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

Topic: PTSD for Medical and First Responders

  1. Croix
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    21 December 2019 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots

    Thank you for coming back and saying more. I think it pretty impressive that you have kept on going despite only mild medication at night time.

    I used to dread going to bed, between sleeplessness and nightmares I wanted to avoid it. In the last 5 years or so I've been on a more unconventional medication at night time, and that together with relaxation exercises (which did nothing when I learned them years ago) work unless I'm more stressed than usual.

    I'd imagine you are talking about ear damage. Me too. Up until the last couple of hearing aids I've thought them useless, however these work with my phone and are much better than nothing , actually worth wearing!

    Prior to these background noise drowned everything else out. It is isolating not understanding others.

    There is no real answer to families that can't or won't want to understand, except to regard them as being rather limited human beings even if they do wel in their own fields.. Perhaps if there was one that was amenable to education that might be good.

    Actually I'd like to point out my first wife passed away after 25 years when I was in middle age, and I found another, or she found me. We have been together in love for 20+ years, and we married despite my mental condition, lack of job or money, and little in the way of prospects.

    I just mention this so you might realise not all doors are closed.

    Although I've been a university educator for umpteen years it has been honorary, I've become suicidal when trying to perform a normal employment role, so they kindly made special arrangements for me.

    Study is hard, as concentration and memory, plus motivation, are all not good. Perhaps in time you might return again, though I'd think about what you wanted to get out of it. If it is study for study's sake, with identity, social interact and achievement that's fine, as is instead wanting to use it as the basis for a new occupation. Which would you prefer?

    I studied because my partner told me to:) She was sick of me around the house being a difficult and negative presence. It worked out very well.

    Having the same psych for many yeas is like me, I'm dependent on him and if he retires I'm going to find it very hard, a stabilizing influence.

    I guess volunteer work, if you can find responsible work in a friendly environment, has a lot of advantages, and that 's basically what I've been doing, wiht a fancy titl

    Do you know some of the reasons you break down from being relatively stable?


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  2. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    22 December 2019 in reply to Croix

    Hey Croix,

    Thanks again for responding :)

    I agree, my family members are limited but they've not experienced what I have. I try to forgive their ignorance? Strangely in crisis sometimes they look to me. I pretend I'm ok when I'm not. Carry on & deal with me later...?

    For study.. way past making it work for a career. I would study for the sheer joy of it. I'm not sure I'd be useful in a volunteering role. Deaf & ptsd?

    I read though retention isn't great. I've improved a lot. One of my biggest fears was not recovering sufficiently to be able to remember at a functional level. Now it fluctuates depending on m/h.

    I used to have a memory like a steel trap and it served me well. But it came at a cost. Now I cannot forget. pstd?

    Are you able to read and remember well?

    I read at night, for many hours, often into the next day. Sleep patterns are terrible. Though I understand it is essential for m/h to dream & overall g/h. The meds take the edge off anxiety which increases at around 1700 hrs onwards.'re right my ears! I too have some sophisticated h/a. But, as you know they've got their limitations. Still, I'm glad I've got them. I saved for years to get them. Do you have tinnitus too? Mine is loud & constant & pushes me to despair. Are there online forums for this?

    How fortunate for you... to find someone who could see past what others consider perhaps as critical deficits. lol I'm not sure I'd be able to trust or love that way again. I've built big walls. You sound like you're so in love. joy!

    Christmas is difficult. You'd know why I'm sure. I'm apprehensive, I know happens behind the facade. When I hear the sirens wailing. It's confusing. I really do know but I don't know. I long to be part of it but I recoil. I can no longer do it at all. Grief.

    Breaking down is quite easy to do if I'm not vigilant. I feel like I'm balancing on the edge of a precipice & must never look down. That's tiring.

    It's not so much big stuff that causes a break these days because I've insulated myself as much as I can. Avoidance? Rather, it's all the little things, uncertainty, the weight of grief, the knowing & not knowing myself well enough. Flashbacks. Triggers are many and varied & I've still not mastered them. My limitations are a constant disappointment.

    I want to be well so much & I work hard at it. But I fail & then struggle to return. Ptsd is so lonely.

    I swim a lot. What exercise do you do? It helps me keep balance.

    Thanks for your kindness Croix,


  3. Croix
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    22 December 2019 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots
    The internet just ate my ¾ finished reply so I’m starting again, if you get two posts the same you will know why.
    I’m not going got be able to talk about all the matters you raised in just one post, so please bear with me, it’s not rudeness, just space.

    First hearing. I cannot give you the circumstances of my hearing loss, it is too identifying, however it is severe and yes I have tinnitus -though it is only really bad nowadays when I think of it -which of course I am right now:)

    I had a long course of relaxation exercises, went for months, a complete waste of time, as soon as I stepped out of the surgery life resumed just as stressful as before.

    For umpteen years I read rather than tried to go to sleep, I was too frightened too. Lying awake for many hours, or nightmares or simple toxic thoughts made it something to dread.

    More recently I’ve been on an unconventional prescribed medication which has made a break in my chain of thoughts, allowing those despised relaxation techniques to be effective. Sleep is better, nightmares less, toxic thoughts less. Not perfect but nevertheless a world of difference.

    Study took me longer than others, and retention required work-arounds. Nowadays the smartphone rules, plus my memory is much better -time, practice, overall improvement in my condition I guess.

    MarkJT, who was on the Forum and is still a serving member, had a thread on this here

    Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Poor concentration due to PTSD

    As far as I know he is very active in assisting members with PTSD. Sadly I can’t swim or do other similar exercise due to advancing physical ailments.

    I want to talk about volunteering with hearing loss and PTSD. First do not think I’m harsh or do not understand -I very much do. However, I’ve been doing this for many years. I think maybe you are expecting perfection from yourself. I had to learn my limits, be hospitalized or have days off. Not all environments are corporate-first and never mind the workers.

    You may be able to find a niche where when you hear the sirens you know you are contributing.

    Remember, people come to you in times of trouble because you still have it, the you is still inside, just masked by symptoms.

