Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / PTSD & Trauma / PTSD for Medical and First Responders

Topic: PTSD for Medical and First Responders

  1. Goldenlight
    Goldenlight avatar
    6 posts
    27 March 2017 in reply to MarkJT
    After reading through this feed on ptsd I think maybe I might be experiencing it. I feel for everyone who has commented to this page as ptsd is real and it can seem like u are absolutely drowning in fear and panic. I'm not sure where to start or who to turn to. I am a nurse and after an incident that happened 2 weeks ago I am feeling absolutely done, burnt out and in panic that I have to find another job, I feel this job is too much for me, on my days off I'm not relaxing, my heart is racing, I'm all jittery and find it difficult to take a deep breath, I love caring for people but think I've made the wrong career choice as I have had ptsd in the past from a traumatic event when I was a child, I am also prone to anxiety, and have had an eating disorder in the past. I don't know what my options are. I don't want to seem weak when other people around me at work seem so capable and confident. Any suggestions? When I am at work I am fine. When I am away from work I seem to be highly anxious and panicked about having to go back.
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    27 March 2017 in reply to Goldenlight

    Dear Goldenlight~

    When your work makes you ill then it is time to reassess what to do. Basically either get support and coping skills that work (may not be possible - then again it might) or change jobs, or frequency of going to work.

    I didn't reassess, kept going until I stopped functioning, then invalided out with PTSD, depression, chronic anxiety. I am now quite good, but permanently out of the workforce - of any sort - except voluntary.

    Mark and Paul have, as usual, given pretty good advice. Mark is a great example of someone who was struck by PTSD, anxiety and all the usual suspects, but has recovered to the point where he is back at work. Anxiety and PTSD can indeed be overcome by some. (sorry to talk about you Mark - don't mean to be rude)

    My son works in A&E, but a few years ago, before things started to build up too much, made a conscious decision to work part time and study too. Gave him 2 different worlds, lessened the pressure. Made for perspective.

    My first wife was a casualty sister. After a number of years she changed to the more relaxing pace of X-Ray for a while.

    I tried to beat things on my own, did not work. I tried ignoring the basic problems, that did not work either. Your symptoms and situation are quite familiar to me.

    So what am I saying? If I was in your shoes I'd start by ensuring I had the best medical treatment available.

    Normally that starts with a GP, assessment, and then possibly meds and visits to a psychologist to give you the tools to cope with, and minimize, anxiety. The Smiling Mind app Mark mentioned is very useful, I have it too.

    I'd also consider a slight change of path. If part time is not practical than another department, or agency?

    Seeming calm capable and confident on the outside is fine, but please don't let life erode you inside.

    Croix

    3 people found this helpful
  3. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
    • Former member of the blueVoices Advisory Group
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MarkJT avatar
    1313 posts
    27 March 2017 in reply to Croix

    Goldenlight, I think the first and foremost action you need to take is to get yourself to the GP and maybe a psych. Before you can really do anything else, you need to get yourself right. You are the most important person to you. You cannot help many others if you are not right yourself. If there was a non negotiable that I could say to you, this is it - get to the GP!

    Once you get this done, if you do get a diagnoses of PTSD, it is not the end of the world. As Croix has said above (and Croix tell me story all you want!!), I got back to full time work and are functioning quite well. There is no reason why you cannot do that also. There was once a time where i did not envision at all going back to my job, but i have.

    Please do not think that you are weak. In my opinion, it takes more courage to face up to mental health injuries and illnesses than it does to try and run away from it. You cannot outrun it so do not try to. Do not worry about your work mates, i think you would find that most, if not all will be supportive and those that are not, well they are not worth worrying about.

    You need to build the base for your recovery. That starts with the GP visit, it may go to some psych session, improve your diet if you can, drop or cut alcohol usage, exercise and practice mindfulness. Build your base and you give yourself the best chance of making a full recovery.

    Thanks for posting, it reinforces for those that are reading this that you and everyone else, is not alone.

    Mark.

    3 people found this helpful
  4. The Abyss
    The Abyss avatar
    352 posts
    31 March 2017 in reply to Mobi

    Hi Mobi -

    We never know what job it will be that tips us over the edge. You handle all the big stuff for years and years, and then something "little" will tip you over the edge, take you back to a job you thought you had put behind you, cause an unproportioned response. It hits you hard, because you don't see it coming. It has been the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Many of the emergency services use EAP (employee assistance program) or something similar. Make contact - they put you in contact with a counsellor who specialises in PTSD and try to match you up with someone of similar experience. It is hard to make the first step, but it helps so much to talk with someone that really understands. It's not just the job, it's all the other stuff that has built up and the medical issues as well. Don't feel you just have to talk about the job - it's just one element of a very complex issue.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. The Abyss
    The Abyss avatar
    352 posts
    31 March 2017 in reply to Goldenlight

    Goldenlight

    Step 1 - take sick leave or worker comp. Often easier to take sick leave first, but after discuss with GP, perhaps seek workers comp while you take time out? Workers Comp will allow you to seek and receive help for longer than a mental health plan, but right now you need to remove yourself from the noxious stimuli. You are not working at your best, and risk making a mistake that may affect your career in the long term. Despite your front, you are not safe, and need to look after you.

