I normally make fun of the silly things we do in emergency services,but I would like to be serious today. Today my partner and I responded to a fatality MVA.I started thinking of my career if you Can call it that.I started as a deputy in 1979 that's 29 years ago.It was probably six months into my job that I responded to my first fatality,it was a drowning of an 8 year old girl.It must have hit me pretty hard because I still remember it.
I counted up all the fatalities they I have responded to either in LE , SAR ,fire or EMS.It was quite a list.There were 19 fatalities that came to mind.These weren't codes but fatalities MVA or GSW or fires.Codes you can reason away after all sickness and disease are part of life even if it does all ways come too quickly for us.
The point of what I am saying is that I was affected by each one of the events.I can remember them so I must have been affected.Most of the people reading this are probably in emergency services in some way.You too have been thru these traumatic incidents and they have affected you,whether you admits it or not.police are the worst in denying that anything ever bothers them followed closely by young people in any profession.
I make no secret of being a follower of Jesus.This is part of the way that I cope with tragedy.
If you do respond to a traumatic incident get some help.I know you are tough and that stuff is for weak people who rent as tough as you.But I will tell you that you aint tough enough to handle all this stress all by your self.I am not saying you have to get in a critical incident stress program but find you a confidante you trust completely and talk with them and listen to them.
This doesn't make you weak or a coward it makes you smart.You probably love your job well this can keep you enjoying it longer.You know the signs and symptoms of it:you keep reliving the incident,you dream about it.you doubt your calls,you don't sleep or you sleep too much or you drink too much.or you self medicate or your sex life is gone,or you can't laugh and enjoy life.If you see any of these in yourself don't be stupid get yourself some help
How do you get help?first try your pastor second try a mental health clinic,go to your boss and say"i need some help"or even call me I can put you in contact with someone.Talk to your spouse don't shut them out,they love you and don't want to see you self destruct.
My wife is my best friend and when I say "I worked a fatality today'she always says"are you ok?"because she cares
I know this is rambling but I want you to stay in the "business"as long as you can.