    Out of space - next time

  4. Croix
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    22 December 2019 in reply to Croix

    Forgot to say: becoming proficient with Smiling Mind, a free smartphone app, has helped me a lot, both to reduce background stress daily, but also to combat a real buildup with the mind in a toxic loop in real time.

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  5. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    23 December 2019 in reply to Croix

    Hey Croix,

    Sorry about my last post. I was getting fragmented and as you can see... not a good result. My gp has left and my psydoc is away for three whole weeks. I get a bit jittery when I feel myself starting to freefall.

    I think that's why I came here. I need to connect with people. I don't know of any single person who has ptsd. I feel like the only person in the world who has it.. but I know I'm not!

    I've just finished reading the Martian - usually I'm not into sci-fi and I've no idea why I got it out of the library. Good book, have you read it? He deals with isolation and loneliness only superficially. I know it's fiction & the main plot is about other matters. I think if the author had wanted to he could have explored so much more about those aspects. But then that wouldn't be fun would it?

    Maybe there is a junk heap floating through the ether with lost posts, emails, files, photos and other random data stuff... Perhaps similar to that massive plastic dump that's been growing in the North Pacific Gyre. Someday, someone will find it and well I don't know what will happen then. They say nothing is ever truly deleted lol... I cringe.

    I'm going to come back and respond fully to your post perhaps tomorrow or perhaps the day after Christmas because I'm pretending to be well right now :) for my children.

    You hit upon a fairly big chunk of me when you mentioned perfectionism. My inner critic is quietly killing me. Debatable whether I will ever really shut it down. Do you have a perfectionistic type of personality?

    I'm very interested in downloading the app you recommend.

    I don't know what unconventional... medicine is... but my mind boggles lol... Whatever it is, I'm glad it works. I've been practising relaxation, mindfulness, breathing techniques and progressive muscle tension relief stuff. But mostly I've got to get to exhaustion before my brain gives up. That's not healthy because an exhausted mind doesn't rest well.

    Anyway, for now I hope you and yours have a lovely christmas.

    Again, thanks for your kindness Croix.

  6. Croix
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    24 December 2019 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    "Everything could change
    Cause there's a silver lining on the way

    Comes from "No Pressure" by Little Boots (which actually mentions pressure over a dozen times:)

    Of courser there is pressure, and that sets things off, you GP leaving and psych being away is just one. Perfectionism (yes I'm guilty of that too) is another, though I've come to realise for non critical matters it is actually harmful. I still believe those words though, I'm in the silver lining as I've been pointing out

    The meds, which I'm afraid specific mention of is prohibited here in the Forum, make all those relaxation techniques -for me- effective a lot of the time. I stress that is for me, everyone is different. All I can suggest is when you get another GP you consult in depth about the matter.

    I read books like the Martian, fantasy, science fantasy, science fiction as well as biographies and many others. The only rule is a happy ending -a failing of mine developed to combat too much real life, can't handle it.

    As for a cosmic bit-bucket, with all those emails, picture's and the rest. It would be so gigantic a muddle, like a earth-wide ball of string, nobody could unravel it.

    Google Smiling Mind and you will be able to download it, also from the App Store if you use an iPhone. You can switch off hte horrible background music. The constant reminders compensate for my concentration.

    You said " I'm not sure I'd be able to trust or love that way again. I've built big walls"


    You love your kids? If so that means everything pre-police is still inside you. The sort of trust you can build is a two-person job, not just you. There are people out there who can do their half (I found two). Not everyone covers up defects and lies, some could trust you instead.

    You are not covering up and pretending for your kids, more like exposing the vulnerable inside. It gets better. If it is not too personal/revealing may I ask about your kids?

    There is no need to worry abut responding to everything I say, and no time scale involved. You are welcome anytime, long post or short, troubled or contemplative


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  7. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    9 January 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hello Croix,

    It's been a week or so since I last visited here.

    I got over-tired and I got a flu like virus. Just starting to feel a little better. My immune system isn't what it used to be.

    My children are all grown up and very independent, living their own lives and I think, loving life. They both live a long way from me. I see them a couple of times a year... maybe. Sometimes not, depends what they're doing. Obviously there is a fair amount of expense with visiting & they must work too. We keep in touch via text, email & phone calls. They're ok. What did you want to know?

    My children and wider family/friends? are not aware or perhaps don't want to be aware of ptsd or my condition. They don't want to talk about any of that or how I'm getting along.

    Leonard Cohen - Anthem "There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in"

    I read widely. It's my late night comfort. I must read or I get too anxious. I'm reading 'Why do we sleep' Matthew Walker whose a Neuroscientist. It's all about sleep, dreams etc. Fascinating book - I'd recommend it - to anyone.

    And, "The Cuckoo's Calling" Robert Galbraith a pseudonym for J.K.Rowling. It's ok so far it's a whodunit?

    I do believe you are a bit of a romantic Croix. Not all of us are cut out for relationships lol!

    I think my psydoc comes back next week. My gp is away till mid Feb. I want to talk to them about meds..again.

    All of these emergency vehicles around atm are doing my head in.

    I was finally given a h/dog a few months ago. He was wonderful. He got sick & had to be ret. I've been waiting to hear from them about what will happen now. I think I go back to the bottom of the list again. 2+ more years of waiting? I've been researching getting my own dog/training/PAT etc. I wanted a ptsd dog but the insurer laughed at that. My gp said a h/dog would be better & probably serve both purposes? Do you know anything about dogs?

    I'm facing down another year. I feel miserable really.

    Take care Croix, hope your NY is shaping up nicely.

  8. Croix
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    10 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots

    I'm pleased to hear from you (and sorry you have not been well). There is never any need to hurry to reply to me, Real Life ™ is there too and has its greater demands.

    I asked about your kids to see if they could be allies, it sounds impractical, pity. (Then again maybe I misjudge -pardon me if I do). Allies, not being alone, care - have all been part of my improvement (i don't say recovery as I don't like the word.) Long term competent psych and meds too. Plus luck.

    Dunno if all are cut out for relationships, With some might be genuine, others no opportunity - or an inability to get close (my problem when PTSD hit)

    I guess I am a romantic, that's probably why I joined the force

    I'll swap you a song in return, though it is not a hopeful one like your quote -which I like, as I do Mr Cohen

    "God's away on business", Tom Waits. Amusing, some truth, almost fun in the YouTube video.

