Supporter Here for my husband (and for me)

FFwife

Sponsor
Hi everyone, currently navigating newly dx PTSD for my husband. He's a first responder (firefighter/EMT) of over 25 years. The "straw that broke his back" came late last year in the form of a run involving a child, but he's seen/done things that make me wonder how he didn't "break" before now. Or maybe he did, maybe this is cumulative?

Anyway, I'm trying to learn and support him. It's hard. Just found this site a few days ago, so here's my official "hello".
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
HI there!

I'm from dispatch so I totally get it, and there's a couple other first responders around here too.
Latest research is that it's cumulative - It's all "just another tuesday in dispatch" then you get that final call that just tips you over.

Sadly dissociation becomes a life skill over time, so it's really, really hard to know how you are feeling. Plus the whole "suck it up buttercup" mantra in the FR world makes asking for help almost impossible. I'm assuming since he has the diagnosis that he is getting help? Is it from his agency or private?

He's got a tough road ahead of him, because it's not just that last call he's going to have to get past. They all kind of pop up randomly and each one feels like a smack in the soul. And learning to feel? oh ya. that's gonna suck.

But he's lucky he has a supporter who wants to help! Not everyone gets that so kudos to you for being there for him. I don't know how I would have gotten thru my journey without knowing hubby had my back.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Friday

Moderator
Welcome to the community! 😁

Or maybe he did, maybe this is cumulative?
Tends to be, for those of us with careers in trauma. Combat/ First Response/ Medical/ NGOs/ Aid Workers/ War Correspondents/ etc.

My PERSONAL (completely unscientific and highly biased) thought on the matter is that it’s not the end result, but the first, or near the first. That first moment out of training, in the field, when everything just comes together and I felt like I was alive -really, and truly alive- for the very first time. The moment where the rubber meets the road, shit got real, and… I loved it. Everything was brighter, clearer, more meaningful, more important. It was just this shift in my head & heart, where the world changed a molecule on its axis, and everything was different after that. <<< I think that was the moment where my …everything… adapted to living IN trauma. From that moment onward? (In retrospect) Everything about how I lived & organized my life changed. Including how I reacted to stress, managed stress/stressors, relationships, thoughts/feelings/actions, etc. The tens of thousands of individual traumas that followed over the years/decades? “Just” put a polish on what snapped into place on day 1.

But the actual scientific thought on the matter is that it’s cumulative, and at some point our ability to manage stress/stressors breaks. Whether from a straw that breaks the camels back (new trauma on top of old traumas), or the loss of a coping mechanism (like a steam engine that blows, when the steam isn’t venting), or a sudden deluge of trauma/stress/stressors that’s too much for the coping systems in place to handle, and the levy breaks.

Either way? It’s PTSD, and it’s a stone cold bitch, but… it is also highly treatable. Which is both the good/bad news. Both for us, and the people dealing with / loving us.

Again, welcome!
 

FFwife

Sponsor
...I'm assuming since he has the diagnosis that he is getting help? Is it from his agency or private?...
Thank you for your words!! Ours is a kinda crap situation, actually. Our state recently made PTSD compensable under workers compensation for first responders if they meet certain criteria. He did. So they paid for a few weeks while he got help, but then sent him to an IME who of course said he was fine. We're appealing, but meanwhile he's unpaid and has had to apply for disability retirement. So, on top of his ptsd, he's now dealing with the pain and loss of the career that defines him. Tough road indeed. But, we're gonna appeal, we're going to win, and he's hopeful that helps someone else on down the line.
Either way? It’s PTSD, and it’s a stone cold bitch, but… it is also highly treatable. Which is both the good/bad news. Both for us, and the people dealing with / loving us.

Again, welcome!
I love this! Thank you for the powerful insight. Man, I hope I can eventually help him maybe reach out and connect on something like this board.

I live with ptsd. I see it intimately and what it's doing. But I don't HAVE ptsd. And so, no matter what, I cannot truly truly truly understand it and what he's dealing with. We're battling this together, but from different sides. I hope and pray we can keep it together while we do. I think we can.

All the legal bullshit we're dealing with really doesn't help right now, though. Not to mention the lack of income lol. But we'll get there.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
So, on top of his ptsd, he's now dealing with the pain and loss of the career that defines him. Tough road indeed. Bu
yep. I went from the top of my career to BAM! Home on disability and leaving it all behind. It sucked.

I was lucky to go out on disability for 2 years from work, but battled the VA for 5 years before I got my benefits from them so I get the whole lawsuit thing. And yep - it's probably going to make recovery harder (did for me at least)
Just keep reminding him that they don't see him as a human. He's just a number on a claim, one they don't want to pay. And If you can get a good lawyer it will make all the difference in the world ....someone to be that buffer is soooo helpful.
 
Top