What do you want people – such as the public, friends, family, health care providers, people in companies – to know about what you went through?
I want Everyone to Know that this is not just in my head or “imagined”, if first responders experience and are acknowledged for psychological Trauma then how would it be different for me? I live with this every day and it’s always there in everything I do, I may not be thinking about it every waking second but its there lurking in my subconscious waiting for an excuse to visit. Even my family lives with it, even though they may not know the situation and in some cases should not know all the details there are some things they don’t say or do because they could trigger events, well used to.
Health care workers need to know that they shouldn’t judge, receptionists all the way to the doctors, because they don’t understand. This affects us mentally and sometimes physically, on the road and off. It changes our relationships with our spouses, children, relatives and even our friends. Sometimes it brings us closer, sometimes it drives us apart, sometimes both. We become withdrawn and if our loved ones don’t realize what is happening then they think that “you’ve changed” and in a way we have but don’t know how to explain it, the wedge gets driven deeper if our family doesn’t know how to help.
The reality of it is that accidents occur all around us, whether we are in our work vehicle or our personal vehicle. A simple fender bender, a close call, someone cutting us off in traffic can Trigger flashbacks or Traumatic emotional reactions or both, sometimes with crippling effects. These effects can last for a few minutes, hours, days or weeks even months. Everyone handles stress differently, I once read a statement in an article some time ago about how mothers deal with so much stress in a day that it would bring most CEO’s to their knees, I wonder if that is what this is like and then some?
I have crossed paths with a lot of drivers over the years and we have each swapped stories, talked “shop”, most all of us have that “story”. I try to talk about it, I guess as a way of therapy, a lot of us do, others have prescribed heavy sedatives to be able to sleep, others “self medicate” to fall asleep, some have found more natural remedies. Many drivers have talked about friends they knew that couldn’t get past what happened, couldn’t find a way to deal with the Trauma, and in so doing…Took their own life to end the “pain”.