    Your reading is wide for late at night, . I like the sound of one though and have just reserved "The Cuckoo's Calling" on-line to pick up from my local library (a great facility)

    "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman is one I've recently enjoyed

    Dogs? Had many, and cats. Even took some to puppy training classes, ended up with the best trained owners in the district. Zeppelin Dog who has been replaced by Foxy Dog, who looks normal except the vertical hold, has been stretched.

    Nasty Cat and Sumo Cat. You can read how Sumo got his name in my thread :

    Page 1, post of 31 January

    Forums / Staying well / Store Your Happy Memories Here:

    As you can see, overrun with animals, which does not include the possum-in-residence in my workshop roof.

    They make a building a home, and while not always suitable to accompany me to other places provide affection and character -and responsibilities.

    Formally trained dogs? No, no idea. I'm very sad to hear about your dog, it is heart-wrenching when that happens.

    A new year is just a date, nothing special and no it does not imply a pre-measured number of days of marginal life. It takes only one event to change matters, can be in you, can be outside. Going back to study did it for me. For you - something entirely different I'd expect.

    Talking to your psych or doc about meds sounds an excellent idea, I'd strongly recommend they look at things with an open mind. My last few years have changed a great deal due to finding a prescription that suited. The usual caveat, everyone may react differently to meds.


  9. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    14 January 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hey Croix,

    Hope your NY is getting off to good start.

    I'm running headlong into some anniversaries right now. Bad ones. They sort of started just before christmas but were things I didn't know were happening till just after really.

    I've been asked to write down a list of my anniversaries for this counsellor I see. I cannot do it. I feel like I'm pulling them from where I put them all away, in the dark place, into the real world by doing that. Like once I've written them down they will be out in front of me again and making me really sick or sicker.

    I've tried the 'talk' therapy bit with explaining what sort of happened with a few of them. I didn't feel that they were resolved, is that even a word for ptsd?? Anyway I've told her I cannot do it. She's insisting I do. I've reached a point where I don't even know why I go to see her anymore. I'm going to quit I think.

    There are no answers are there Croix? I mean no cure... just a cycle through from really bad to not so bad and then away we go again?

    I'm so afraid that this is my life forever now. I mean I think I've always been afraid that this was it but now for some unknown reason it's slapping me right in the face at.

    I'm trying to keep to a routine - do my exercise, sleep, eat and not go down the rabbit hole. I'm getting a little bit unstable right now, sleep is waaay off kilter & that doesn't do me well.

    I've spoken to my psydoc who has told me to stick to the things that keep me afloat. He's not interested in trialling me on any meds because he reckons they'll screw me up even more. I must admit we've been down that track, trying different things for many years and the disappointment + side effects isn't worth it, I know. But I'm sad I don't have anything or anyone to yank me back to safety.

    No my kids are far better off without me. And they're too busy being happy & healthy to dive into my life. I think they have the best of intentions but like anyone who's not experienced this stuff, they're not able to relate. I don't want them to worry and there really isn't anything they can do to help.

    Thanks Croix,

    Take care,


  10. Croix
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    14 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    I can understand everything you have said but-

    That talk therapy with me is not about the incidents which put me where I was, it is about everyday events, people and feelings. It was not digging for or examining facts

    If your counselor insists then maybe it's time for a serious discussion, trying to force you is a bad miscalculation. You do not need forcing, matters will unearth in time anyway. Already you know around Christmas is a bad time, that's a big start. Maybe she is not the right professional for you. As I said I'd suggest talking it over. You are in charge and by now know your limits.

    I've said thanks but no thanks in the past.

    As for a cure, I guess I can say I'm in a very much better place. No, not symptom free, still susceptible to triggers, still some areas I avoid. But everything is a lot more muted, somewhat less frequent, and my coping skills are a lot more effective now. Plus I married while the whole box of dice was very much present, plus no job

    So I would have to say there is as much chance your life will take the path mine has, compared to your idea of staying the same. I suspect you -like me - underestimate yourself

    Yes you have limitations, ones you did not have before, you also have experience plus all the strenght you had before. How many times did you have to decide priorities, quieten people down, decide to arrest, all the rest... Heavy duty stuff and it is still inside both of us

    One of the things that has helped me is using that experience, I'm using it now. I'm not suggesting here is the right place for you, but there will be multiple some-wheres that use your strengths and experience..

    I can understand your lack of faith in meds, and up until I now would have agreed wiht you 100% on the psychiatric side. Some have been effective wiht the physical symptoms. Now I'm lucky, one that is more than a waste of time or a bundle of down-sides.. We are all different. Maybe you have tried it, though I'd be surprised.

    Drag you back? Well no if you do not have anyone living with you that is hard, though even an untrained pet could maybe help. As I mentioned I use Smiling Mind a fair bit

    Irrespective of their reactions your kids are not better off without you, if they were to worry worry, so be it. It is part of family. As for relating, my wife does not know what is in my head, but though trial and error can help. Just a presence is a comfort

    My hard lesson was not to alienate through anger and resentment


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  11. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hey Croix,

    It's just going on 0200 but I cannot sleep. Thanks for responding to me..again. You're an interesting person. I find you interesting. Don't take this the wrong way but it's because you're former MOPF and now have ptsd and are retired out. Those three things are something never found in another living sole. Have you? Do you know of lots like you?

    Anyway today I got totally fed up with myself being at home alone. So drove many km's to stay with my sister. She's got three terrifying kids - I mean they're great but omg I'm glad they're not mine. She's so calm in the face of such chaos it's very strange.

    She knows I've got ptsd but she never talks about it. But, I still feel like she understands a little bit more than others. She has very high expectations of me and that helps. I get to look after the kids and do things with her and them. And curiously, they like me, even though I'm the grumpy Aunt whom they are constantly challenging. But that's kids I guess.

    I've been doing a lot of research online re service dog training particularly h/d. I'm at the stage where I am going to go to a free seminar by a organisation that does the full dog training thing and then if I completed that ok - about a year, I would select an elective in the area I want to specialise. Get a dog and train it up for myself rather than wait for the organisation to do it all for me. You know, take back some control - that kind of thing.

