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”→
In many ways, this seems the most tragic form of death. Certainly it can entail more shock and grief for those who are left behind than any other. And often the stigma of suicide is what rests most heavily on those left behind.
Suicide is often judged to be essentially a selfish act. Perhaps it is. But the Bible warns us not to judge, if we ourselves hope to escape judgment. And I believe this is one area where that Biblical command especially should be heeded.Continue reading “When Someone Takes His Own Life”→
“it is one of the most confusing, heart wrenching and lonely experiences to watch someone you love riding a rollercoaster of emotional states from intermittent irrational angry outbursts to complete emotional distancing, interspersed with moments of tears, hopelessness and thoughts of self-harm… and still, no one believes that things are really as bad as what you’re saying”
This week, for the umpteenth time, I heard from an emergency services worker who sought help for dealing with his stress levels. He was told by someone, by his organizational support staff that his problems are not work related, they are merely relationship problems. As additional motivation to take this advice on board, he was told that PTSD is extremely rare in the services; therefore, he should stop thinking about his personal stresses and focus on what is wrong with his relationship. Continue reading “First Responder Stress and the Family Blame Game”→
Our current media is infiltrated with violent attacks among various religious, cultural, ethnic and political groups that are receiving large amounts of attention. As a result, one of the most lethal and deadly attacks we fail to acknowledge is the physical, emotional and spiritual attack upon our current law enforcement officers and first responders. These highly resilient men and women walk the streets daily, work in, and interact in one of the most lethal, violent and traumatic environments with daily exposure to traumatic incidences and what is considered routine occupational exposure. Continue reading “First Responders and Trauma: Bridging the Gap”→