Updated: Jul 1, 2019
How does PTSD effect our lives, careers, community relations and the decisions we make? How can we prevent the negative effects? Everyone has traumatic events in their lives that effect their jobs and relations.
I had never thought of the effects of 26 years of seeing and dealing with the things that no one else wants to see or deal with. Some were minor, a fight or a domestic disturbance. Many were much more graphic and devastating; a suicide, a person hit by a train, a car charging at an officer and having to pull the trigger to save his life. Then there are the kids, who are beaten, drowned, or killed and we do First Aid/CPR in the hopes of bringing them back. This article from Badge of Life, talks about the effects of cumulative PTSD and offers the beginning of a solution. https://www.badgeoflife.org/blog/cumulative-ptsd-a-silent-killer
I never thought about these effects but I have seen the way this problem affected my life.
Two divorces and I finally learned to really see the small things I ignored, that are PTSD related. The decisions I made to contribute to the downfall of these relations. The friends who have committed suicide or turned to alcohol to deal with the things we have seen and that have built up in us. The things that eat at us every day. The things we hold on to in a desperate attempt to salvage the perceived meaning of our life and career. One sad fact. We hang on tightly to our beliefs and will not admit weakness until the damage is done and we just deal with it. Many times these things aren't manifested until we retire, then it is much more difficult to work with.
One step is to talk about these things early and deal with them right now. Many Departments and companies are recognizing the issues created by PTSD and the job, have set up Peer Support Groups, providing training for these groups to assist the officers/employees in the department. For many officers/employees there is still a perceived STIGMA in seeking help. Lets get over this ego driven fallacy and take care of our selves. We got into a job to help others and make a difference in lives. We cannot take care of others if we do not take care of ourselves. There are our co-workers, our families, qualified peer support groups, and qualified counselors that can assist us in not falling prey to the ravishing affects of PTSD and the trauma that divorce or suicide creates. Speak up now, save your life, or your life style now. Get rid of the fear and talk. Bridging the Gap, an Inside Look at Communication and Relations starts this process in a safe way.