    So, I was pacing myself to go do that the next few nights and almost as soon as I got to my sisters today I got a msg that a h/dog has become available and I had to make a decision if I wanted it. Hell Yes!!

    But fate is a fickle creature don't you think Croix?

    So, I'm still going to do the course. It might be what I need to give me some purpose, direction etc. My sister is a vet & she reckons I'm ok with dogs. I do like them a lot. Mostly I like the fact that they're honest. Dogs and horses are my thing. Horses are a bit more work to look after in the sense that they're needs are big & really $ Dogs - well, I can afford one and love and train many. Maybe even help other humans do the same?

    I dunno.. but I've got to do something. So I'm going to explore this more & at least see where it takes me.

    Tomorrow I'm going with the kids to some sort of museum. Give me strength. Then to the pics & food.

    Hopefully by the time tomorrow night comes I will be able to sleep.

    Thanks Croix - take care,


  12. Croix
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    15 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    Thank you for that last post, not becsue you find me interesting (bit like a weird specimen in a jar perhaps) but becuse it was such a positive and honest post. It gives ME encouragement and hope.

    Like you I'm writing after 12.

    Now I'm very pleased you have the opportunity to get a h/dog, it is indeed what you need.

    However I am delighted you are going to do the course. I'd expect it will give you control, as you say, plus occupation, accomplishment, challenge and the knowledge that you are contributing to society. I did similar.

    I find it a familiar thing, my wife is step-grandmother to my grandson, and is much stricter than his parents. She'll take him to the movies or bike ride or whatever and stands no nonsense, no "gimme's" at the candy bar or similar. Just generally please and thank you and may I are all enforced, yet he is constantly pleading to see more of her.

    I think a consistent, if a trifle stern approach together with fun (my wife will try to understand the latest computer game in which my grandson is a maestro) and animals show love, attention and concern. The kid blossoms

    Sounds like your sister's kids react the same way

    Horses humph. Used to exercise race horses in my youth. They were all convinced a piece of paper blowing along the ground was a horse eating monster in disguise, and were experts at picking up the one nail in a 10 acre paddock -hence wealthy vets. Plus if they stood on your foot it hurt!

    I know a couple of people who have PTSD, depression and anxiety. One has remained in a state police force, recovered to the extent of being back in, remaining sworn and on HQ duties (I'm green with jealousy, in my day you were OUT!)

    The other is not good, however his previos occupation has an awful lot to do with that, and I do not have permission to go into detail about that person

    I'm very well aware being a female in a force is a very hard row to hoe, I would not be surprised if that played a part in your condition

    Having high expectations of you (like you have) and knowing of your condition but not speaking that much about it sounds like a recipe that is good for you in this instance. Actually I found my wife understanding was not necessary. The times I did tell her what was in my head greatly disturbed her so I mostly shut up

    I would say how I felt (obvious anyway) without giving details. It worked well. My wife learned by trial and error if I needed solitude, comfort, or normality.

    No space left


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  13. Old Kiwi
    Old Kiwi avatar
    10 posts
    18 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Hi, I’m new to this forum and on reading though some comments i came apron your post. It was very eye opening for me because you used so many words and phrases that could have come straight from me. I also very much appreciate the responses from Croix’s apparently experienced perspective

    I have lived with PTSD for 7 years now as a result of my occupation, I worked as a care giver in the out of home residential care system so I consider myself to have been a second responder rather than a primary one, however the accumulated and vicarious trauma that have left me damaged you may have empathy with?

    I have had a crappy “festive season”, feeling so disconnected, like you I live alone, my family now grown . It’s hard to keep on fighting this , I’m so sick of the frantic dog paddling trying to keep from drowning in the solitude and darkness

    Old Kiwi

  14. Croix
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    19 January 2020 in reply to Old Kiwi

    Dear Old Kiwi (with a friendly wave to Littleboots)~

    I've posted to you in your own thread:

    Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Battling


  15. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    21 January 2020 in reply to Old Kiwi

    Hello Old Kiwi,

    Thank you for responding to my post. It's good to meet someone who also understands the feelings that we are not supposed to let out into the wider world.

    I think it's amazing that so many of us are to a great extent used as cannon fodder whilst the rest of society moves on and doesn't appreciate what may be happening under their noses. But perhaps it's always been that way and I'm pissed off because I'm not able to do exactly that anymore.

    I can only imagine the drama and issues you have experienced and witnessed in your occupation. That's a very full on job with loads of responsibility and so many random things happening. I couldn't have done that.

    Oh.. yes Old Kiwi.. I have empathy for you and the damage you have no doubt suffered. Without question when people are distressed, stressed & suffering and you're the one having to keep some sort of order it's very hard. It's sure to spill over into your psyche and there's the accumulation of experiences too.

    We have many things in common Old Kiwi. Not so sure if that's good but it's still nice to meet you.

    A couple of years ago I read a book about living alone. I do like to call it living with myself now. It's a solitary life for sure but I think I've gone too far to live with anyone again. I've been on my own for a long time now. I might be completely spoilt and as they say, 'set in my way'.

    I'm not sure but if there is anyone around me that has ptsd they do a damn good job at hiding it too. It's such a private thing. Well it is for me so I'd probably not be drawn to someone who yells it from the rooftops anyway.

    The frantic dog paddling is exhausting and seems futile. But honestly if it keeps you afloat for a while then that's what you do. That's what I do too.

    I am incredibly lonely, but also very anxious around people. It's as if I no longer belong at all. I've lost the means to communicate normally now? I know I can write and like I told Croix I'm very much into dogs and horses but they're not humans. I wonder if I will ever re-enter the real world.

    So again, absolutely I can grasp & understand what seven years of ptsd will do to your soul Old Kiwi, I'm so sorry you are feeling down. I guess with the festive season, well it's over so that's a good thing imo.

