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

Topic: PTSD for Medical and First Responders

  1. Kid_in_denial
    Kid_in_denial avatar
    90 posts
    23 October 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    T.R

    Mark makes some really good points. Yes it all sux, but acceptance is moving forward. Not to say our feelings aren't valid. Sometimes we need to take time to feel the shitty parts so that we can move onto the next part. We need to have these emotions, however we need to know when to reel them in and get on with it. Now that's not saying get over it, just let it out so it doesn't fester, don't dive into things head first either - just one step in front of the other.

    I am still wearing my learners here too. Take every little bit of advice that is helpful and try to apply it. Biggest thing is acceptance and pace. Hope you're alright. Always someone in the world who cares - even if we haven't met them yet.

    S xx

  2. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
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    1313 posts
    25 October 2017 in reply to Kid_in_denial

    T.R. yes it sucks, sucks massive and I completely validate how you are feeling because i have walked in your shoes but as Kid (by the way S, awesome post) says above, we need to find a way to move forward.

    When we can sit there and validate our own feelings and where we are at, accept that depression or anxiety or what ever PTSD symptom is present, then we can make good strides in recovery.

    Not for one second here and i telling you to "toughen up" or the like, it is about changing the thought processes in our minds.

    Hard long road but one that many have traveled on so you can to.

    Mark.

  3. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    25 October 2017 in reply to MarkJT

    *Big big sigh. Jumping around and Shaking it off. Reeling the crazy in.*

    Looking to the future (which is rushing towards me) bracing myself for what it will be.

    try try again..

    i know all the things I'm supposed to be doing. Exercise, eat enough food, sleep, socialise, productive work, finish my uni work.

    ive been so self destructive though. This has to change..

    try try again...? What else is there that I can do to make it work?

  4. Kid_in_denial
    Kid_in_denial avatar
    90 posts
    26 October 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    I don't think there is anything "crazy" about having emotional responses. We all have them. Some just more hightened than others at different times.

    I know it is frustrating. Hell, I am living it too. Might not be the same story as yours but it sure is along the same lines of emotional instability at times. What are we doing if we are not trying? Giving up? We owe it to ourselves to keep trying. We are worth it.

    Are you seeing someone to help you work through these feelings? Your uncertainty reminds me a lot of myself. Things do get better. Different, but better.

    S

  5. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
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    26 October 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    TR, each time you try you are a step closer to success.

    Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

    You cannot get up one day and say i am going to run a marathon today. You train. You start at 5kms, then 8kms, then 12 kms, then 15kms etc until you get to 35kms and you are race ready.

    This is a journey that you are on and each day you take a step towards recovery. Every now and then you take two steps back and that is not a relapse - it is a sign to step back, re-asses and start that forward motion again.

    Be kind to yourself, if something doesn't work, try it again tomorrow - practice practice practice.

    Mark.

  6. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    29 October 2017 in reply to MarkJT
    Kid: I am regularaly seeing a psychologist and gp. This week my psychologist has pushed out our appointments to 5 weeks 😳 it has been 3 weeks for a while now
    Psych’s not sure what to do with me anymore, I’m trying ?matrix reimaging EFT next week.
    GP doesn’t know where to from here either. They’re going to have a chat next week.
    feel like I’ve let them both down.
    Why can’t I just do all the things that im meant to?! Why can’t I just follow the advice I know will make a difference?
    Its as if im unwillling to get better. But I’m sick of being like this. I’m sick of me
    What on earth is wrong!!!
  7. Kid_in_denial
    Kid_in_denial avatar
    90 posts
    29 October 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    T.R,

    I am sorry that things seem to be difficult for you right now. It is really hard to find the right help, the right treatment. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to mental health. Unfortunately we are like crash test dummies.

    Don't ever feel like you have let anyone down. This is not your fault. Surviving is trying. Surviving is hard. Seems that you are attending therapy and doing all the right things, but like many of us you are finding it hard to apply.

