1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Daily Dose

Get the last 24hrs of new topics delivered to your inbox.

Click Here to Subscribe

Anyone have experience with underwater body recovery??

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by scubarr, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. scubarr

    scubarr New Member

    7
    18
    3
    Did a body recovery in Nov. 2014. I'm a recreational scuba instructor, never trained in anything other than outdoor wilderness first aid. Have been kept up many nights, coping with addiction issues. Flashbacks and nightmares are subsiding since being on prescription drugs, but seems like other things are surfacing. Recently had what dr.'s are calling an extremely severe anxiety attack.. Never experienced anything like it before..

    Seems like hours and hours with my therapist are good for some things, but this just seems to get worse...
     
  2. Register to participate in live chat, PTSD discussion and more.
  3. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    12,847
    42,316
    21,903
    Yeah. I was a rescue swimmer, which means recovery was part of it. I flat out refuse to as a civilian 99% of the time, although there’s been the occasional exception.
    Panic attacks & anxiety attacks can present in a lot of different ways. They all suck. The good news is that no matter which presentation? You can learn to back them off. Being a swimmer will help you, because a helluva lot of that is about breathing, and staying calm even when your body is screaming at you. As a DI you’re good at that, right? Long practiced staying calm and breathing in a measured fashion, no matter how freaked out you are? Whether slowing taking back -or yanking back- somatic control over the autonomic nervous system, the breath is just foundational as it gets. Slow and measure your breathing, and your heart will follow, and your everything else after that. You’ve probably been doing this instinctually, all along. Which is ALSO probably part of what freaked you the hell out when you lost that control, and why shit jumped off so quickly. Don’t sweat it. We all lose control sometimes, it happens, and then we take it back. Even in the moment. You can completely lose your shit, ground/center yourself, and get back in control. Although that one takes a bit of practice. Just like anything. It’s totally doable.

    Trauma therapy will ALWAYS make shit get worse before it gets better. That’s part of the gig, and it sucks really hard core, but can also be planned on and worked around.

    Working with a trauma therapist is pretty key, here. It’s a very different modality than most kinds of therapy.

    ‘Nuff from me for right now. ;) Welcome aboard, and make sure to check out the PTSD stress cup <<< little link.
     
  4. brokenEMT

    brokenEMT Well-Known Member

    774
    2,444
    643
    never underwater recovery, but land recovery used to be a regular duty. I've done too many to remember them all, really.

    welcome to the forum.
     
  5. CyclePath

    CyclePath Well-Known Member

    303
    902
    263
    I've done a handful of them too. Some of them were military personnel in combat zones; others were swimmers/diving mishaps, plane crashes, vehicle accidents, or the town drunk that fell off a bridge. None of them were easy and I remind myself that it brought closure to families.

    Rest assured you can learn to control the anxiety attacks. Learn to breath. Friday gave you a bunch of good info and the "Stress Cup" really helped me out a while back. I highly recommend that you read it and understand it. Understanding what is going on will really help.

    Therapy - yes, it can make things seem harder, but it is growth in disguise. Work through it and process things.

    Welcome around!
     
    blackemerald1, littleoc and Friday like this.
  6. scubarr

    scubarr New Member

    7
    18
    3
    Thanks, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. I've always had good control of my breathing and what my body is feeling or doing. That was the first time I felt completely out of control. Properly freaked me out.

    I do remind myself everyday it brought closure to the family. But I just can't get that imagery out of my head. I've been diving thousands of times since then, swim in a pool everyday. How can one collection of words just make a switch go off?

    I find myself wanting to know more about this kid. Is that normal?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2018
  7. zebbidee

    zebbidee Active Member

    59
    120
    133
    i think it is totally normal wanting to know more. i'm actually in the process of trying to find out more about the person involved in my trauma. whether or not it is helpful to know more is the key question though i think. we think we want to know, but it can turn out to be too much to handle, especially when we're struggling. hopefully your therapist is trauma focused and will be of help to you. my therapy has been extremely beneficial. all the best.
     
    blackemerald1 and littleoc like this.
  8. Tim_Holgate

    Tim_Holgate Member

    32
    122
    33
    I was part of the British cave diving rescue organisation for a year and a half, which is probably an ironic title seeing as we never brought a person out alive. for the last two months Ive averaged 3 hours of sleep a night because of it, and regular breakdowns as well as nightmares. The best thing I've found so far is to force myself to see the good in what happened; such as returning the body to the family for closure. Anyway, I got effectively kicked out as the PTSD would make me a liability and probably result in at least my death (I say kicked out; I mean asked not to be on active duty). We were always kept in the dark about who it was; only physical descriptions such as age, height etc so naturally I always wanted to find out more about the people we recovered but the one time I actually found out I got so angry at not being able to help him it did the complete opposite to what I had hoped it would.
     