    May I ask, was it a patient incident or an employment incident? It's just that the path to healing are different.

    It sounds like you are experience panic attacks. They feel so real and are so debilitating. You need to see a psychologist as soon as you can so you can start on a recovery process, or at the very least, stop this from becoming any more debilitating than it already is.

    Recovery is possible. Give it time. Don't jump in to abandoning your career, heal first, then reassess. Yes, a different area may help, reducing hours may help, but nothing will help until you take time out to heal you first.

  6. bear53
    bear53 avatar
    16 posts
    6 April 2017 in reply to The Abyss

    Have been following this post occasionally for some time now, last few replies have been quite relevant for me.So heres my story:

    Posted elsewhere on bb early last year with another issue as a carer, but all good now. ( Worth mentioning as maybe it contributed to my more recent stress/ptsd)

    I work as an acute care nurse out in the community, a job I still enjoy, but at times it can be stressful and does involve a lot of driving. Middle of last year I was a first responder to a near fatal accident, person needing urgent airway management with a serious head injury. Afterwards i put an incident form in with work, and took a few days off work. At the time my colleagues were supportive, but my manager( who has since left) had no concept of the impact it had on me. After a couple of months I went to my gp and got a mental health plan and psychologist, not under work cover. Mentally things improved for me and late last year the psych and i agreed that one more visit this year should be enough. I took a long holiday inFeb. and thought I was over it after. Then out of the blue one day at work out on the road I experienced two triggers, which I worked through myself, as I have done in past. A setback, but still I thought I was ok. Then the other day the original incident came up in conversation at work, (a colleague asked me what happened). I started to tell, but felt too distressed talking about it, and had to stop. Like i said , I thought I was getting better, and thats whats upsetting me now. I am also anxious about doing my BLS again, as this is coming up. So I am in the middle of getting another appt with my psych, but this is another issue, she only works once a week and is hard to contact ( number goes to message bank and she rings back, but takes a few hours). So thinking maybe i need to change psych. also. Not feeling I need time off work now, but scared I might get a major trigger at work.

  7. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    6 April 2017 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53~

    It's a nasty shock when things come back after you think you were over them. I was surprised recently by a somewhat minor matter, and have in the past had major re-livings.

    There is - or has been for me - good news. Things can lessen markedly in intensity. Whilst I have no experience to draw on except my own frankly I think the fact you were able to stop, realizing what was happening, and alter course was a most encouraging sign. Being 'stuck' in the experience is not.

    I've found that I have to take care about triggers, and for me a lot are known. I've said to people in the past, "Look I don't want to talk about that", and changed the subject. This has not completely stopped thoughts as they have been just starting, but I'm at the stage I can quickly compensate and the person I'm talking to has no idea (unless it is my wife or son).

    I also find that one trigger leaves me more susceptible to another if it follows quickly.

    My reactions are so much lighter and more manageable nowadays, and coping with triggers by and large ok.

    It's a pity your psych only works once a week, however if it was me (no, I know it's not) I'd balance how you got on with her and how much confidence you have in her against frequency of visits.

    I do find base levels of stress make things worse for this and also my anxiety, I use Smiling Mind which is a help.

    Please feel free to keep talking, others probably can give you more pertinent advice

    Croix

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  8. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
    • Former member of the blueVoices Advisory Group
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MarkJT avatar
    1313 posts
    7 April 2017 in reply to bear53

    Bear, one of the most valuable things that i learnt on my PTSD journey where my triggers. I know that if i am going to do something that is slightly triggering, i can mentally prepare for that and it, for the most part, serves me well.

    There are definitely times though that I get triggered unexpectedly and those are the harder times to control. It is a viscous circle to get into as you either choose to walk around all day every day on edge waiting to be triggered which is not healthy at all or you allow yourself to relax with the threat of being triggered.

    My advice would be to make sure that the original incident is treated and you are working towards that with the psych. If you cannot get in quickly enough with her, you may need to look for another one. You also need to learn to ground yourself. There are several ways of doing this with mindfulness being a great one. As Croix points out above, Smiling Mind is a great app - check that out. There is also music which is awesome as you can get completely in the moment with music.

    Triggers can be controlled - i can assure you that, don't ever think that they can't.

    Mark.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. bear53
    bear53 avatar
    16 posts
    7 April 2017 in reply to MarkJT

    Thankyou for your replies Mark and Croix, much appreciated, god to talk to someone who knows what you are going thru (an old cliche but true!)

