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  #11  
Old 12-12-2015, 12:29
Grubadour Grubadour is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Of course PTSD is real, but everyone has a different way of dealing with it. Some laugh, some cry, some need to talk it out, some hit the bottle, some workout, some form organizations to combat against it, some abuse their spouses, some kill themselves, etc.

Tons of productive ways to deal with it, whether it's religion and faith, or laughing about the one time you almost died. You don't need to sit there and cry about it, but you can if you want too. Some guys go to the "loony" bin and come back like "wtf was I thinking?" grab a beer, and laugh that off too.

The adultery, and other spousal strains don't help the situation either. But when you find one who understands that she won't always understand, YOU need to understand that she CANT understand.

Off my soapbox.
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  #12  
Old 12-12-2015, 18:40
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

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Of course PTSD is real, but everyone has a different way of dealing with it. Some laugh, some cry, some need to talk it out, some hit the bottle, some workout, some form organizations to combat against it, some abuse their spouses, some kill themselves, etc.

Tons of productive ways to deal with it, whether it's religion and faith, or laughing about the one time you almost died. You don't need to sit there and cry about it, but you can if you want too. Some guys go to the "loony" bin and come back like "wtf was I thinking?" grab a beer, and laugh that off too.

The adultery, and other spousal strains don't help the situation either. But when you find one who understands that she won't always understand, YOU need to understand that she CANT understand.

Off my soapbox.
I'm fairly convinced I won't be able to find a woman who is actually okay with it. If anyone reads this and is having problems, just try to stay away from the bottle. Moderation is okay but it will go downhill pretty quick before you realize it.
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  #13  
Old 12-12-2015, 20:49
Grubadour Grubadour is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

I always tell my gf she is lucky she found me post-military. She doesn't quite understand me being away. Her family doesn't even understand how I could pick up and move to another state for a fire season then come back. When I mentioned testing for Seattle they looked at me like I was crazy, and asked "so you will just break up?" They also asked "isn't a firefighter there at the fire house all day? How will you see her if you are married and at the firehouse? You can't just not see her..." My answers at first to them were eye-opening, old school Hispanic, when I go to her house they even trip out that I will serve myself and wash my dishes after I'm done, and not make her do it.
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  #14  
Old 12-12-2015, 21:44
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BadKitty BadKitty is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

When I was a volunteer FF, we responded to an unfortunate TC fatality where a young woman had hit a deer on the highway, lost control of her vehicle and then was T-boned by a vehicle coming the other direction. When we got back to the station, I could see that my Captain seemed slightly distressed. Without any discussion or resistance, the entire crew decided to sit down at the kitchen table for an informal CISD. The Captain shared that, when we first pulled up to the scene, he saw that the car looked similar to his daughter's and the young woman laying in the roadway looked like her at first. For a brief moment, he thought it might be his daughter. It wasn't her, but it still rattled him. We all talked about it for a few minutes and prayed together for the young woman's family. It was blessing to work with guys who weren't afraid to sit down for a couple of minutes to think about what we had just seen and to offer support to one another.

Nowadays, when I see a brother who appears to be struggling with something, I will go right up to him, pull him aside and ask him if he's ok. I've seen brothers who are clearly dealing with personal problems....you can tell they're not right because they're not acting like themselves. In every case (three that I can think of off the top of my head), the guys readily opened up to me about what they were struggling with. I think they were, in a sense, relieved and grateful to have someone safe to tell their story to. Luckily, none of them were suicidal or anything; but, I would never forgive myself if I saw a brother hurting, didn't do anything about it, and then he tried to hurt himself. We're family - let's show some compassion for one another.

As for spouses - females in particular - I don't get it and I don't think I ever will (and I'm a female myself!). *I* obviously understand the lifestyle; but, for some reason, many women don't. Ok, cool. Like Grubadour said, your gf/wife won't ever be able to fully understand. But still, I don't get these women that date an officer, firefighter or military man for a long time, get married to him and THEN complain "why are you ever home?" and "how come you're always so tired?" etc etc. Did they not notice that lifestyle when they were dating?! I used to work with the military as an academic adviser and I had to counsel a few men on how to deal with their spouses lack of understanding of their military and educational/officer commissioning commitments. One Sailor in particular was just so beat down by his wife's unrealistic expectations that I almost wanted to call her myself and tell her to knock it off.

One of my co-workers said it best, he needs to find a woman who "embraces the badge". That's tough. It takes a very special kind of woman who can love a man in uniform. For my part, civilian men don't look twice at me. I guess the whole firefighter chick thing isn't attractive. Yet, I get approached for dates by police officers and military men all the time (LOL...no love from my fire brothers). They dig the fact that I'm in the fire service I think, in part, because they are relieved that they won't have to argue about schedules and guns and such. But civilian guys? Nah...they think a woman in uniform is kinda weird. So, again, at the end of the day, we all strive to find someone who "embraces the badge".
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  #15  
Old 12-13-2015, 14:34
desertrunner303
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Note on this topic. I have been in the fire service for a long time and seen a lot of stuff, not bragging here. I say this because it has made me more insensitive to things both in private and personal life.