    Take care & talk again soon,


  16. Old Kiwi
    Old Kiwi avatar
    10 posts
    22 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Hi Littleboots

    Thank you for responding, I’m pleased to meet you. It is good to connect with someone that understands and has some insight both for where I am, and the journey that bought me here. I very much empathise with the cannon fodder feeling, I wonder if its because I based myself so much about prioritising others needs and feelings that its so hard to not go what the heck when its your needs and feelings left in space?

    I had a profound moment when a “throwaway” response to me whilst in my latest uproar was...” I don’t know what you want me to contribute”, and I realised that I have NEVER asked myself , or anybody really, what I can contribute, I have just always assumed that I can always contribute something and never waited to be asked. The comment really made me question my lifetimes values and ethics, what can I say? And it came from a family member. However, although I cant watch what is happening around us with the bushfires , it has been awe inspiring to realise that there are so many people who just put their hands up when needed. I/we are not alone in wanting to care for others and it STILL is the person that I want to be. But Littleboots, This year, 2020, I’m going to learn how to apply that care to ME!

    Ive found helping hands with you, and some responses from Croix who you talk with, He seems a wise soul. It has helped me to talk with you both and know that you know!!!

    I’m feeling a bit more hopeful today, I saw a new GP yesterday, I didn’t have to give him a reference of terms!!!! He spoke my language, knows and acknowledges the circumstances of my journey and seems to really know PTSD. Please let it be !

    I’m very much hearing you about the loneliness, I have felt so isolated and its always magnified over the “festive season” when there is so much pressure for connection. Like you I retreat into solitude when I’m anxious. It sounds like you live in the country? I grew up on a farm so I appreciate your connection with animals, I have just started to explore assistance/therapy dogs but I’m a bit hesitant that I wont be consistent enough for a dog. Thoughts? I have a cat but dogs need so much more.

    Im starting to realise that there is a line between sanctuary and sole confinement. They use sole confinement to break people, am I contributing by always retreating? Sanctuaries have doors with keys, I need to start opening doors! And I have begun that here , with you.


    Old Kiwi



    1 person found this helpful
  17. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    22 January 2020 in reply to Old Kiwi

    Hello Old Kiwi,

    I'm so pleased to hear you say that this year is going to see you start delving into self-care. It's quite the revelation to realise that we forgot ourselves. Isn't it?

    I recall a psychdoc telling me early into my diagnosis "you have to learn to stop & do nothing for a while" . Well I was aghast at that notion! Me? Stop? Do nothing?

    He laughed & then we played cat & mouse for a long time with the do nothing notion. I resolutely refused, he continued to insist, eventually I was forced to face it or more accurately, myself.

    What he meant was learn to look after yourself first. How could I have forgotten to do that? Why did I have to break so badly to learn that? I must be quite thick!

    Yes I live in the country. The city has too many memories. I can visit, but always confine myself. No triggers & don't stress myself with places that still harbour ghosts.

    Dogs are strange creatures. Btw cats like me too but I don't like them as much back! Dogs do require input however amazingly they give back so much more than they take.

    I'm finding I need a dog right now and into the future. I'm being forced to crack open the door to let one in and then slamming it shut!

    If you are indeed solitary, a dog would be ideal. They love doing the one on one though they will draw you out into the real world too. They're loyal, kind, funny, smart & oh so honest! Everything I like in a person really. Huh?

    I do understand about the self-care concept Old Kiwi. It's hard to do though. I try to make good habits. Exercise, sleep, food, self-talk. But, I'm not good at keeping it up. It seems I like to self-sabotage myself. Though I've worked out some of what is good for me, I don't do it regularly to reap the whole benefit. A dog will help me there too.

    I think I'm discouraged by the fact that none of it will cure me. I struggle with that.

    Sorry I've had a major anniversary & another coming in a few days. It's a bad time of the year for me but the whole year is dotted with stuff too. A thick cloud of depression is closing in on me & as much as I know it's there and resist it descending, it will. ugh!

    Good job on finding a GP whom you can connect with. Keep it going.

    So glad you've come here & I've met you Old Kiwi.

    Come again soon,

    Take care,

    Little Boots

  18. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    22 January 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hey Croix,

    I've had horses stand on my feet and I suspect they bloody knew they were too! They do cost too much these days so when I get the itch, I hire a reasonable one for a day. I've ridden all through the high country. It's on fire right now.

    I've got a few weeks before my h/dog arrives. Got to get ready!

    I'm also envious of all of the strategies that seem to be in place to help traumatised MOPF to stay in the job. For me, I was required to be 'fully operational' to remain. So unfair imo.

    I miss my job so much Croix. Right now I'm listening to multiple sirens wailing and feeling the old rush. My area is still very much under threat.

    Looked right into the course and it was a scam/sham. So I will look into TAFE courses instead. Plus when I get my dog I'll push myself to take her to formal dog things.

    Though btw at the course I did meet this rather handsome guy lol... But alas he was way too young for me. He agreed about the course/fees so there's that. I'll not ever see him again lol so that's bad.

    Being a female in the force presented many, varied challenges yeah you hit the nail there Croix. Whilst I was young, fit and healthy it was a challenge to be constantly challenged I think. Or, it was never really talked about. After many years it became tiring & unnecessary but some never learn. They never helped at all.

    I'm quite angry right now. Or, I oscillate between anger and deep sadness. Perhaps they are actually the same emotion. Unresolved anger simmering inside = depression.

    Both my dr's are away again so trying to manage myself better. I've started swimming again which I've got to admit, my brain kind of likes. Well the part that likes me to exercise at least.

    How do you handle your anger Croix?