    So i got on to my psych yesterday, luckily there was a spare appt yesterday, otherwise it was going to be weeks away . One of the points they made was that you're more susceptible to triggers when you're already tired from work with less reserves, so I'll watch out for that one, if i can. They also suggested writing out the incident in full as much as I can, will choose the right time to do this though. I did feel better after seeing them, but if I feel things arent improving in a few weeks, may look elsewhere for help. ( and keep posting)

  10. CMF
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    CMF avatar
    8200 posts
    7 April 2017 in reply to bear53

    Hi,

    I've just read through this thread and I am speechless. I don't feel I can add anything of value to help anyone but I do want to say 'Thank You" to all of the amazing people who work in these jobs and see deal with traumatic events every day. You are a special breed, I really don't know what to say but thank you ...

    cmf x

    3 people found this helpful
  11. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    7 April 2017 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53~

    I'm glad Mark and I were able to strike a chord. I've found having others that understand and have the experience is a real treasure. Trying to explain things to someone who does not have the experience is hard - even if they are very supportive and want to understand.

    Might I mention something about writing out your experiences? I've done that for some things and have found it a particular help to have my wife around - not looking over my shoulder, but available. She understands my condition and if I was to go down the path of triggering myself she'd be able to help. Leading me away, setting up my normal distractions and so on.

    I think you mentioned you had a partner, is he able to help in this way?

    I think Mark may be concerned about you getting into your psych quickly. I'd add to that that fortnightly visits seems to be the most helpful for me -at this stage. some people say greater frequency is an advantage - I don't know.

    I did not find the process quick, please don't be impatient. If in doubt ask, your psych should be able to say if things are progressing as expected.

    Please post again and say how you (and your partner I guess) are going

    Croix

  12. The Abyss
    The Abyss avatar
    352 posts
    8 April 2017 in reply to bear53

    Bear - I was so sorry to read about your struggle and admit it brought up one of my own incidents. I too thought I had dealt with my original situation, until a year later I when someone said "thank you" in relation to the incident. Such a simple act, but it plummeted me into an uncontrolled spiral. I couldn't understand the depth of my reaction when I had thought it was all put to bed. I suspect that some of it is tied up with what else was going on at the time (thresholding).

    The incident didn't occur in isolation, and while the memory may, it's the added issues that have the greatest effect. The first incident may have occurred when the kids were sick, you were having a crappy day at work, you were tired, you were driving on a particular stretch of road that you always have issues with, etc etc. They all add up. When only one of the triad is present, it stays below threshold, but when you have a couple of others present at the same time, it pushes you over threshold and you react. In time, any of those initial factors can become associated with the feelings and create their own issues. The trick is to keep them all below threshold, and learn to deflate the easier ones. Hence the suggestion about you being over-tired - it may have been enough to push you over threshold and so by controlling that aspect, it can help to deescalate the others.

    The reaction can come out of left field, leaving you completely paralysed. The feelings will pass, and I'm glad you got an appointment where you needed it. I found I needed fairly frequent appointments at the start, and were then able to lengthen the time between as it got easier to manage. I then kept "maintenance" appointments going for a while longer, more to deal with the accessory issues and thus keep it all below threshold. I had a couple of relapses, but they were quicker to deal with than the original situation. "Tightening up" so to speak.

    Bear - and Mobi - I hope you both get the help you need. Sharing does help - sometimes it works best with those that were in the situation with you, but sometimes it helps just to share with total strangers. There is no judgement and you can be yourself (or your alter ego if that helps!).

    Wishing you both good luck!

    1 person found this helpful
  13. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
    • Former member of the blueVoices Advisory Group
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MarkJT avatar
    1313 posts
    8 April 2017 in reply to bear53
    Bear - yes absolutely you are more susceptible to being triggered when you are tired. Night time is my red
    zone for sure. I am generally really good during the day but if there is a time where i am going to go off my nut, it is at night. I even feel vulnerable at this time so have to concentrate on grounding myself but at the same time, this is very mentally draining so a double edged sword.

    Great that you got into a psych and i agree with Croix, writing down the incident can work and work well but
    make sure you have support there if needed as this is triggering massive.

    You are in a marathon here, not a sprint so recovery takes a fairly long time so don't rush things. All in time.
    The more work that you put into your base, the better it will be to allow you to move forward.

    Mark.
  14. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    9 April 2017 in reply to MarkJT

    Hi Mark,

    My workcover got approved! such an absolute relief.
    Makes me think 'wow, this actually sucks, this is actually real, i'm actually feeling this way' weird place to be in.. I kept hoping i'd wake up one of these days soon and it will have all gone away like a bad cold or flu!

