No one should have to fight PTSD alone. Why? Because we aren't alone, even if we think we are. As veterans and first responders, we fight together on the job and when the physical fights are over, the mental ones begin, some sooner, some later, everyone is different. That's the frustrating thing about PTSD, it sneaks up on you when you least expect it and NO.. we are not weak, we are not thin skinned, we are warriors, but every human being has a breaking point.
Some choose to live in denial and self-medicate with alcohol, sleep or whatever gives them an outlet. Sadly, some outlets might feel good for the moment like raging at our loved ones unnecessarily. These outlets aren't healthy. It feels good for the moment to let out some steam, but they take a toll on our relationships with our loved ones and in the end, we know we are wrong, which only brings upon the guilt. Before we know it, we are losing ourselves, our loved ones and falling down the rabbit hole where the demons get the best of us.
My advice to those who don't understand PTSD or might even be in denial... Everyone has a back story, we weren't born into our occupations and even those who had healthy lives prior to their service, the bad calls or experiences take a toll. Then, out of fear of judgement, we stay silent. Often our closest brothers and sisters have no idea who we really are or what we've been through, so never judge... EVER!!!
Our fights don't end when the calls are over or after we get home, so we should fight the demons together just the same. How do we do that? For starters, Buddy Check! Call one another, check on one another, pay attention to what is going on and if you notice something different about a brother or sister... ASK THEM what is going on. I promise you this, by asking them if they are ok, or need to talk is not going to offend them or give them any ideas. In fact, they just might appreciate that someone cares enough to ask and any ideas they have, are already there.
Get familiar with the resources available for those who battle PTSD OUTSIDE of the workplace. Most veterans and first responders DO NOT TRUST their employers, agencies or units to do the right thing, even if some will. Trust is a big problem, so find other alternatives sooner rather than later. They will thank you for saving them the humiliation of the trip to the mental ward.
Heroes United to Heal (HU2H) was formed for the purpose of sharing information about many incredible non-profit organizations who've developed proven innovative ways to help each other heal. Consider this page your one stop shopping website to a variety of amazing opportunities to find help from people who have walked in our shoes. These programs have been designed and are run by fellow brothers and sisters who understand us and can custom design just about anything to meet our needs.
HU2H will also be working hard to raise money for some of these organizations who don't have celebrity endorsements or deep marketing pockets but are proven to be doing amazing work saving the lives of heroes. Each organization is vetted and all I ask, is for those who take the opportunity to benefit from them, please message me privately and tell me about your experience. I want to make sure that I can continue to back up what I'm endorsing.
All it takes is a phone call and an application which is completely confidential. Many, if not most of the programs are free of charge and funded as nonprofit organizations to help veterans and first responders heal from the invisible wounds they have acquired. Please check out the links below to learn more.