    Is there a reason the therapist has pushed things back to 5th weekly? Financial strain for example? One would think they would continue more intensive therapy unless you were getting "better".

    I think you share a lot of the same thoughts and feelings we all do - hence the reason we came here to begin with. There is nothing wrong with how you are feeling. Maybe you need to be a little bit nicer to yourself. It is the biggest challenge, I know! Coming here is progress, even if it doesn't feel that way. I hope tomorrow is better for you. Always here if you want to chat about anything.

    S

  8. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    1 November 2017 in reply to Kid_in_denial

    Psychologist tried stretching out my sessions before, but I didn't feel ready to. This time I just went along with it, I had no energy left for that discussion.
    I think shes mentioned before that maybe the regular visits are just reminding me of the traumas, reminding me i'm sick, reminding me i'm not normal.
    She wants me to make an appointment for image re-matrixing, i keep forgetting to make an appointment. SO useless.
    Kid, I do need to be nicer to myself. It is a big challenge.
    I've signed up to two meditation/mindfulness courses this month. . . Haven't signed back into any of them. so shitty with myself. My life is just one big fat "If only . . ."
    Instead i just drown out the mind with tv.

  9. Kid_in_denial
    Kid_in_denial avatar
    90 posts
    2 November 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    T.R,

    I would have to say that I agree with that reasoning - maybe you are too consumed by everything that you need a break from therapy. I have just done the same thing. A friend of mine is a psychologist and I asked if they would ever recommend stepping back from therapy. The answer was yes, so long as a client wasn't forming a pattern of using psych for crisis management - as this then prevents it from being therapeutic and can become an issue in itself. I felt as though my life was MH. Sounds stupid but I almost feel as though I have to be better to get better. Redirect my thinking.

    Maybe you, like me, have too much on your plate at the moment. It is ok for you to take your mind off with TV if that is something that is helpful to you. The problem is creating a healthier pattern of coping. This is where the baby steps come in. Just add a little bit of something more to each day or even week if that's where you are at. Sit outside in the sun. Take a walk. 10 mins is all you need. Hang out some washing or do a task you think needs doing and then reward yourself with some time out. It is hard, and it's long and slow, but I am starting to get the hang of it and I was where you are not even a month ago. I honestly felt hopeless and useless and never saw myself breaking the cycle. I am far from "better" but I am also seeing little changes and being nicer to myself about those instead of concentrating on what I am not doing.

    Instead of 2 courses and the image re-matrixing, how about try for one at a time and go from there? Make a plan to get there.... don't make plans to do things before or after it. Get someone to take you if you can. Once the plan is made then forget about it until it is time. When the appointment is done - give yourself some breathing space. Then make the next plan. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you don't have too much on your plate then you won't have to be so hard on yourself about what you aren't doing and then give up on everything because it is all too much.

    I don't know what else to say. You are on your way to progress. Doesn't feel like it, but wanting things to change is already a step closer to where you want to be. I initially turned to this thread because I felt pressured to go back to work and I am really not ready to do that. Thinking about it was an added pressure that I didn't need. I'm just getting by day to day, and that is all I need to do right now. When you slow things down life becomes easier.

    S xx

  10. MarkJT
    blueVoices Advisory Group alumni
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    1313 posts
    2 November 2017 in reply to TrailRunner

    TR, I can absolutely tell you that you are not letting anyone down, not your psychs, not your GP and certainly not you.

    As far as forgetting things, I put everything into my phone calendar and have alerts, if it is isn't in there, I don't remember, like yesterday morning...oops. So be it - my memory is cooked. Not ideal but it is what it is.

    It is the easiest thing in the world to tell ourselves to do certain things but it is also equally as hard to accoplish those things. I practice mindfulness a fair bit but then i lapse of it and i don't feel as good. Pretty bloody simply but i cannot do it to what i want to do it.