    Ive been back at work in a non-clinical role with a little bit of supernumery clinical work in ED for the last month.
    First couple weeks were hard just being in the building, then it was hard hearing machine noises associated with sick patients, then it was hard because i felt totally helpless and hopeless when the dept was busy and I couldnt do anything but shake and sweat in the office, some days their were flashbacks and its weird having them in public like that, makes me feel so vulnerable. But now the worst part is the managers comments. So now I dont want to go to work because i'm scared of hearing more unhelpful comments from them, and i'm scared that i can't take any more comments, and i'm scared about what i'll do if i hear one too many of these comments.

    I have a couple days left til I'm on holidays for a month and I dont know if i should even go in for these last days
    I'm going trekking in nepal.. I'm anxious and scared about this too.. so many what ifs.. Has anyone else been on a holiday in the midst of all this? I"m hoping getting away from this place will help put me in a greater headspace. but i'm scared that i'll fall apart and my bf, gp & psychologist are half a world away!
    I am travelling in a group of people, and a couple of them know about my ptsd, to some degree.

    Any tips on travelling with ptsd?
    I'm not on any meds for my anxiety, and my depression scores were improving (although remain severe) so we didn't start them meds either. hoping i dont regret that.
    Any other non medication tips you have?

  15. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
    • Former member of the blueVoices Advisory Group
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MarkJT avatar
    1313 posts
    9 April 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    Trailrunner, awesome that your WorkCover was ticked off - major hurdle to cross so you can now put that behind you.

    In regards to unhelpful comments from your managers, it is difficult yes, but tell yourself that what they think and say, try and not let it hurt you. You know what you are capable of at work and what you have achieved in the past. Yes you are taking some time away from your normal duties but that is okay, you are injured and you need to let that injury heal (recover). Once this is done, you could well get back to pre injury duties. It is impossible to say whether you will ever get back to those duties as you need to recover first. I have mates that have got back to their duties so it can be done.

    Travelling with PTSD is anxiety provoking, no doubt but it can be done. Trekking in Nepal can be so calming because there is no noise other than nature. You have such an unbelievable look at the stars every night and the landscape is astonishing.

    What trek are you doing?

    The Nepalese are such beautiful people and the air is as crisp as you will ever experience. Mindfulness is the key - there are so many ways you can practice this in Nepal.

    A word of warning about Kathmandu though, do not expect it to be a decent city. It is run down, incredibly poor, smelly, crowdy and dirty. It is an experience that is for sure.

    I did the Annapurna circuit a couple of years back.

    I just wish i had of known about mindfulness then as i would have taken so much more of this wonderful country in!

    Drink plenty of water that has been sanitised or buy bottled water, buy up on nuts in Kathmandu as they are good for energy, mix with the locals in the small villages you stop by, don't be put off my the Nepalese and their sanitary standards, tell the guides that you have PTSD as they would have dealt with people getting anxiety at altitude, if you are going above 4,000 mts, be aware that the air thins greatly at that level so breathing is harder - it is a bit freaky but you can get used to it and just have a great time!

    Mark.

    1 person found this helpful
  16. The Abyss
    The Abyss avatar
    352 posts
    10 April 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    Hi Trailrunner

    I have done a lot of trekking (and hope to do Nepal next year). I have found that after a couple of days of adjustment, the worlds I trek in are so different from those that trigger me, that I no longer worry about it. You can't help but 'live in the moment' while trekking - you are so busy getting up the next mountain or taking in the view or absorbing the beauty, that your anxieties melt away.

    Having said that, I did become overwhelmed at the end of a day trekking Kokoda - I was so exhausted, and doubted my ability to go on. I sat there and sobbed until I was sick. At the end of it all, my guide pulled me up, dusted me off, patted me on the back, and moved on. It was what I needed at that moment, and afterwards felt so much better! Finishing that trek was made all the sweeter!

    It is human to falter. It's what we do with it that makes the difference.

    Go enjoy your trek......I look forward to hearing the details!

    1 person found this helpful
  17. bear53
    bear53 avatar
    16 posts
    10 April 2017 in reply to The Abyss

    Hi Trailrunner, great that youve posted your concerns about travelling. ( was going to post today anyway, see my second half)

    My experience with travelling in the last few years was that my anxiety is way worse before the trip with the 'what ifs' too, especially when it comes to packing. Once I am there there is very little anxiety, so hope this works for you too. Also there are very few,

    triggers for me overseas, so being away from home can work that way. As an example , ambulances were once a major trigger for me, esp. early on, but on hols. they didnt trigger me.

    Nepal is such a beautiful spiritual place, beautiful people, and the views are unique. If you do happen to forget any trekking gear, you can easily buy it in Kathmandu, at bargain prices too. Namche also has a reasonable range, just not so many shops. "Trip advisor" may be useful for you for travel advice on shopping etc.