    Take care,

    little boots

  19. Emergency services worker female
    Emergency services worker female avatar
    1 posts
    22 January 2020
    This is my first post I don’t even know if I’m doing this correctly. I work in emergency services - I walked out of work this week in tears. I was diagnosed with ptsd recently. And Being in denial about it for a year or 2. I guess I felt relieved I have something to work towards. But right now. Right now I’m so stressed. I have no skillset outside of this. I’ve lost a lot of my friends from the isolation. I’m single and (in my 30’s. Young for a claim, I know. I used to be so happy. Love life, now I feel I have nothing, and going through putting in a claim while not even knowing if I have a future in this same job. I feel hopeless. Will I be employable after this? Will my doctor support me even though my psychologist does. I have no trust in anyone.
    Will I ever be happy again? I know I have work to do for my own growth. And I know I have a great family. But right now I feel alone. Like I’m drowning. A loser. And I’ll end up on the street. I’m barely surviving financially as it is. And I am heart broken. What jobs can you do after being in the public service dealing with life and death. I haven’t even looked at the forms. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I’ve been doing this for nearly 12 years. I’m good at what I do. But I don’t think I can step back into that workplace. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again. People ask me what do I like. I have no idea.
    Anyone who has left from first responders to new completely different jobs after claims - can you please help. Even my boss said when handing me the forms that there’s a stigma. She’s not going to sugarcoat it. So I can’t really sleep right now. I should of kept my mouth shut and tears to myself in my car on breaks and bedroom at home. But I couldn’t anymore.

    Is anyone out there who works as a first responder and going through tough times. Right now? Or has any advice? I’ve been in the job for 12 years straight out of high school pretty much. No other skills. And putting in a claim. I’m scared. I have the forms. I have the diagnosis from my pysch. I haven’t been to the dr yet for my cert of no capacity. My gp has left interstate and I have no idea where he is: my file is at the practice with all my details but I don’t trust anyone anymore Will the new dr support me? Or because I am a new patient will the dr think I’ll be too much paperwork? I don’t know :( I don’t understand the process. My psychologist will report back to them I know that much at least.
    is there a life outside of emergency services? I have no uni degrees. I feel I have nothing. I have posted on a few different forums with no response. Have I made a big mistake. Is there really still that stigma when applying for new jobs. I don’t know what Its like. I have been unwell and unhappy for so long. Even now I have to remember to ‘breathe’

    Any reply would be great.

    1 person found this helpful
  20. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    22 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    Of course I miss the job too, every time I see a cop or cop car. Or when there is something I would have investigated etc etc.. It changes you forever and the best you can do is try and attach less and less importance to those yearnings of grief and loss. Yes it was unfair, dumped if not quickly back to 100%.

    Memory is a wonderful thing , what I see is not the reality, not the double, even triple shifts, not the always on call, not the don't care attitudes, not ... well you know it all as well as I.

    I was guilty of not taking female cops seriously at the start, took me a number of years to realize I was off-base. I also came to see for some there was no choice but to have a more senior as a shield. For others put-downs and constant unwanted attention of every kind. Even simple tasks became walks down thorny paths.

    I built a new life, starting by avoiding all contact with anything police for very many years, even half way real cop shows on TV or the movies. I studied as I expect I've said, then became an educator, which had its own set of problems, now active in Mental Heath. They plus family have overshadowed those yearnings so they are there, but distant and unrealistic.

    Anger was good in some ways, directed at the life and controllers I left behind, made me try harder when I wanted to chuck the books. The hard part was ensuring it was not directed at those that did not deserve it. I guess my concern or love helped me there.

    It helped me give up smoking too.

    You have not lost your discernment, you recognize a polished scam, and revert to tried and true - I'm not surprised.

    I see you have not really lost interest in being with another. At what stage does someone become too young? I guess when things can't be shared, when their life experience omits so much that is familiar to you and attitudes are 100% out of synch. If there is half a chance to get to know someone pounce!

    I remarried despite the works, all the mental health conditions, and not even a job. 21+ years later we are still in love. (My first partner passed away). She has helped enormously. You mention self-sabotage when trying for the best lifestyle, another can help motivate just by being there. I suspect a dog to look after will do much the same, if in a different capacity.

    I still have the anger, mostly under control, still can well up at stupidity or cruelty more than the occasion warrants. That does me no favors.

    I'm out of words, I enjoy talking with you


    1 person found this helpful
  21. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    24 January 2020 in reply to Emergency services worker female

    Hello there Em Serv Work Female,

    I'm sorry you are feeling the way you are atm. But at the same time well done on being so brave to see what is happening with yourself & acknowledging it. That's a big step.

    I had to be dragged kicking, screaming, forced into ill health retirement. Most undignified actually. I'd not recommend that.

    Is there any chance you can shift laterally within your rank to a position that is off the street and relatively stable? I'm not familiar with force policy anymore, essentially one that removes you from further trauma?

    A good GP should be able to refer you to a psychiatrist. A psydoc can prescribe some meds for your symptoms & if he's good, guide/support you through reports/forms & cert's.

    Yes there are plenty of people I knew who voluntarily left the force for a variety of reasons and have gone on to be really happy.

    Tbh I wasn't one of them though. I hung in there too long, watched them go & was broken by the time I left.

    May I suggest that you don't look at what other FR have done to determine what you want to do. This is your life, so your choice & the good news is you do definitely have choices. If you don't know what you want, go talk to some career counsellors at your local university or TAFE. Nothing is off the table at your age.

    Is a return to study an option? Or, take a rest & do a job where somebody else does the thinking. Buy yourself some time to heal?

    FR's have loads of skills, bc many skills makes a FR good at what they do. Don't run yourself down.

    If you've had a gut full you don't have to stay & there's no shame in leaving if that's what you want to do.

    Most of all, right now, take it one day at a time. Get back into a routine. Eating, sleeping & exercise. Your brain will love you for it. I'm not joking. You can start your recovery right now by doing just that. Gently go back to basics. It will definitely help you slow down that racing mind and think more clearly. What you want is out there and is achievable.

    I doubt you've lost all of your friends but remember relationships are a two way deal. If you're tired deal with tiredness first. The stigma that goes with mental health disorders is bad. You may lose some 'friends' but honestly, were they really? If you must stay in a job to stay friends then no.

    Your mental & physical health is more valuable than what they think & the job.

    I'm really glad you've reached out here. Come back, let us know how you are going if you want to.

    Take care,


    1 person found this helpful
  22. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    24 January 2020 in reply to Emergency services worker female

    Dear Emergency services worker female~

    I'd like to join Littleboots in welcoming you here and have to say that Littleboots has got it exactly right, leaving me little to say except that gettng out of a situation that is toxic to you under your own steam is better than being pushed out without any control, which can happen if you leave matters too long.