    Do I bash myself over this, no because I have learnt to be kind to myself, it is not easy but I would love for you to start trying to do that.

    Mark

    2 people found this helpful
  11. Ambo Calltaker
    Ambo Calltaker avatar
    1 posts
    7 November 2017

    Hi Team,

    A 'newby' to this forum, and I feel a little out of place here, as I don't attend the 'scene' as a first responder, but I listen to it. Been doing it for about 9years now in NSW Ambulance, and starting to feel it is catching up with me. The problem I have is layered. It is the accumulation effect of all of the jobs. In addition to the volume of calls that come in, as well as, the way ambulance has restructured; and primarily all non-emergency calls have been diverted to other agencies, such as non emergency patient transport and health direct. Hence, we virtually only get 000 emergency trauma calls, all of the time, all shift, every shift.

    Its different from 'seeing' the trauma, but during the call, I am 'in the scene' as it is unfolding. Some stuff you can't 'un-hear'. We are required to get help to the right location and advise the right actions at the right times, in seconds. Call after call. We can take 200 calls per 12 hr shift. 4shifts a 9-day week for years.

    There is help available EAP and other assets, but many are reluctant to access as they are concerned it will be noted and may affect their promotion chances. I know of a paramedic who accidentally revealed that he accessed EAP only once to a new health insurer after a rough job, the health insurance company earmarked him as a risk, refused to insure him without clearance from a psychiatrist, and put a 200% levy on his premium, it now follows him with every insurer. The risks are real.

    I have a counsellor that helps me, as does my GP. I am concerned I'm burning out though, previous systems, CBT, mindfulness, meds, seem to get overidden by the big jobs that stay with me. I'm trying but its hard.

    Thanks for listening gang, I'll put this out there, see what people think.

    Take care of yourselves.

     

  12. Kid_in_denial
    Kid_in_denial avatar
    90 posts
    7 November 2017 in reply to Ambo Calltaker

    Welcome. You are definitely a first responder. I think your imagination can also take you anywhere, so hearing is just as traumatic as seeing. Also, you would be on high alert and in high demand. Nice of you to join us. Look forward to hearing more.

    S

  13. Guest_128
    Guest_128 avatar
    2143 posts
    7 November 2017 in reply to Ambo Calltaker

    Hey,

    Thankyou for posting,it would of been extremely difficult for you.

    Sounds like you have a heart of gold or at least a soul.

    You know what, I recon it would be even harder for you,cause you can't see and don't often know the full story or what the outcome was.

    The major problem with this whole world is it is getting harder and harder for people to be human.

    So what I am trying to say is, try to eliminate any stress you can.

    Talk to your work friends,

    Don't ever forget how important you are.

    Right, what's ya hobbies?

    Dory

  14. Garry70
    Garry70 avatar
    5 posts
    22 November 2017 in reply to Ambo Calltaker

    Hey, I am with the SES and I did Rescue out on the roads for 15 years so I know what it's like to be on the front line at scenes. I got to see what you were being told over the phone when someone rings 000. What people don't realise is how road trauma affects people like us when we are called. Some jobs you can walk away from with no worries at all but you will always get that one job where you walk away from with a heavy heart and teary eyes.

    I do get people tell me if it's so hard doing what I do, why do it. It takes a special kind of person to do what we do and see. We don't do our jobs for the glory or the praise. We do it cause we care about what we do to save lives.