    Unfortunately we never made it to base camp as the earthquake in 2015 happened while we were there. Certainly some stressful times then( thats another story), but travelling as a group meant we could be there for each other for support. Its great that others on the trek know about your ptsd, that way hopefully they can be there for you if you are having a hard time. Whether you tell your guide or not is up to you, but if you are struggling it would be good to tell him, that way he wont be 'second guessing' what the problem is and be more supportive of you. A good tour guide would encourage you to keep communications open,ours did.

    Now part 2: so after my last post I worked yesterday, lot of driving, some pretty bad weather. ( scary enough for anyone)Sometimes 1 of my biggest fears is coming across another accident, was feeling this way yesterday all day. Today i learnt that 3 hrs after i was on a country rd, there was a double fatality there. Shook me up . today, luckily i was in the office, but still found it hard to concentrate. Cant see my psych till mid May. so not sure where to go fron here. Just want to get to easter break.Work not aware of my issues, early on, my psych advised against work cover claim mainly as she said it would be more stressful, less confidential ,and it may easier on me if i dont claim. I can also get where you're coming from trailrunner when you say people comment about you, I think would feel the same way if others at work knew. Though we all know it shoudnt be that way.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. A Tech
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    A Tech avatar
    108 posts
    17 May 2017 in reply to Goldenlight

    Hi Goldenlight,

    Reading your post was far too familiar to me. It's me to a tee. Can I ask how long have you been a nurse? And in what area?

    I was an anaesthetic technician for 10 years in theatres at a major trauma hospital. I specialised in Emergency, Cardiothoracic and was on call for the Cardiothoracic transplant team (a full load!)

    I also have a history of anxiety, which strangely enough is what makes us SO good at our job! The anxiety aspect keeps us on our toes, so we're vigil, we ready and raring to go when needed. But it's our downfall in the biggest sense because we never have that chance to actually unwind and relax (even at home) like everyone else. I never sleep properly, I don't think I ever have.

    It makes us perfectionists, also good for the job but not for our health. I too have struggled all my life with an eating disorder. I think that maybe my obsession with my own shortcomings is why I got into health. Looking after others is something people like us do SO well.

    I started out feeling like you do. I was ok at work, but when I was off the thought of going back was overwhelming. I started to take sick days, then weeks. Eventually I had to admit that I was struggling.

    All the advice in the world won't help unless your ready though. I knew something was wrong for quite a while but didn't want to admit it. By the time I did, it was too far gone to just have a short time off. I wish so, so much that I had acted sooner. I haven't worked in almost 3 years now, and it's destroyed any self esteem I had. But I know others that were back within the year. It really all comes down to how soon your willing to recognise it and act on it.

    If you have supportive GP then you'll be ok. If not then that's the first thing to do. It makes all the difference in the world. Your GP can sort out any meds if needed, psychs, therapists etc. definitely the first port of call.

    I hope I've helped at least with something. Please let me know how things are going. Your a nurse for a reason, because your a special type of person. I believe that our past experiences are what makes us stand out from the rest of the herd.

    Take care,

    Donna x

  19. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    10 June 2017

    What's the deal with anniversaries?

    I know it's not happening again.

    In the past couple weeks I've been pretty well. Standing up for myself, eating, exercising, socialising.

    knowing it was coming up didn't seem to change my days. Now I'm here in the middle of the days of last years events, I just want to cry, curl up on the couch and disappear again. Wtf

    any advice or similar experiences?

  20. A Tech
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    A Tech avatar
    108 posts
    10 June 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    Hi TrailRunner,

    I know EXACTLY what your saying when it comes to anniversaries!

    I'm the same. I have no idea what it is that triggers these things when like you said, days before everything is pretty good. Yes we're aware that the anniversary is coming but you feel ok. Then suddenly it hits like a tone of bricks.

    The last two years for me I was doing pretty good right up until an anniversary and then I crashed. I ended up in hospital both times. It's a huge setback for recovery too. Especially with a hospital admission, doctors get touchy about it!

    One of the psych registrars said to me at last admission that all of our memories, especially when connected with trauma/emotion etc are basically stored in our sub conscious mind. So even though we're doing well on the outside, until all the traumatic events are truely dealt with, we will have episodes when our sub conscious brings it back to the surface. I'm guessing that anniversaries are such episodes.

    I don't know if that helps at all, but I felt like it made sense for me.

    Just know your not alone, but if you feel out of control please make sure you let someone know.

    Take care xx

    1 person found this helpful
  21. The Abyss
    The Abyss avatar
    352 posts
    11 June 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    Was this the first anniversary Trailrunner?