    12 years as a FR is no mean feat, 30 not young for a claim at all. While years ago there was stigma I honestly believe now matters have turned around. As an ex-policeman with the usual suspects, PTSD, bouts of depression and anxiety, I am normally met with understanding and people I work with are mindful that stress can be to much and are careful as a result.

    I could envisage no other life than being in the police and when it came to an end I thought I had ended too. It was not the case. My life turned in a completely unexpected direction and I became an educator. Like you when I left the force I had no civilian qualifications, but getting those, though slow, was my pathway to a better life. The actual study was good for me giving occupation, identity and achievement as well as interaction with others.

    I'd echo Littleboots advice to get help filling in the forms and dealing with your situation, not trying to go it alone when there is experience out there . It may well be there are other opportunities within your service which might suit.

    Please let us know how you get on


    2 people found this helpful
  23. Old Kiwi
    Old Kiwi avatar
    10 posts
    26 January 2020 in reply to Emergency services worker female

    Hi Em Services worker.

    I am new to this forum, so I was a bit hesitant to reply initially. I am really pleased to see the responses from Croix & Littleboots . I have just met them myself and I know from that they will both understand the specifics of being a FR and some of the situations that have brought you here. I was not a Mopf, I was “injured” in my role as a residential out of home care worker, juveniles. I used to pick them up from you guys and take them home. But whatever, however, it is about the accumulated and vicarious trauma, one incident at a time, until we are where we are. I so glad that you have found this forum at the beginning of your journey, I have lived with PTSD for 7 years and only linked up last week. It has helped me so much to find understanding and acknowledgement here and to feel less alone. Please keep on coming back here, I’m sure it will help you too.I have trust there is comfort for you here too.

    Im really hopeful that your fears re stigma in your occupation are unfounded. I’m finding that awareness of, and attitudes to mental health are changing. And even if your time there IS done, it not the end. Irrespective of your particular occupation, there are return to work and retraining opportunities within Workcover. You have acquired many skills in your time as a member, skills that are valuable and will be transferable to other occupations.

    But now, take a deep breath. It’s time to put your needs first. I know that’s not how you think, you always look after others first. You need to do that for you. Think of all the kind words of encouragement, of comfort and solace that you have given to others, positive words in spite of the worst circumstances. Now say them to yourself.
    You are a good person, you already know how to give. You’ve spent years doing it. Now give that attention and care to yourself for a bit. You deserve it. You matter.

    Take care.

    Old Kiwi.

    2 people found this helpful
  24. Old Kiwi
    Old Kiwi avatar
    10 posts
    27 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Hi Littleboots

    Ive just been reading your response to Em Services Worker,I have responded too.

    The advice you gave in response to that was pretty on point. It Gave me reason to take a breath and assess. Is it coincidental that we both feel a need to reach out? Or are our instincts still very much intact? I reckon it’s both of these. We both, it seems, have the desire/need to help others. Then why do I have difficulty in applying all of the good advice apparently within me to myself?

    Anyway, I’m taking it as a good thing that at this moment, in my head, it’s NOT all about my shit. It’s a bit perverse thought that I only realise that because today, thankfully, I can stand apart from myself and look back at the depths.
    the trick is in maintaining that feeling, it’s very elusive isn’t it.

    Heres hoping you feel strong today too.

    Old Kiwi

  25. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    9 February 2020 in reply to Old Kiwi

    Hey Old Kiwi,

    I completely agree with your outlook and I know that applying the same amount of self-discipline to my own life is really very difficult. It's always easier to see what others should do. Yuk!

    I seem to do a lot of inner self-talk to ease my way through life. I'm not sure if others do this too. I will see something that is making me uncomfortable or I just don't want to be around and I'll 'direct' myself away etc.

    I found out recently that some people don't have that inner narrative of thinking. I'm not sure I completely understand because if I didn't 'hear' myself think, would I think? Blah!?

    Helping others? I spent a lot of time training & doing just that. It must be my personality or something because I feel connected to the rest of humanity when I do. However, unfortunately I cannot do that anymore. No point pretending.

    Actually I'm having a difficult time helping myself, hence my presence here? So I am surely quite arrogant to imagine I can help anyone else.

    My ptsd is so cyclic and I want to calm it down. I need to learn to do that desperately. I'm being rolled by anniversaires atm. Hanging on but so sad too.

    I think I'm great at avoidance but I've found that it resolves nothing in the end.

    Being really busy or zoned out watching Ytube, tv, NF somebody else's life is also a trap for me. Entertaining but not helpful unless I'm using what I see to do something. Like change a washer on a tap lol...

    I hope you are feeling better Old Kiwi. I looked at the date today, I mean really looked at it and already one month has gone in this year. I'm apt to look at the speed of time in my life, and see it gathering pace. So no time to waste in one way but need to apply the brakes inside of my head. What a problem.

    Take care and be gentle to with yourself Old Kiwi,


  26. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    9 February 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hello Croix,

    So much to respond to from your last post to me, thank you for responding. And I too am constantly looking at the count.

    I'm glad you evolved away from being one of the mob when it came to fem mopf. I'll say no more bc that type of behaviour affected me deeply. Still does seep back as part of it all.

    Memory is a wonderful thing though I agree it can be a problem when the less favourable aspects of the job are forgotten. Alternatively jump to bite way beyond. Painful memories but some hilarious ones too.

    The horrendous hours and trying to raise kids created this time and place where I completely forgot about me.

    When there was no job anymore there was a gaping hole that was excruciatingly painful. A wound that never has healed. Has it healed for you? I know you have studied and pushed yourself onwards.

    I too rejected/pushed away everything related and incredibly, people I had known for decades scampered away too. That left me so crippled. How could they not understand? How could they be so ignorant of my loss?

    I think I put way too much emphasis on the job but it and those responsible also demanded it too. I should have been smarter and known better.

    Oh well, it seems like these few crumbs that are left must be counted carefully.

    I'm on the eve of receiving my new h/dog with trainer. Though it is a happy event on the one hand, it's extremely anxiety provoking on the other. An intensive week of training & bonding with this dog under supervision of the trainer.