    2 people found this helpful
  15. Ulysses
    Ulysses  avatar
    106 posts
    15 December 2017 in reply to A Tech
    Hey there. I’m about the same demographics and first responder on the medical side. What amazes me is that I’ve been in the field for nearly twenty years, seen some unbelievable things but only even to one (and a lousy one) debriefing. Never realised I had ptsd until a couple of crying sessions this year.
    1 person found this helpful
  16. SusieBabe63
    SusieBabe63 avatar
    2 posts
    18 December 2017
    Hi 1st time for me, my boyfriend has ptsd in a bad way & he is under alot of pressure as they want to do a tramatic procedure & he is in fear. The docs do not know about me but I suppose im more of a support person. Can he stop this or what r his rights . He is high risk as he was in the army. Can anyone help me with some advice please
  17. Bethie
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    326 posts
    18 December 2017 in reply to SusieBabe63

    Susie

    Talk to him about if he's comfortable. The forces are allways clarified high risk due to training. As his partner you know him better than probably anyone.

    I'm lucky dispite my husband having chronic PTSD the first resonders seek my advice about how to deal with him. Once he's safely at hospital they often make a few minutes to talk to me. I think it helps us all.

    The men and women who face the calls are truly amazing and can also give first hand ideas that may help based on experience.

    It's been over a month now since my son had to make the call for help and by the grace of God I took the police and ambulance ideas. Not to exaggeate but without them I probably would have had him committed.

  18. SusieBabe63
    SusieBabe63 avatar
    2 posts
    18 December 2017 in reply to Bethie
    I thank you so much. He has pushed me away as he has said that it is saver as he doesnt want me to go thru this. Sadly he lost his wife & children, killed & he was honorably discharged. He has said that he hasnt even told his family. I have only know him for 12 months & love him to bits. I just want to help him. He has also said that there are no visitors where he goes. I have since found out that this is not true as he probably doesnt want me to see him like that. What can I do if he doesnt want me back. I love him dearly, & yes I know whats involved. I appreciate any advice what so ever. thank you
  19. Bethie
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    Bethie avatar
    326 posts
    19 December 2017 in reply to SusieBabe63

    Hi Susie

    What i did was tell my parter that I knew he loves me so much he could never hert me and I knew if things where reversed he wouldn' give up on me.

    Depending on what he goes through like nightmares or flashbacks just be careful. Don't be afraid to call for help. I know a few times my partner got flashbacks so bad it was like he was in 2 worlds at once thinking at times I was a friend who recently passed who he served with.

    If you want let him know you've made contact with other women going through the same thing. I'm lucky to a degree I have security clearance due to family so he feels safe talking to me.

    Things can improve. Anti anxety meds are great. Untill August I had no idea that my partner had even seen active service dispite being together 17 years. Luckly now he's back on small doses of the green Byron Bay is known for. Combined with meds it works where everything else has failed that was tried. Having a son on base more often than not at Ennogra I'm hearing stories from families constantly. It's kinda nice to know it's possible to lead a normal life again.

    1 person found this helpful
  20. Beetle
    Beetle avatar
    236 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to A Tech

    Hi A Tech

    Thanks for starting this threat. Its hard to find people to talk about this stuff.

    I am in the same boat as you. I am a first responder and have seen awful sights, people dyeing in my arms. I don't know how many codes I have run, but some you never forget. I still have them in my mind.Peoples faces when they die, often their faces are not peaceful and its more zombie like than anything.

    My coping mechanism was alcohol (a lot) for a while.the hart stuff. Rum. wodka. Got over that. Exercise excessively . got over that too. short period of cutting. got over that too. Never touched the hard stuff either as I see daily what it does to your system. nowadays I am sort of stable with a glass of wine or two. HOWEVER there are exceptions. For example yesterday:

    Yesterday I was the one being coded having a reaction to anaesthetic. Very very scary if you are the one being coded. I felt and still feel very vulnerable today and teary. I feel mu control mechanisms were stripped away during the code and somehow I didn't get them back yet.

    Sorry for going off topic about my own stuff. I do feel first responders are left alone and there is no real counselling or debriefing. Its like " suck it up princess". that's it. ...

    Beetle

    Today I

  21. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    26 January 2018 in reply to Beetle

    Hey Beetle, it’s nice to hear from you, thanks for taking the time to write.

