I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for your kind words and outpouring of love and support for the video I shared. As some of you know, last February I had finally met my match and ultimately ended up in treatment down in Texas at a place called Warriors Heart. For so many years I was able to maintain an amazing professional life but all the while I was destroying and had destroyed my personal life. Addiction, suicide attempts, un-treated PTS, and other physiological disorders literally had brought me to a place that NO one should ever have to face…I had been beaten to my knees. While the past year has been amazing, even with struggles along the way, I realize that this is a lifelong commitment of recovery and there is nothing I won’t do within my power to pay all this forward. Know this……THERE IS HELP! I KNOW how heavy the phone can be, the embarrassment, the fear, the regret and the feeling of admitting to a self-perceived notion of weakness……I got it, I truly do but there are so many out there that are willing to help and I am one of them! God bless you all and I love each and every one of you immensely. “With my last breath!” Teddy Lanier
by Chip Boehm RN / EMT-P/Firefighter
Today marks the year anniversary of a very long and tough odyssey; it also has also been one of rebirth and growth. For those who may not be aware, post-traumatic stress/compassion fatigue is real, debilitating, isolating, and desolate. As a caregiver for the last 40 years, I found myself in the deepest, darkest emotional depths I had ever experienced. I have been faced with the reality that my “profession” and way of life since adolescence has changed forever. All throughout my career, I knew at some point that I would have to switch gears. However, I never expected it to take on the process it did. Continue reading “Rebirth and Growth”
by Emily Arguss
We need to start doing better. We need to learn how to support one another instead of tearing each other down. In a world where the only way out is through, it’s important to back up our brothers and sisters instead of pushing them out of the way to reach the top.
My name is Emily Agruss. I am a former military and fire wife. On September 9, 2016, my husband, Joshua Agruss, passed away following a fatal relapse of his addiction to prescription pain medication. Josh experienced a lot of trauma in his 33 years of life – much of it related to his time serving our country in Iraq and working as a firefighter and paramedic. The cultural norms of our society are currently placing a mostly negative stigma on the heroes of our nation not to seek help when they are struggling. As a direct result of this, my husband suffered in silence with symptoms of severe post-traumatic stress for many years. He never felt safe enough to ask for help. He lived in constant fear of being determined unfit for duty, being harassed for not being able to “suck it up” and from losing his job and the ability to help others – the one thing that got him out of bed each morning. This mentality is what is destroying the lives of countless individuals. It’s what is leaving thousands of spouses and children without a husband/wife and father/mother. Continue reading “For the Sake of Our Nation’s Heroes ~ A Widow’s Story”
by Bob Rabe
A college professor once asked the class, “How heavy is a glass of water?” The professor received several answers, but the professor replied, “The weight doesn’t matter, it depends on how long you try to hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes. That is, until you put it down and rest.”
Stress is the same way. If we carry stress, especially after a critical incident, the stress can become increasingly heavy, if not dealt with properly. The stress may lead to a crisis.
According to the Chinese symbol for crisis, it is made up from two other symbols, which are danger and opportunity. We can collapse under the weight of the crisis (danger), or we can learn to develop new skills (opportunity), to meet it head on. Continue reading “Crisis as Opportunity – Critical Incident Stress Management”
by Ross Beckley
One of the darker and more difficult days I have had to endure in my career was attending “Shadowland”.
Located in the middle of an industrial area in the heart of a major city, surrounded by a high security fence, the building is an older style warehouse with no signage. It appears to be unoccupied as there are no workers’ cars or signs of life.
The building is brick façade and steel roof with brick walls about 8 foot high around the entire building. Two sets of high galvanized, colourbond doors that open from the middle are visible. There is broken asphalt leading to the doors where trucks unloading their cargo have torn up the pavement. Continue reading “Shadowland”