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.
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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.

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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

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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
You can't ignore PTSD

You can’t ignore PTSD

You can’t ignore PTSD

In our society, we tend to think that we are failures if life takes us off our planned path. But are we really failures? I’d like to make the argument that when life takes us off course, we can forge a new way forward.

When I was a firefighter, I pushed myself well beyond my mental abilities; thinking I could just shake off the traumatic events I witnessed and get back on the rig for the next call.

I suppose this myth I was telling my self worked for a while, or, so I had thought. Turns out, that I was not coping at all; I was, in fact, doing more and more damage.

Knowing your mental limits

When the time came that my mental strength was all but exhausted, I felt defeated; like I had failed. After all, none of my colleagues seem to be having this issue. On the day I resigned, I felt like a complete and utter failure. To add to this perceived failure, was this head to toe feeling of weakness and shame.

A double whammy

Who knew that pushing through my mental pain would be such a bad idea? I really wish I had known at the time; it may have saved the rest of my life from coming unravelled. However, my reality has been forged by the fact that I didn’t know.

Due to my decisions to keep fighting on with no regard for my mental health, I lost; my feelings of failure were compounded by the fact that I had recognized my illness too late. Perhaps its more accurate to say that I pushed it down and packed my trauma so tight that it finally snapped.

Whichever was the case, the mental pain my fire service days had leached into every facet of my life. This sad reality I faced would include my work life too.

Like what you are reading? Try Path To Mental Healing.

Making my living as a health care worker was not an easy one to say the least. I had witnessed some pretty traumatic incidents there too. While this was my was also my reality, the cornerstone for my PTSD without question, stemmed from the fire service.

Regardless, I had mentally bled out for far too long and before I knew it, my mistaken resilience crumbled under the weight of my mental illness. Only a few short years after calling it quits as a volunteer firefighter, I would find myself making an exit from my workplace as well; proving that you can’t ignore PTSD, it will indeed, get you in the end.

Is failure such a bad thing?

While I thought for years after I left the service that I had failed at everything I loved; I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Failure is just a conduit for success so long as you keep moving forward. Doing what I have to do, has been slowly leading me down the road to mental wellness and as a result, I have discovered new passions along the way.

man standing on rock during sunset
Photo by Mathew Thomas on Pexels.com

When every aspect of my life went off the rails, I turned to writing in a desperate attempt to sort out what was going on inside my head. Consequently, a new passion was ignited; a love for writing.

You can’t ignore PTSD, this is true but if you are manning up, shoving it down or in just plain old denial, please know that when PTSD becomes too much, there is life after the military or emergency services. Failure is an option as long as you understand this: PTSD or any mental illness is not something you choose to have and secondly; as humans, we are gifted with the ability to discover other passions. So in that regard, no matter what we go through in life, we can always find something that gives us our love for life back.

Keep moving forward.

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.

Pre order today at https://theroadtomentalwellness.com/blog__trashed/lemonade-stand-iii/

20 authors their story of PTSD

Checkout the book I helped to write

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

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

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