    It certainly is hard to talk to others about what we experience. Im an emergency nurse and they’re a tough group to talk about feelings too.

    Then the non health care peeps in my life just can’t understand what the big deal is; they seem to think it’s pretty trivial and I hear ‘you need to stop torturing yourself and get over it’ one too many times.

    we must remember that what we see is traumatic, it is hard to process and how we react/cope is normal. We do the best we can with the shitty situation we find ourselves in.

    vut we don’t need to do it alone.

    have you reached out to your GP or a Psychologist Beetle? Having a Health care team of our own surround us can really help.

    Hope to hear from you again soon.

    TR

  22. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    26 January 2018 in reply to Beetle

    Hey everyone, I need to talk- and it’s long winded- grab a cup of tea ☕️

    Soon I’ll be moving into a new position that puts me back in a semi clinical position- let’s highlight the irony here. I need a support person to return clinical. They make me the support person for a group of nurses of varying levels of knowledge and experience. say what?

    psych wanted me to try clinical before I put it off for too long, and I get it.. but IRONY

    anyway - pre events I’d rock the position! So I keep thinking, yeah I can do that.

    I haven’t had barely any flashbacks at work lately (in a totally non clinical position)- minus one or two driving to work. So this has helped me keep up the pep talk most of the time ‘of course you can do it’

    then this week I uncover a new trigger - the flipping uniform I was wearing. I was told I need to wear it again. Big thumbs down

    It’s neatly folded in the bottom drawer. I bought a new uniform after the events. I’ve not worked in them since I needed to take time off work.i haven’t even given it a thought as I had never intended on wearing it again.

    so here I am no longer positive I can do anything clinical ever again because I’m floored by a trigger. I’ve been in bed or on the couch all day.. my head is full of cloudy mush. No longer motivated to do anything. I want to sink in to this earth

    How am I supposed to pull it all back together to start this new job?!

    1 person found this helpful
  23. PamelaR
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    2681 posts
    26 January 2018 in reply to TrailRunner

    I'm an imposter on this post.

    I've been reading through it and just want to say you medical and first responders are awesome. Just don't know what to say other than - There is a lot of support here. Let loose if you need to. Because, I can't even begin to imagine how traumatic it must be. I'm terrified at times when I'm on the road that an accident will occur - what would I do, how would I cope. But you guys do this day in day out, whether it's on the road, in hospital or anywhere else. I'm so proud of you all and thank you for being there!!! The closest trauma I've ever come to, is a person having a fatal heart attack in the work place. That triggered my PTSD, but my thoughts and emotions were for his 6 children and wife.

    Hey TrailRunner go easy on yourself. You are AWESOME!! It's going to be the pits. But don't let it define you. If you really do not want to be there once you've gone back - that's easy LEAVE! (I can say that because I don't know your circumstances, e.g. spouse, mortgage, children etc.)

    1 person found this helpful
  24. Beetle
    Beetle avatar
    236 posts
    27 January 2018 in reply to PamelaR

    HI

    Hey Trail runner this sounds terrible. Isn't there a way that you can wear a different uniform? At our work we asked out boss and we are allowed to wear flowery scrubs etc. Would that be easier to avoid this trigger??

    Yeah my support network is only my friends ( very good ones) at the moment. My parents don't even know as yet. Too hard basket to talk to them. SInce it hit the fan my regular GP was on holiday or booked out. No chance for Psych over the xmas time either. I don't even see a endocrinologist, or onc as yet as everything is still in the air. Hope to meet my main GP next week. So I'm a bit lost a the moment. Music, wine and tears it is, plus distracting myself at work ( medium success) and in the garden.

    I'm checking the cytology results daily but its not back as yet. Need answers! Aaargh.