    I found the first anniversary the hardest, and for me it came unexpectedly. To make it worse, there was a lot of publicity around the event, a lot of other stuff going on. For me it helped to speak with others involved in the event, to remember, to talk, to put it all to bed. This was more helpful than speaking with the psychologist, because he wasn't there, wasn't part of it, didn't really understand.

    The following year was easier. I started pairing the date with something more pleasant, and now I remember but aren't distressed.

    Talk about the event with whoever you feel comfortable with. Write down your feelings, your thoughts, your fears. You don't need to show anyone, you just need to express them. Give yourself some time off. Go for a run, a hike, something physically challenging, go alone and run yourself to exhaustion. Come home, wrap yourself in cotton wool, cry, and get up the next day knowing you survived and can go on.

    You can get through this, it will get better, and life will go on.

    TA

  22. Airies
    Airies avatar
    894 posts
    11 June 2017 in reply to A Tech

    Hi there,

    stumbled across this thread and can relate perfectly. Have been referred to do a PTSD course and a bit hesitant about it. I spent 25 years working as a Prison Officer and also a number of years working as a Library Technician in between. Talk about polar opposites as professions. I was always a perfectionist in whatever I do. Highly vigilant in my job and operated on auto pilot for years until I had enough a number of years ago. The biggest mistake I made was returning in a casual capacity in the same job and had a complete breakdown 2 years ago.

    I haven't worked since and won't again. I have a supportive wife and wonderful children, young adults, my world. I've had a number of hospital admissions ( psych and other) , and in a lot better headspace then I was. My nights are hellish. My meds help but also are responsable for vivid dreams. I'm now on additional medication to help with this.

    Ive always used excercise as an outlet along with dietary issues all my life. Now in my early 50s, modified my excercise regime as I can't do what I used to do. It's a fine line between being aware on a bicyle and terrified as I recently found out.

    The workplace wasnt supportive. They tick the boxes of doing so. I'm lucky I'd have a supportive understanding GP over the years and after a number of psychs, various meds, courses and treatments most days are ok. I try and keep busy, excercise most days and a tad obsessive about my diet resulting in me being in the best place physically for a number of years. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 years back which explained a lot.

    I saw a lot over the years but it wasn't that got to me over the years. It was ticking the boxes that needed ticking, well ahead of time,leaving and coming back a number of times and then a complete breakdown 2 years ago. My family is my rock, I'm lucky to have them. I don't do Winter well and long for the Spring/Summer around the corner. When I was having ECT when I was really unwell the only moments peace were when I was going under. Thankfully everything helped, a lot better now but it's a fragile existence. Learning to reinvent oneself in my early 50s and moving forward.

    Regards Len

  23. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    11 June 2017 in reply to Airies

    Dear Len~

    I can relate though I'm a lot further away in years from the start, doing very much better. I too find winter cuts out one of my major remedies - going for a walk. (Lung problems means I can't go out in the cold, spine means I can't do proper exercise.)

    Meds up at the moment and more dreams, I could probably do without that particular 'entertainment experience'.

    Why am I grizzling? Took me by surprise, don't normally carry on. I think it was your mention of winter.

    Please be assured time does heal greatly even if I do grouse..

    Take care

    Croix

  24. A Tech
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    A Tech avatar
    108 posts
    11 June 2017 in reply to Airies

    Hi Len,

    I'm really glad you posted, thank you for sharing so much of your life. I know the first few times are daunting.

    It's uncanny that you've posted today, only last night I was thinking about when I was at work and which theatre lists I felt that I might have made a difference to (because thats important to me). The ECT list was what I was thinking about last night. Three times a week we were involved for anaesthetics (I'm guessing you know I'm an anaesthetic technician) and watching the dramatic changes in patients was inspiring. From barely wanting to look or talk to me to chatting with me and wishing me well, I was amazed. When it works it really does work. I'm so glad to hear it was a success for you!

    I don't know how much of this thread you've read through, but I can most definitely relate to the unsupportive workplace and to the pedantic nature of having to tick the boxes!! Anaesthetics is one job that more than requires being OCD by nature, haha.

    Sometimes I still wonder if jobs like all of ours on this thread, that have these heavy burden type jobs where we either see too much or have lives in our hands, and we don't have jobs that we can leave at work when the shift is over either! That's if the shift is over, because we're all in jobs that are typically government and understaffed, I wonder if we actually could've done anything different or not.

    I mean, typically it takes a certain type of person to do these jobs (or so I'm told), to me I found home when I started my job :-) . My reference to anaesthetics needing an OCD nature was not a joke, if we mess up people die! So, I don't think I could've done anything different to prevent my PTSD from occurring because I'm a naturally stressy person. Does that make sense??

    Sorry to ramble on a bit there, not really sure how to say what I was thinking. Hopefully it makes some sense.

    My grandfather and uncle were prison officers. Grandfather was an officer for 35 odd years, mostly Fremantle Prison in WA, and after that closed he moved to Albany Regional until he retired.