For me, its years of seeing people killed and dead babies. The stuff just does not bother me anymore. Oh well, Im ok with it. I see it as not a big deal as most stuff does not offend me and I am not very PC. I'm ok with it and blame the job. BUT am I that f-ed up? I say no because you also need to have thick skin. Yes, I agree on all of that "Youre only human" words, but it all rolls into one thing- Thick skin, being used to the job and being insensitive.

I am writing this because I see being desensitized and PTSD going hand in hand. If you are not sensitive to some issues, question if you have PTSD.
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2015, 14:39
desertrunner303
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

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Originally Posted by BadKitty View Post

As for spouses - females in particular - I don't get it and I don't think I ever will (and I'm a female myself!). *I* obviously understand the lifestyle; but, for some reason, many women don't. Ok, cool. Like Grubadour said, your gf/wife won't ever be able to fully understand. But still, I don't get these women that date an officer, firefighter or military man for a long time, get married to him and THEN complain "why are you ever home?" and "how come you're always so tired?" etc etc. Did they not notice that lifestyle when they were dating?! I used to work with the military as an academic adviser and I had to counsel a few men on how to deal with their spouses lack of understanding of their military and educational/officer commissioning commitments. One Sailor in particular was just so beat down by his wife's unrealistic expectations that I almost wanted to call her myself and tell her to knock it off.

One of my co-workers said it best, he needs to find a woman who "embraces the badge". That's tough. It takes a very special kind of woman who can love a man in uniform. For my part, civilian men don't look twice at me. I guess the whole firefighter chick thing isn't attractive. Yet, I get approached for dates by police officers and military men all the time (LOL...no love from my fire brothers). They dig the fact that I'm in the fire service I think, in part, because they are relieved that they won't have to argue about schedules and guns and such. But civilian guys? Nah...they think a woman in uniform is kinda weird. So, again, at the end of the day, we all strive to find someone who "embraces the badge".
My take on this is that I agree and also disagree. In short, I dont really need a woman to "embrace the badge", rather just understand the job, hours, details and leave it alone.

I say this because I have always lived and worked by the idea of- "When I am at work, I am on duty and dedicated to the job. When I am OFF duty, I am OFF and disconnected from work." I found this is the best way to keep balance and moderation.

I say this so the wife or GF understands that work is work and when I am off, I am off and its behind me. I try to mix the two little as possible. Why? Can you really care to talk fire shit off duty as much? I rather keep it short and leave work at work.

Hope that makes sense.
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2015, 16:04
Grubadour Grubadour is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

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Originally Posted by desertrunner303 View Post
Note on this topic. I have been in the fire service for a long time and seen a lot of stuff, not bragging here. I say this because it has made me more insensitive to things both in private and personal life.

For me, its years of seeing people killed and dead babies. The stuff just does not bother me anymore. Oh well, Im ok with it. I see it as not a big deal as most stuff does not offend me and I am not very PC. I'm ok with it and blame the job. BUT am I that f-ed up? I say no because you also need to have thick skin. Yes, I agree on all of that "Youre only human" words, but it all rolls into one thing- Thick skin, being used to the job and being insensitive.

I am writing this because I see being desensitized and PTSD going hand in hand. If you are not sensitive to some issues, question if you have PTSD.
I completely agree 100%. You just sort of become numb. Sometimes people mistake the "not crying" thing for disrespect. And I'm sitting here like "it's sad...but crying is not going to fix anything either." And if you say you are "ok" in a bad situation, some people just really can't fathom how some people have seen/done so much and can just not be affected. Personally my "numb" feeling makes me better I think, makes for better jokes as well.
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2015, 16:32
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BadKitty BadKitty is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

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My take on this is that I agree and also disagree. In short, I dont really need a woman to "embrace the badge", rather just understand the job, hours, details and leave it alone.
Well, I think that's what "embrace the badge" means. At least to me, it means for a woman to understand that the job is very different than the job of a man who works at other desk type things. She needs to just roll with it and leave well enough alone. Not that she should get all up in fire service business, etc - only that she should understand what's she's getting herself into and then letting it ride.


Quote:
Hope that makes sense.
Yep! It did.
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  #19  
Old 12-13-2015, 16:37
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BadKitty BadKitty is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

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I completely agree 100%. You just sort of become numb. Sometimes people mistake the "not crying" thing for disrespect. And I'm sitting here like "it's sad...but crying is not going to fix anything either." And if you say you are "ok" in a bad situation, some people just really can't fathom how some people have seen/done so much and can just not be affected. Personally my "numb" feeling makes me better I think, makes for better jokes as well.
I agree. I've noticed that I've become a lot more desensitized to other people's suffering. Not so much in a bad "I don't give a rip that you suffer" kind of way; but, more of a "I have a job to do right now and someone needs to bring some order to this mess" kind of way. At work and in my personal life, people always look to me to solve their problems. After a while, yeah, you get numb. If I'm being honest with you all and myself, I do sometimes fall into that "I don't give a rip that you suffer" category. I can't help it sometimes - there's only so much you can deal with before you're like, yeah, this is the 3rd fatality I've done this week or what have you.

A lot of firemen have a morbid sense of humor and I think some people find that offensive. You know, they don't get it. We have to keep things funny or else the grotesqueness of some of the things we do will get to you.
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  #20  
Old 12-13-2015, 19:21
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Why did Princess Diana cross the road? She wasn't wearing her seatbelt.
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