Yes, you- the one who has trained hard and works tirelessly in a job most could never do. There is no question that you serve your community with everything you can. But where do you go after a tough run or shift? What happens then?
Having a place to process some of the horrible things you encounter isn't really a staple in your career field. Instead, you get through it, go back, clean up, go home, repeat. Dealing with these things isn't easy, and not many people understand it or want to hear about what’s bothering you. Many of these traumas you're exposed to naturally bother you less over time. Others seem to get stuck in your mind. These are the things that can mess with your thoughts, your emotions, your relationships, your job, your sleep, and your life. Oftentimes, my first responders will tell me they struggle with memories of certain events, or nightmares, or being triggered by things that previously didn't bother them. Or, they tell me they are avoiding things like friends, family, work, or other things they typically would enjoy. A lot of times I hear overwhelming feelings like guilt for not doing "more" or anger with no place to put it. This can all lead to feeling horrible overall.
First responders are at a higher risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, than the rest of the population. The numbers are likely grossly underreported, however, the rates of PTSD in first-responders seem to be on par with that of combat veterans. This puts you at a higher risk for depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. What if I told you there were highly effective treatments exactly for this type of thing? And, that most of the time, these treatments only last 3-4 months? There is support for you.
You do so much for others without ever really knowing what to do to take care of yourself or how to protect yourself from that next bad run getting to you. Getting treatment is a way to protect you, and those you work with, from the dark places your job can take you. It can also help you to get back to feeling 100% and be even more resilient in the future.
Don't ignore the signs. PTSD doesn't get better on it's own, but it's highly treatable. I am happy to say that I offer evidence-based treatments for PTSD, and would love to work with you. I have 11 years of trauma work behind me, and many of those I've worked with have been first-responders. My goal is to help you keep doing the job that you love—with less of that pressure build-up that happens over time. Please feel free to call or text me at 513-780-5313 or check out my website at www.thrivetherapyinc.com.
Oh yeah, and thanks for being such a badass. You rock.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential support.