    It's good to hear that you have a strong support network at home, thats the most important thing I think. You can survive anything if the people around you are there for you.

    Take care,

    Donna.

  25. kanga_brumby
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    kanga_brumby avatar
    4883 posts
    12 June 2017

    I figger that I qualify for this area being retired SES and attending several accidents either road trauma, or industrial. With memories of ash Wednesday. These days all we need is a code red day for fire. A bush Fire to be within 500 kiloliters of where I or my family is I am in a total panic. I feel as if I have to run away Find a boat get out to sea about 300 kilometers just to feel safe. Mind you I was in Melbourne safe when the fires were raging. So I was safe, but what I saw and felt the fear. Still has me rattled normally I am one of the first in to help someone, and the last to leave. Not now not after those fires.

    Kanga

  26. Airies
    Airies avatar
    894 posts
    12 June 2017 in reply to A Tech

    Hi Donna,

    can relate perfectly. Years ago diagnosed with ADHD so always been hyper, never do things by halves and for years always had a nervous energy.You make perfect sense. I sort of thrived in that environment for years and managed to roll with it.Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it was just a question of when.ive seen the toll the job takes on a number of former work colleagues.I only keep in contact with one and we try and talk about everything else but are always drawn back to our days back at the old Geelong goal. Life was so,much simpler then and the world as we know it has definitely changed.

    I sincerely hope you are doing ok. I have found posting here on Beyond Blue and finding similar minded souls who get it of great support. ECT worked wonders but at a cost. My long term and short term memory suffered and I still have big gaps but it was life changing. All part of the journey I guess and as humans shows how resililient we can be. I am certain you made a difference and I can hear the warmth in your words. I had about 20 treatments all up and it was quite scary at times. You have no idea how reassuring, a familiar face,smile, compassion and the touch of a hand made and treated like a human being made a difference.Thankyou on behalf of all your patients and to members of your profession.I k ow how difficult it can be dealing with people and we were both, like many here involved in very unique fields.

    Like you and many here we would put on our professional,heads, soldier on and then running on empty with the inevitable crash. I've recently had an addition to my meds. I take quite a few and to alleviate nightmares and dreams I now take an additional tablet which I'm adjusting too.

    I now focus my full attention on other things, practice Mindfullness, taking time out to smell

    the roses and liken myself to an onion stripped bare and rebuilding yet again, layer by layer. Sounds like you found a great psych registrar. It's little things that make sense, pardon the pun register.My psych, God bless her said to me the other day you can't compare the old you to the new you. I'm learning to be much kinder to myself and accepting of the cards I have been dealt.

    im sure you will continue to inspire,make a difference in whatever you do.We all have that capacity to change grow, reboot, take stock and move for award.Even though it's Winter I try and focus on the Blue sky as aposed to the odd grey cloud that drifts across,

    take care cheers Len

  27. A Tech
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    A Tech avatar
    108 posts
    13 June 2017 in reply to Airies

    Hi Len,

    I too have ADHD and have always been hyper. It would be very interesting to see just how many people in our type of 'unique' professions do have it. It would certainly add to the understanding of why we end up in these high stress, high performing jobs. Like you I thrived on the adrenaline. As much as the trauma was my down fall in the end (because I didn't deal with the fallout properly) it was also what I lived for in a way.

    At the moment I'm not in contact with anyone I worked with, but when I was it was the same as you. Inevitably the conversation always lead back to work.But that's because these are the type of jobs are a lifestyle, not just a job! As I said in my last post, most of us couldn't just walk away at the end of the shift and forget, it's just not possible.

    The medication train is a hard one at times isn't it? I'm pretty good now, my PTSD started about 4 1/2 years ago but I was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago. It's been very up and down thats for sure. Even up until early this year I wasn't sure if I was actually making a lot of progress. As great as my psych is, I just got really tired of talking about the same things over and over. I'm sure everyone can relate to that one!

    About a month ago I started going to a place in South Perth called Brain Wellness Spa. It's expensive ($195 per session) but so worth it. I've had results from the first session and for the first time in 4 years I'm not feeling depressed at all and I can see myself being able to go back to work soon.

    Your right about us as humans having the capacity to change, we just often don't think we can. It's amazing what we can do when we have to survive though. When you think about people getting lost in the wilderness etc and surviving, that's pure survival because they have too. And so can all of us, we just need to allow ourselves to do so without the extreme wilderness part, haha.

    Keep soldering on Len, as will I. I like this thread because I know the people here really understand the things I've been through.

    Take care.

    Donna x

  28. Airies
    Airies avatar
    894 posts
    13 June 2017 in reply to A Tech

    Hi Donna ,

    this is a great thread, so many pararells. Can relate perfectly to you on so many levels. I thrived in the environment, yet struggled in the normal world.

