Discover the enigmatic origins of a haunting trauma response in “I Don’t Know What Incident Causes My Trauma Response.” Unravel the mystery and delve into the depths of emotional healing in this compelling tale.
“I don’t know what incident causes my trauma response.” A statement I made to my therapist time and time again. I mean, 15 years of death and almost 20 years of violence, how would one know? For me, PTSD was cumulative, like carbon monoxide, I didn’t see it coming. I wish I had.
While this is true, I must admit that it’s not entirely truthful. As the years in the fire service progressed, I could tell something was going on – taking hold of me like a demon looking for a host. But I hadn’t a clue what was going on. I thought my bunker gear did more than protect me from the heat and flames, I thought it made me impervious to trauma’s effects.
We are, after all, tough and willing to protect our communities without hesitation and regardless of the odds. The goal was to always make it home and do so safely.
Thankfully, I made it home safely with minimal damage to me physically. But mentally? I have never left the fire scenes that haunted me the most. Now, I am paying the price for not paying attention to my mental wellbeing.
It’s going on six years now since I set foot in my workplace. Well, what used to be my job, alongside being a volunteer firefighter, I worked in a long-term care facility for people with mental illness, mental disability, and those with aggressive behaviors.
Being a firefighter and a rehabilitation worker as I was called, turned out to be a life-threatening cocktail of the most miserable of human experiences. Looking back on it now, I was never equipped to handle such an onslaught of human suffrage, no matter how hard I trained and prepared, it was taking me apart. My friends, denial of such facts can be deadly. Trust me on that.
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Maybe it was my “be a man complex,” or my training as an addiction’s counsellor, which fooled me into thinking I was ok, that what I was experiencing was nothing more than the average, everyday stress of adulting. Heck, maybe it was both?
Whatever the case, I severely underestimated my resilience. A miscalculation that I hope none of you ever make. But in case you have or do, let me tell you that life is far from over. Dig into your healing journey and do what you need to – whatever it takes. There is life after being disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a lot of work, worth it, but it’s no cakewalk.
But it’s more than that. It’s acceptance of the hand you’ve been dealt. So, now your trauma has derailed your life – now what?
I’ll tell you what. You live and you keep on living until you find your new passion and a new purpose. The trick here is – you have to keep trying. Initially, you will have to make it your passion to find your purpose. Trust this old, tired veteran, you will find it if you put as much strength into saving yourself as you did in your attempts to save others.
You’d never give up on them, so never give up on yourself. You deserve to live because you didn’t fail, you fought the odds for others and did so with conviction. Don’t you think you deserve the same?
“Acceptance of your mental illness and how it changed your life is liberating and a fundamentally important first step to healing.”Jonathan Arenburg – Author of the book, The Road To Mental Wellness
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