Broken elements: how first-responders can become casualties in need of help themselves. | #PTSDchat

Broken elements: how first-responders can become casualties in need of help themselves.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 1645 Hrs.

Looking around, I see less and less reason to want to say that people are worth saving. But as I allow myself to become angry enough to let this sort of “stinking-thinking” fog my mind, I fight myself to stop it in its tracks. It makes no sense to ponder the questionable behaviors of others when I am so damaged and so weakened at times by my own struggles.


This week in one of my most favored of cities, “Toronto, Ontario Canada” a person chose to commit an act of atrocity against innocent persons as he ran a van through and over several of them, and for what reason I am as yet unaware.


What I can say for a certainty is that it brought me back to a moment in my life, when everything fell apart, it was a time for me, when my emotions were absolutely defiled! Nothing that has ever been witnessed by my eyes, has ever been as insultingly assaulting to my sight, my emotions, my psyche, and the future of which I had only at that moment begun to live as what happened on this particular day!

Death… arrived and it did so in such a traumatic manner that even though I was unaware of it at the time, it would affect my every living moment from that one until this!


Participate in a self-replenishing exercise: remember the best accomplishment of your life, now, remember the worst you’ve ever felt. Now, think about this, no matter how bad that bad moment was, here you are, able to think about better and worse, and still be whole as you do so! Not perfection but perception. This is our need as human beings, identifying our needs and accessing them even if we need help with doing so.


Right now, some of our brother and sister first-responders are placing the issues they faced the other day on a shelf inside of their minds, some may be thinking that it will never come up again, while others are thinking about how and when it WILL come back to have an effect on their life.

As a former paramedic, I know that at some point, the work that was performed by these special people will have an impact, it may come later on, or it may come tomorrow. Whatever the case, they will need to know that access to treatment is available and that there are people who give a care for and about them in regard to what they are facing at this time!


How? Is the question that no one sitting in an EMT or a paramedic’s classroom ever asks themselves. I know, because I just wanted to get the training in, get better than I thought that I could, and then, get out on that street and help everyone who needed it. I never realized, or even considered that I would be one of those who needed to be helped because of my being in that classroom!


I have to say at this point; that it takes a special kind of person to excel at the mission of being a first-responder. It is never your job, it always your duty to all of the people in your community. Every aspect of your thought process must be able to process without hesitation that this person is in need of what I can give to him/her and even if it is someone with whom you might not deal  in your daily living, for some reason or another, now, is not the time to consider this, your personal feelings can’t accompany you on this ride, this time, you have to be raw, you have to be nerveless and selfless to the point where you won’t even think of your own life without adding theirs into the same thought.


Dedication doesn’t even begin to describe the definition of what you have to use to be a first-responder. It is a weaker-than-should-be-used term! I want it to be known that I respect every person who goes to work, not knowing if coming home will be a decision which is left up to their own discretion, but shows up anyway!


However proud I am to be a part of this family-hood of unselfish and dedicated people, I never forget that each of them is a person who will have to deal with the stresses of a job that can often have situations additional to just punching a clock that can have disastrous effects on their lives, and that all of the help possible should be available to each of them, no matter what the case may happen to be!


No application I have ever signed has meant as much to me, as the one that got me accepted into my first EMT class! I was afraid and proud at the same time. I didn’t know if I would make it through the training because I didn’t know what it would ensue, but I did know that I had every intention to be as good at the process as I could be.


As I went through the training the classes, the labs, the thought began to sink into my mind that one day, if I really made it, someone was going to look into my eyes with the hopeful look of my being able to help them through an emergent situation that could very well have their life in the balance! Was I ready? I would think to myself. Being trained is not the same as being on an accident scene, and what you see and smell stays with you, it permeates the emotional elements of your mind, it impacts the thought processes and for longer a time than one might think.


My hopes for the good health of every first-responder is always on my mind because if you’ve ever been one, you’re always ready to go, (at least in your mind!)


My heart is with all of you. And my heart is with the victims of the horrendous actions which were used by one person who decided to be heinous in his treatment of other lives.






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