    You live in a lovelly part of the world, Perth is beautiful,,loved Fremantle and visited once when my younger brother was based there in the Army.. I'm close by the sea in Vic. Don't know how well you know Vic but down near the Heads opposite the Mornington Peninsula.

    . It's a tad cold but it's dry for now at least.Reading back over the thread I gather you are back studying.

    I'm adjusting to a new med, to cut back on the nightmares and cancelled my 1 on 1 today as feeling a bit nautious with the additional med. Having said that this evening is the best I've felt all week, sleeping well most nights since and received verbal notification of my referal to a PTSD course sometime in the near future. So a win win for me but that initial step will be hardThat's fantastic news re : the Brain Wellness Spa well worth the money if it works and by the sound of it it is.A great investment and it's all about the right intervention at the right time.

    It's great that you can see yourself returning to the workforce when you are ready. It goes to show, despite everything ,each step forward, however small is a great leap.

    I know certain things aren't covered by Private Health Cover. I know mine would be operating at a mega loss if I was the only contributor. I'm in the last unit of a DBT Course which has helped immensely. Upon its completion I have the option of repeating, doing the grad course or moving on. To be quite honest I think by its conclusion I've gained enough insight to move on and address the other issues and not that it's worst case scenario I can always go back but I need to move forward as part of my progress. I think as individuals we just know. I agree it's pretty much up and down but positive. Indicative of the progress we ve made! This is a great thread,genuine people who just get it. It's the same with my DBT group, a whole mirriad of people, ages, professions and personal journeys who soldier on week in, week out with no judgement whatsoever.

    You have to keep on soldiering on. We are all worthy of it. I always wanted to climb Mount Everest, mind you I've a fear of heights and in the age bracket and medicated bliss that climbing a ladder is a challenge. I used to run marathons and they were my little mountains.Now I'm taking baby steps,

    take care :) Have a good one

    cheers Len X

  29. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    22 June 2017 in reply to A Tech

    My psychologist has said similar A Tech; that your brain keeps seeing flashbacks of these memories cause it can't quite figure out where it belongs in the filing system of how we perceive the world. When the traumatic events are so inexplainable our brain struggles to make peace with it. Seems it won't rest until your brain has happily filed it under 'stuff that happens for no reason and I can't explain it' Just don't know how to get them in the file yet!

    Its bloody frustrating that I can't make it go away!

    I've moved in to a new role, same workplace. Liking the work and there team I'm working with. But not being able to wind down just makes it so hard to be cool calm and collected at work. I hold it together though. But I cry going to work again thinking I won't be able to get through the day or on the way home feeling like what a relief I survived! But then I still can't wind down even when I'm safely home again.

    i feel as though I'm slipping and I can't control the fall.

    I've had the anniversary, the findings from the inquiry handed to me, working more hours, feeling like I need to perform my best to impress the team, and a friend is depressed who's now staying at my house.

    any tips on winding down at the end of the day? I'm too tired to get to the gym on a work day, I tend to run only on my weekends now. I have a 'get ready for bed' routine, but nothing for the in between time.

  30. A Tech
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    A Tech avatar
    108 posts
    14 July 2017 in reply to The Abyss

    Dear Bear and Abyss,

    That's exactly the same thing that happened to me too. Working in theatre's in a trauma hospital obviously I had quite a few 'special' cases that got to me. One of them was a friend of my dad's that came in when I was on night shift and he needed emergency burr holes for a head injury after falling.

    At the time it didn't seem to effect me, but after another couple of years of personal traumatic cases it all builds up.

    One innocent day I went to visit dad at work and this man and his family were there. They were so grateful, and his wife was crying saying how I had helped to save his life and their family. I was numb. They all hugged me and couldn't stop thanking me.

    I was so touched by their emotion and truely happy to see that the work I did actually helped the way I hoped it did. But at the same time it just felt so weird. I was part of the anaesthetic team, not the surgeon!

    I left there feeling very strange. That night so many memories started to come back of some of the cases I pushed deep down. But the flood gates were open. The next day I was in hospital. That was two and a half years ago.

    It was definitely the start of the deep decent I took into my dark place with PTSD, but thankfully I am well and truely on the path to recovery now. I'm off two of my meds all together and only have one that I take now. That's a HUGE step for me. And I don't self medicate with alcohol anymore either!! 5 months.

    It really is amazing how much we can endure without realising it and then such an innocent event can trigger the worst possible events in our lives.

    I do think that our endurance is our key to our survival though. We have all proven to ourselves (right or wrongly) that we can handle so much, so as long as we all keep that knowledge somewhere in the back of our minds as we struggle with PTSD and depression, then we know we have the inner strength to make it though anything. We've done it so many times before, we can do it know when we REALLY need to.

    Donna

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up