    Atm I cannot find sleep before 0400 hrs so sleep deprivation ugh. The trainer knows I have ptsd but from prior experience, they don't know anything about it & that's difficult tbh.

    I've had yet another hearing test & it's still deteriorating. I'm being referred to cochlear.

    In respect of pouncing on interested parties for joy - I'm still smiling - you're a funny man. I'm sure 'he' would have been too young and now I'll never really know! But I'll heed your advice should it happen again & let you know how it turns out lol.

    I've got to finish ripping this house into shape Croix & I'm almost out on the count too.

    I'll see if I cannot harness some of this anxious, anger, adrenalin & achieve something better for today.

    How did the book, Cuckoo go? I'm presently reading the next in the series. Did you get why she named it thus?

    Take care,


  27. Croix
    Community Champion
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    • 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
    23 February 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    I've been away for a couple of weeks, which is why I've not replied. Sometimes it can be easy to read silence as more than it is, that's why I change my avatar to "back soon".

    Important things first, I'm 7th on the queue of Cookoo at my library, so am still waiting, I guess you picked a popular series. If I see it second-hand at a reasonable price (which admittedly is modest) I'll buy it.

    We have both talked about the huge hole leaving the job causes. I eventually came to the conclusion I'd never be a civilian, the job changes one too much, and am now a "retired policeman", even managed to get an official ID card with 'retired' stamped on it. Not for use, just for me. So basically even though seeing motf in action hurts it is manageable and I have a place in the scheme of things.

    Very few are going to understand, a fact of life. This does make one feel isolated however it only takes one to care and accommodate (even without exact understanding) and things do turn around, that's why I say pounce, cougars, if you will pardon the expression, are well known for it :) and often end up in surprisingly equal and balanced relationships. Just talking with you (and reading your posts to others) feel you have a lot of wisdom and practicality to offer, certainly more than crumbs.

    I've always had dogs and they have turned a house into a home. As I've gotten older and less strong they have become smaller, used to have shepards, now down to kelpi. Sad to say this latest one chases cats so the house has animal apartheid. Dog training can be a challenge for all concerned.

    What ideas do you have to stop those 4am stints?


    1 person found this helpful
  28. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    10 April 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hello Croix,

    Welcome back. I noticed your sign so wasn't too worried. But I did miss you. It's always the little things!

    I have been going through a rough patch & I came here a few times to read other stuff.

    So much has changed & it seems overnight. I'm at high risk re covid19 thanks to some meds I've taken. So been stuck at home completely & alone for over four weeks now. Dr is concerned.

    It seems like time goes so slow & then it snaps like a rubber band.

    My dog is fantastic in almost every way. She's beautiful, smart & helpful. I don't know what Id be like right now without her. I do, I'd be much worse. So thank you Universe & whomever! Provided just in time for this calamity befallen all of us.

    But people company I severely lack. I feel like an unwilling participant in Black Mirror (netflix) Like it's a nightmare but I cannot wake. Lost a relative already after a mighty battle. It's almost baffling & unbelievable. But it's true.

    Feeling so useless. The practical part of me wants to help but I'm a liability in almost every way. So stay out of the way is the mantra.

    Isolation so sucks. Not that I saw many people before. Perhaps less now? Taught my mother how to do video so I chat to her every day. She's still grieving the loss of my father.

    Mums ok but requires a lot of support (emotional) She cannot comprehend.

    It's not the same as having someone with like interests, age & even history. Too late now! Plague has befallen. lol...

    My days as a cougar are long gone btw. I don't think they ever arrived really. The no of eligible in the pool has evaporated. I've watched people my own age flounder around trying desperately to find their ilk. Failure is catastrophic. Protect myself by not trying? But I still watch on & admire the young (er) fall about in drama. lol

    I walk at night now with doggo. It's calm, quiet & not so many people out 'exercising'.

    Got accepted by the ndis so phone meeting coming up soon. I don't know what to think. I want to go down to the pool & dive in & work this body cos I'm all stressed & seized up. ugh..

    I hope you & yours are keeping well Croix. I guess you're staying put too? Hope easter bunny visits & you know cats are good at layin down the law with cheeky dogs? Or, has it gone to far lol..

    I'll write again soon. Take care,


  29. Croix
    Community Champion
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    • 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
    10 April 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots`

    It's lovely to hear from you (and Doggo), a fair bit has been happening since we last spoke. And yes, we are both in hi risk groups, so going out is not on unless essential. Even walking the dog has become a problem.

    It sounds like you have had a win wiht NDIS, that is unfortunately often a rare event, do you have a secret to share:)

    So apart from Netflix, are you reading anything now? Also I'm wondering what your energy levels are like?

    Talking daily to your mum by video is one of those helping things you thought you were incapable of. The fact it is someone close makes no difference. Have you considered ringing up a few voluntary organizations who farm out volunteers, explain your situation and see waht happens?

    I'm sure 99% of answers will be inappropriate, but there may be something. I find writing here gives me another world (and a time to think of others' troubles) which does me good. That does not mean I'm suggesting you go the same way

    The world has many unexpected twists, you could end up an adviser for one of those firms that make 3-D virtual worlds for security training, dunno, just a passing thought. Then again on-line gaming itself is some people's answer.

    While I don't have any (sensible) answers I will point out I was middle aged when I remarried, and that was to someone who had been through something like I had (not police). As I've mentioned before 21+ years and still all fine - very fine.

    So its easy to assume life will always be more of the same, it won't.

    You were talking about ripping your house into shape, I'm note sure what you meant.

    With my menagerie Foxy dog cannot be trusted and Sumo Cat too timorous, if you want to know why have a read here:

    My internet connection is starting to fail (it did the same thing last night) so I'll stop -abruptly- now



  30. Rumples
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    Rumples avatar
    95 posts
    16 April 2020 in reply to A Tech

    Hi A Tech,

    I feel your pain my friend. I'm an ex cop and seen so many ER nurses covered in gore whilst trying to keep patients alive. You're right when you say that most people don't understand. It's not their fault, nor ours. We just happen to be the front line.

    I'm out the other side, intact and whole. A lot of us didn't make it this far.

    Hope things are improving for you. Here to chat if you want to talk shop


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