  9. zebbidee

    zebbidee Active Member

    59
    120
    133
    @Tim_Holgate, that is really confronting work to do. I think because not only are you dealing with the physical aspects of recovering a deceased person, I'm sure there's always that element of shock/surprise when you actually locate them. It's such a challenging environment too. In my work I regularly work with deceased and while I can be mentally prepared because it's an implicit part of the job, you can never be fully prepared for the condition they might be in or other factors that might be emotionally challenging. Personally I find it harder going in if I know too much about the person (such as missing persons who are in the media but then found deceased). I've made the mistake of looking at facebook profiles of an abducted person who I have then had to later see at the mortuary. Stupid move. It' so complex. I recently was able to track down news articles and the court sentencing transcript to the homicide I witnessed years ago, which is my trauma and unrelated to work. I had never looked into it because I disassociated straight after and had zero feelings about what I saw, even though I remembered it. No curiosity, horror, fear, anger. Nothing. It's bizarre. It wasn't until I was standing next to another murderer in a work related situation that I was triggered and the flashbacks and flooding of emotion began. It took me a year and a half and months of therapy before I started to feel I had to know exactly what happened to confirm my recollections. The trauma was not time-coded, so all I knew was I was in high school but could not place it in a particular year. anyway, I'm rambling but I did find out everything a few weeks ago by contacting the state library news and crime archives. I felt a huge sense of relief and validation that my memories/flashbacks were real and exact. But it was also shocking and upsetting for me to get all this info in an email unexpectedly. Overall, having answers to so many questions that I have, has given me some clarity and peace. Some things made me angry. Overall I'm glad I looked into it...but I was ready and at the end of my trauma processing therapy. I don't know if I could have handled it earlier or not.
     
    blackemerald1 and Tim_Holgate like this.
  10. Tim_Holgate

    Tim_Holgate Member

    32
    122
    33
    It only really got bad after a vicious rescue where we almost got someone out alive (died from CO2 poisoning within 50m of the cave exit). It caused me to seriously consider suicide, as i felt it was all my fault, e.g I could have saved him if I'd been quicker etc. Then the thoughts just stopped out of the blue, much like what you described, I was just emotionally numb for about half a year. Then we were doing a standard recovery and something set me off fully; and it almost caused the deaths of the whole team that went in (somehow we all got out alive, I'm not exactly sure ho). Since then, I get daily symptoms of varying degrees of severity. But it got so so much worse when I looked up the guy on facebook about two months ago, especially when I found out he had a family. I feel like I should rot in hell for not managing to save him. I feel that I let the mans family down. In shorthand, the last two months have been the worst two months of my life so far. Unlike you it broke me
     
    blackemerald1 and Friday like this.
  11. zebbidee

    zebbidee Active Member

    59
    120
    133
    tim that is a devastating position to be in and a horrific experience, I'm so sorry that this happened. are you seeing a therapist? you sound like you are really in the worst of it at the moment and I hope you have someone to talk to? i was a complete mess when I was triggered, and while I didn't actually contemplate suicide, my mind started spiralling to a very dark place where it started to make sense to me how people could get to that point. i know that me saying "don't blame yourself" makes no difference but i can only say how much trauma therapy helped me to make sense of what I was experiencing. you are a good person who was doing a dangerous and unpredictable job and sometimes things happen that are devastating. but you should not rot in hell and you deserve to live your life - however dark it might seem right now - please please please talk to a professional if you aren't already and try to work through it. even if you are broke right now, it doesn't have to stay that way forever.
     
    blackemerald1 likes this.
  12. Tim_Holgate

    Tim_Holgate Member

    32
    122
    33
    Yeah, started therapy yesterday, actually. Got a some friends who are incredibly supportive as well
     
  13. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    12,847
    42,316
    21,903
    I wanna tell you to knock that shit off.

    Except I’ve done the same damn thing.

    So knock that shit off ;)

    ...Then teach me how, ‘kay?
     
    blackemerald1, Tim_Holgate and Ronin like this.
Loading...
Show Sidebar