Unsurmountable odds.

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of going head to head with the heat of the fire ground. And looking back on those days, I count my blessings that I came home alive. Furthermore, I am proud of my contribution to the department and to my community. It has provided me so many valuable learning experiences that no amount of money could buy.

With all that aside, there are those out there who think that putting yourself in harm’s way is heroic; truthfully, most firefighters will tell you that they don’t see themselves as Heroes. I myself happen to be one of those. To me and many others in the service, we are simply doing what we signed up to do. Even though this is what we truly believe, it’s hard to argue that it takes a certain amount of courage to perform the duties asked of you in the emergency services.

Read: When Stigma Arises.

I don’t think there’s any question, even to the layperson that emergency service workers see things no one should really see. Indeed, the tragic side of humanity can be level 10 in intensity; many in the services try, to suppress this intensity. oftentimes winding up with the mental health injury, PTSD in the process.

I often refer to post-traumatic stress disorder as the disorder that keeps on giving because it’s never-ending; it’s torturous effects are hard on, not only the mind and body but everyone that surrounds you whom you love and care for.

Help for loved ones of people with PTSD.

If that weren’t enough, those who succumb to their injuries end up being the forgotten, the discarded and the misunderstood . This can be especially tough because from the time you enter the service, you’re often reminded of just how much of a brother and sisterhood it is. Sadly, like so many other organizations, the love can be conditional. Oftentimes, with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress occur, they can see you exiled from the family.

Like some sickly newborn animal, discarded by its family at birth, we are may get left in the wilderness to fend off what is essentially unsurmountable odds; all on our own.

So, in an attempt to overcome these unsurmountable odds, I have endeavored to bring awareness to, not only the services but also to the wider world and loved ones; who can have a hard time grasping our reality.

Looking For Help? Here’s our mental health resources page.

With that said, it is unrealistic for people in our position to assume that the world around us, including our one-time colleagues to totally understand what they are witnessing or experiencing from a person with PTSD.

In my opinion, at the end of the day all you can do is seek out like-minded folk who have a better grasp on what goes on inside the mind of the traumatic brain. furthermore, the reality is, that too large degree and probably for most of our lives, we will indeed be left in the wild to fend for our very survival.

I feel this way simply because no matter how supportive people are, it’s still a lonely and dreadful road to mental wellness. However, like back in the days where we worked ourselves to exhaustion to minimize the damage of chaos, and loss odlf life, we must work to absolute exhaustion to minimize the odds of a personal tragic outcome. Where at one time, getting to the belly of the beast meant extinguishing flames, for us, it now stands for extinguishing our own fires. PTSD is the fuel rhat keeps the seemingly eternal flame burning within our minds.

We may not all have the support we were expecting, nonetheless, we have each other.

Yes, our scenarios may be fraught with unsurmountable odds, but that does not mean we should give up; nor should we not dream of better days to come. Success should be measured in inches not miles, small achievements some days are the largest accomplishments. Please know, we are now the new brother and sisterhood, that of the PTSD clan. while it’s true that you may feel alone, you are not. Together we can beat these unsurmountable odds.

Order Lemonade Stand Vol 3 today!

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Click on the following link to order.

Lemonade Stand Vol 3

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

Critical Incident

A Critical Incident, yours?

Anyone can face a critical incident or more, not just emergency service workers.

You know what just occurred to me? Men hide from every ounce of mental pain they endure. Ok, That’s not really all that surprising. After all, this is a fact that many of us, including myself are well aware of.

While this may be true, I’d like to delve into this notion a little more. For one reason or another, our society has associated emotional suppression in men a sign of strength. During my morning coffee, I came to the conclusion that pushing things out of the way, can be both right and wrong. Essentially, I think there’s a yes and no answer.

When I was a firefighter, It was essential to push your emotional response to a critical incident out of the way. If not, how would we make order out of chaos? Being locked into a tragic scene, is no time to explore how you are feeling about what lies before you.

With that said, some of us are overcome by the carnage and the incredible amount of stress placed on our fight, flight or fight mode. This is a natural biological phenomenon; for those impacted, they go into the ultimate survival mode. Nothing to be ashamed of, we are after all, only human. The reality is, some of us can give no more and it becomes about self-preservation.

Critical Incident.
Photo by Download a pic Donate a buck! ^ on Pexels.com

Like what you are reading? Try, Carbon Monoxide And PTSD.

Therefore, emotional avoidance is a necessary but should only be seen as a temporary coping tool. Thank the gods for the adrenaline rush. This hormone overrides our emotions by putting us in autopilot mode. Very, very useful.

Beyond the incident, what happens? Do we need to keep pushing it down like we are smashing leaves with our foot into a garbage bag, packing it in tighter and tighter? From my experience, the answer to this question is no. We are a vessel and as such, we can only hold so much. Remember, mental illnesses are nervous system disorders. This means our psychological well-being has its roots in our biology.

