Pussy. Wimp. Lightweight.
All things you think people will call you when you ask for help.
They went to the same call you did, they’re fine. They’re not.
They went through a divorce just like you did and they’re fine. They’re not.
I failed and they didn’t because they’re better than me. They’re not.
“They” are going through the exact same mental roller coaster you are. I’ve been there to a certain extent. When I got hurt I went through every emotion I’ve ever known from thrilling excitement getting back on the Engine to crushing depression that I was one call away from being killed in a fire. I’ve been confused, conflicted, felt like screaming. Screamed (it helps) and even cried like a baby.
Dealing with depression can be hard, is hard, will be hard. Regardless of what people want to tell you, things aren’t always going to be better. One day you’ll look back on today and be willing to swap feelings for anything. The trick is going to be what you do about it today.
No one controls you but you. The feelings you feel, the things you think, the situations you run out over and over and over in your head until they get so loud it feels like they’re going to come bursting out of your forehead will only get worse unless you let them out. Only you have the power to release them.
Start a journal, write your feelings on a single piece of paper. Get out all the negativity, anger, hate and everything else Yoda warns us about the dark side and look at it. It’s outside your head and nothing is wrong with that. Now destroy it. Destroy all the hurt. It feels good. Then take a deep breath and feel the emptiness the hate has left.
What will you do with it?
This is the part no one tells you about PTSD, that you can address and overcome your fears rather easily, but even scarier is what might take their place. If your thoughts were that dark before, what will happen now? Now there is room for worse!
And for better.
Some fill that void with faith, companionship, adventure, music or art.
Others fill the void with solitude, smoke and the bottle.
What you do with the space you make is up to you, but I can tell you from experience that looking for a new challenge every day will lead you to places your old self never imagined.
Some departments offer Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) but others do not. It is important to have an understanding of what to expect from your healing process.
I did a brief series on CISD using the band OKGO:
Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V
The hardest part is knowing when to ask for help and realizing that anyone and everyone that tells you some bullshit line about having to have thick skin in this business is falling apart inside just like you and may actually want YOU to help THEM, but they’re afraid to ask.
They’re afraid you’ll call them a pussy or wimp or lightweight, laugh at their sorrow because they can’t take it while you’re fine.
Asking for help early can break the cycle of depression not only for you, but for your coworkers, friends and family.
I don’t understand suicide and I never will. It’s a coward’s move and no one can convince me otherwise. Besides, why not ask for help and avoid the whole mess to begin with?
There are a number of ways to find help, one of which is by following the Code Green Campaign on Facebook. Click the green star and follow, talk, heal.