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Beyond the Stigma

Let's get beyond the stigma and start saving ourselves because we are worth it

Resilience

 

Definition:  The ability to recover quickly from setbacks; the ability of matter to spring back quickly in to shape after being bent, stretched, or deformed


Life is hard – Working in the public safety field does not make it any easier.  The public expects us to be robots, lacking empathy and emotion.  Here is our reality – we are humans.  We do bleed, we do cry, we do feel.

 
Our job is to ensure every day that we are mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for our jobs.  We must make keeping ourselves mentally sound a priority, just as we qualify on the range, brush our teeth regularly, etc.


It is okay to feel like crap for a little while after a big incident; it’s how long we feel like crap that we need to pay attention to.  If you are experiencing stress responses for five weeks or longer after an incident or after returning home from deployment; SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP!!  Just as we go to a barber, dentist, tax accountant, etc., sometimes the stress we are under is too much.  Seeking assistance from a professional does not mean you are weak – it means you realize your limits.

 

Let’s get rid of the stigma that stops those in uniform from receiving the help
they need and deserve!

ENHANCING OUR RESILIENCE – It is easy; just do it!  There is no magic pill (no…alcohol is a temporary solution, it works ‘til it no longer works): 

    •  Sleep:   Get 7-9 hours of sleep per day.  Your body needs to recoup the cells it lost during an average day or a day in which you fought for your life.
    • Exercise:   One of the best ways to eliminate the chemical dump in your system after a big call.  Get off your ass and do something physical.  Quit making excuses.  Quit trying to find time – make time.
    • Breathe:  Practice combat (tactical) breathing until it becomes a habit.  Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and let the air out for 6 counts – repeat.  4x4x6, 6x6x8 … whatever, just start doing it.  Do it when you’re in an argument with your significant other, your kids, your boss.  It will come in handy when you’re dealing with the media, a drawn out incident, lengthy rescue, etc.  See Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman for more information.
    • Water: Greatly increase your water intake after a critical incident.  This is another great tool to wash out the chemical dump that occurred during your incident.  Imagine your body as your gas tank.  Will your car do well if you poured sugar, caffeine and alcohol in to its tank? 
    • Participate in life.  Have hobbies and interests outside of your job. Do not let the job run your life. 
    • Accountability:  Have people in your life that have the guts to call you on your bullshit.  When you start to isolate, do you have someone who will get your lazy butt outside and doing something physical?