The dangers of suppressing your emotions.

Looking at avoidance post incident though, how helpful is this? Moreover, if we ignore the accumulative pain that is fighting for supremacy within us, will we win? Maybe. Truthfully, many lose.

The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

Perhaps the most important question here is; Why do we men move mental mountains to avoid the pain boiling below the surface? I believe the answer is fear, right? Well, if that’s the case, we don’t normally associate running from things as strong, rather I feel like being strong means we have the strength to deal with whatever lies in front of us. this includes confronting our inner demons.

I’m by no means suggesting that people avoid their feelings are cowards, far from it; been in their shoes my friends. But pretending I was invincible was exhausting and may have almost got me in the end. If I didn’t man up and face reality I was going to be my own critical incident. I am calling my fight to save myself firefighter self-rescue.

Saving yourself from your own critical incident.

What I am saying is this; It takes a strong person to overcome their fear and admit, “I have had enough.” or to reach out and say, “I need help.” For me personally, it took an incredible amount of psychological effort to admit that I needed help and evermore difficult to reach out. I fail to see the weakness.

Sadly, I was being “brave” for far too long. It wasn’t until the thoughts of ending my life were so dominating that I admitted I was running, that I was scared.

You’ve spent your whole life holding it in, letting it fester, it’s time my friends. For my colleagues in the emergency services, men, women and other identities, it’s time for you to save yourself; you’ve earned it. After risking your own health, mental health included to save others, you own crisis is the next critical incident that needs your needs you to respond.

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

Incident commander

Incident Commander

On the fire ground, the incident commander is the person who determines the outcome. With mental illness, you too are in command of the results.

Anyone who has been in the fire service knows that fire scene incidents can range in size and severity. Regardless of size, there’s almost always one person at the helm. Known as the incident commander, their job is to be “the” person who brings the incident a conclusion that minimizes damage and loss.

Doing so takes a high level of experience and education. This will help the IC to best predict where the fire will go and what tactics work best to efficiently extinguish the fire. In other words, they need to get a handle on the incident; quickly and before it gets a handle on them and thus everyone on the fire ground.

The officer in charge or the incident commander is generally good at staying a step ahead of their enemy; they have to be. and structure is fundamental. This is arguably more important on bigger calls.

Essentially, you have sector officers, safety officers; accountability officers and more. All of whom need to be put in place to ensure that what needs to be done, actually gets done. Breaking a large scene down into smaller sections is paramount if you are going to be successful.

But that’s not all! You need water supply, staging areas for firefighters; efficient communication systems and firefighter recuse teams at the ready.

Of course, I could go on but I think you get the point. Viewing a fire scene from a distance, all you might see is a disorganized shit show. However, it is actually a well coordinated and well oiled machine. We like to call it organized chaos.

How does this relate to mental illness?

Well, on the surface it seems like it has absolutely nothing in common with the incident commander analogy. However, I will do my best to explain.

Remember when I said that it’s imperative for the incident commander to get a handle on the fire? If not, the fire will get a way from them? Their job is to tame that beast and prevent it from destroying lives.

Like what you are reading? Go to The Mental Health Solution

person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com – Incident Commander

In comparison, we can ask ourselves; Who’s got a handle on our own mental health emergency? Using myself as the example; am I the one in command of my illness, or is my illness the one in charge of me?

For example, PTSD is a four alarm fire and whether you like it or not, you’re in it for the long haul; and like that of being an incident commander on the fire ground, you’re it, there is no going home. Nor can you afford to ignore it; if you were to, the fire would propagate and grow out of control.

Like that of the Incident commander, You’re it, there is no way around it.

Similarly, you are it, the incident commander in charge of what you do to mitigate the damage done by your mental illness. You get to call in the resources needed, psychotherapy, a fitness instructor, and or a psychiatrist, they can help get a handle on your mental health, after all, you know these are the tools one needs to minimize the psychological damage, Right? Besides, not calling in what you need for resources on the fire ground would be disastrous and irresponsible.

So, who’s got a handle on you? The four alarm fire that rages inside or you, the officer in charge of getting better? Own this incident my friend, for it is the most important call of your life.

Order my new book collaboration, Lemonade Stand Vol.

Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of 20 authors who have PTSD because of their military and or emergency services background. They bravely tell their stories in hopes that will help end stigma within the services and within mental health in general. Its other objective is to give people who are afraid to speak a voice.

When I read the stories from the other authors, it was like I was reading the story of my own struggles. I quickly realized that this book will not only help those with PTSD but may very well provide their spouses and families with insight into their loved one’s mental illness.

20 Authors tell their story of PTSD
Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

Contact me on my Facebook page: facebook.com/TRTMW

person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com