Were will the Next Chapter in life begin after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? PTSD is not like a broken leg, a back injury, or the flu. It can not be cured in a short period of time, if at all. During my time in the hospital, I came into contact with a number of people. Some of the best information I retained was from other patients which I spent time with.
One girl in particle, we will call her Dee. I met Dee during my last few days in the Short Term Unit. Although Dee and I did not share a lot of our experiences. Many things we shared I notice were very similar. During one of our group session Dee presented a very good point, PTSD is not an illness you can cured. However PSTD is a mental illness you learn how to cope with. The anxiety, depression, and all the other emotions associated with PTSD can be manage with medication joined with learning coping skills.
My Next Chapter in life has helped me learn that what Dee said is so very true. Coping with PTSD I covered in a past blog. I want to share with you a few things I have been doing in this next chapter of my life. Not everyone will cope in the same way, we are all different and we all enjoy different things. Yet, I am learning that most first responders and military veterans run into similar roadblocks with PTSD. The only big difference I can finding is that veterans are exposed to traumas over a short duration of a few years. While the first responder is exposed to the trauma over a long period of time. Occasionally they, will be exposed to additional traumas before having dealt with the last.
I spent over 30 year as a public safety professional. In that time I have found that getting up and brushing it off never really existed. We just dealt with the trauma in a different way. However the inevitable always can true. We would call an individual “Burnt-out.” In reality they were showing signs of PTSD.
It has been some time since my last post. You may ask why, or not.
The truth is that I have been educating myself about PSTD and trying to move on with my life. Most people that I have worked with over the years no long talk to me. Maybe only because they either don’t know what to say or I have been forgotten about. I could go on for days of what speculations I could come up with. I have learner who my true friends really are. They stand behind you and support you.
Do I have any regrets?
The only regrets I have is that I did not come forward earlier. The reason I did not come forward earlier was because like most people who experience PTSD do not even know it is happening. They will experience the anxiety, the depression, and the self guilt.
I am not an expert in mental health and I do not have all the answers. I am just sharing my experiences to help others identify and get the assistance they need.
Do I have any regrets for what I will be sharing? I do not have any regrets for what I will share and have shared. I do have regrets that the some people around never even know what was happening. They treated me like a broken glass or a tool that is no longer useful and just throw me away. It’s not like I planned on going through this or even put myself in harms way knowing the out come.
Unlike our military veterans that are finally being recognized for PTSD. First Responder who have placed themselves on the front lines everyday. Everything from the Paramedic comforting an elderly women with Alzheimer’s that just what’s to talk, to 11 yo boy that gets hit by a car a shows no signs of life. Even the police officer that arrives at a simple noise complaint, only to be shot at. Again, I could go on for days with incidents that seem very routine that eventually end a career or even a life.
Does this mean its OVER?
After getting diagnosed and treated for PTSD does this mean it’s over? Not a yes or no question.
I have found that a career does not have to be over because of PTSD. If you get the right treatment and educate yourself about your illness, you can overcome this. I look at it similar to diabetes or a heart, with the right self care you can overcome this.
Agreed that may be a poor comparison. My point is that once a condition is treated, it does not have to end your career. Their are a great number of individuals who are in the public safety profession who have gotten treatment and continue to work in the profession they love. Some have retired from working in the street and are still giving back to their profession They work as educators or administrators while sharing their experience to help their brothers and sisters.
Sometime it may be the best thing for you to come off the street and sit behind a desk. In no way is this what we signed up for. But if giving back is what you can do for the future of your profession, then why not?
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