    Beetle

  25. TrailRunner
    TrailRunner avatar
    27 posts
    6 February 2018 in reply to Beetle

    Hey Beetle,

    They've let me wear smart casual for my new position. Up until that decision was made, I felt so helpless. The control of life I gained back were instantly taken away again. And they understood to some degree, that i'll never turn up to work if that uniform is part of the deal. (this will give me away if anyone i know is on here, but ah well... my psychs idea for a new uniform was a wonderwoman scrub shirt! how fun!)

    I've also had more matrix re-imprinting sessions since, seen my psych and my GP all in the one week (just happened that way, they are totally not instantly available either just the same as your GP). And mine always seem to go on holiday every other month lol (feels that way anyway) And I get the irrational panics every time they tell me "what if I have a meltdown and your away, then what do i do?"

    While waiting for your results /GP appt are you able to do a couple nice things for yourself, like taking a couple days off work to reduce your overall stress load a dash? and distract yourself in your garden, get away for a day or two to the beach/bush/favourite place...
    Or take yourself for a walk of an evening or two / dinner at home with a friend (for this one i recommend pizza/pasta more carbs the better). sometimes better to cry with a friend over wine, rather than solo into the wine.. sometimes.

    Hope your cytology results come back really soon x

    TR

  26. Maggie1942
    Maggie1942 avatar
    1 posts
    15 February 2018
    I have found the practice of Transcendental Meditation of profound benefit for an old PTSD injury. Yes it is perhaps, beyond the reach of many people as it costs in excess of $1000 to do the course. However the David Lynch Foundation is interested in forming a group to benefit from this amazing technique. This foundation has made this technique available to thousands all over the world who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Attend the Robert Roth talk at the Arts Centre in March to hear how you might access this road out of pain.
  27. CoffeeSnob
    CoffeeSnob avatar
    20 posts
    4 May 2018
    Hello, I'm new to the forums but really happy to be here. I'm a current serving police member, diagnosed with PTSD and depression in my 18th year. I now work work in a very different role, but within the same organisation. I like to think I'm on the road to recovery and have vowed to keep sharing rather than keeping everything in. I look forward to learning something from all of you and offering you my support too.
    1 person found this helpful
  28. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    6 May 2018 in reply to CoffeeSnob

    Dear CoffeeSnob~

    Welcome, I'm very glad that it is not too late for you. To still be serving and having the wisdom and opportunity to change tracks is a great thing. There does come a time for a fair number when operational duties become too much, and it really is not worth one's life to simply try to keep on going.

    I spent a couple of years early on in the area you are in now and while I did not stay there found there was an awful lot to it. I'm sure you would miss the day to day interaction you had but I'm trying to say your current role has its compensations - plus interest and development.

    I was invalided out many years ago and unlike you still receive regular treatment which I've found has helped. The reason I mentioned it is that provided you (or the Force) can afford it keeping in touch with your therapist can yield dividends long term.

    Please excuse me offering advice, hindsight is a wonderful thing and should be shared:)

    As for coffee - white and two, instant is fine.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  29. CoffeeSnob
    CoffeeSnob avatar
    20 posts
    6 May 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hello Croix,

    Thanks for your message, it's really nice to hear from you. And thanks for sharing a bit about yourself and for the advice too. I'm all-for hearing about what has worked for other people, but seriously can't relate to the instant coffee thing.

    It's great to hear you still have ongoing support - it's something I'm rethinking at the moment.

    Hope to chat soon,

    CoffeeSnob

  30. Recuperandi
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Recuperandi avatar
    8 posts
    9 January 2019
    Hello, great forum and very much needed. I was medically retired from the police force in August after 29 years of service. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety in 2016. It has been a long road of treatment and recovery and I still have challenging times but I am hoping the worst is past. My long term partner is a Paramedic with 21 years experience. I wish all medical and first responders the very best of health, it is a tough job. Self care is so important, something I didn't do. Two and a half years of very intensive treatment, which is ongoing, I feel I am in a better place. Happy to contribute to any conversations about the mental health of medical and first responders. Cheers.
    3 people found this helpful

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