor, Inspector Peter Robertson.
“Robbo said, ‘do you want to do it?’, I said I did but asked if it had ever been done before. He said, ‘I don’t know, but let’s try’. Even the police psychologist said, ‘I’d never seen this before in my life’,” Senior Constable Gunthorpe said.
It took 18 months of achievements and setbacks, but the once-thought-impossible happened.
“I will never forget the day in November last year; the day they told me I’d get my gun back; that I’d made it,” she said.