What are yours?
We all have so many stresses and added burdens these days.
Life has certainly been more complicated recently.
I know most of you, as did I, work long hours and juggle family/work life.
This took its toll on my health, both mentally and physically.
Yesterday something triggered me and brought back so many memories of how life used to be when I was still in the job.
I've been conditioned to respond to others in need and it has to be instantly, so when things go wrong, I'm quickly triggered. Time is so important and no room for mistakes. There was always plan B and C as back up just in case. But we continually tried hard to evaluate and assess to minimise things going wrong.
I will go deeper into other PTSD triggers in the next book, but any trigger that changes the energy in you is a trigger that has to be recognised, identified, worked on and eventually not reacted to. All of this takes effort.
So, once we have a label for something, others then attach a stigma and make assumptions.
Jumping to conclusions without fully knowing the full story. This is why when we arrive at incidents we have to do a recce of the whole scene to get a true picture and nature of its severity.
We have become a society of overreacting and fault finding in almost everything we do.
Ask yourself when did you last give anyone some praise or encouragement?
Or when did you last feel proud of yourself and your achievements?
Yet more and more I am hearing that someone is offended by this and that!! Seriously?
I am offended by the mentality of some and their opinions, and sadly, their actions.
Come back to the real world.
To be honest, I don't know if I offend anyone in my writings.
I can imagine people saying, "oh that's horrendous and how can you write about this?
Bringing up mental health issues and talking about the horrors of Fire Service."
This is exactly what needs to be said, we need to be openly talking about this as so many are having mental health issues and the smallest of triggers are making them overreact.
None of this is healthy and energies are passed on. Partner to partner, parents to children, colleagues to colleagues. Individuals to strangers.
The news is full of political correctness and 'oh, you can't say this and can't say that!'
Emergency staff cannot voice an opinion for fear of being sacked even though their lives are being put at risk by Govt led cutbacks and Senior management decisions.
This all means Jack diddly, or should I say, Jill?
Or even neutral gender or transgender............it just has to stop!!
Seriously it means nothing when someone has smashed their car and they are trapped inside.
Everyone I have dealt with, and there has been far too many, of all races, nations, and religions, ages, all get treated with care and compassion as if it were one of my own family or best mates.
This is a human being in serious need of help.
This is nothing more than humanity at its best, helping each other.
Some people think they are something special or super-rich and deserve to be respected. Respect comes from your actions, not just your words.
The reality on the other hand has a strange way of biting you on the arse and bringing even the rich or those who think they are above others, down to the same level playing field.
Trapped in a car, being cut out by Fire Service and aided by the Ambulance and Paramedics, whilst the Police are controlling the scene to protect us as we work is pretty much, ‘help me, I’m trapped and I fear for my life,’ type situation. Emergency Services are combining and working alongside each other for a positive outcome for those trapped. We care about people and life and in doing so we are empathic caring souls.
Taking on emotions and trauma and that at some point will affect us. When who knows?
People trapped can have all the opinions and money in the world, this means nothing and holds no value at this moment in time.
The reality, in this case, is called driving too fast and not carefully.
What are the consequences? The reality of being physically or medically trapped. Pinned in or having back injuries.
This photo is of me and just a training exercise. I think around 1996/7. Techniques vary and equipment has got better, but cars have evolved and harder to cut apart. Far more hazards for us in the safety of your car specifications!! We have to cut away a car to expose the restraint systems and make it a safe area for us to be able to lift you out.
Back injuries and tendon issues are very high in all services.
The whole time our sense are being overloaded and your trauma absorbed.
I'm an open book and honest.
Hopefully, you can see that now.
Recently I published my 1st book. It's out there for everyone to read or not.
If offended, then please don't read it.
It's your choice. If it helps, then brilliant and please know that money is being raised for the Fire Charity (FSNBF.) Your decisions on how you act or react to reading the book or this now, are yours and yours alone.
Sadly the reality of attending RTC's is that Fire Fighters and the other Services
are there for you and we cannot look away.
What we see, cannot be un-seen.
We've had so many RTC's, now called RTA's and have been in almost every possible location.
Cars don't stop where you want them to after leaving the road at high speed. They have a tendency to go to the tightest and darkest and most awkward spots in the stretch of 100 yards.
And then you find yourself or asking another crew member to search the surrounding area with torches and thermal imaging camera to find any other passengers that may have been thrown clear whilst it flipped and rolled.
So, if offended by my descriptions of reality, then always know, you have the power right now to stop reading or look the other way.
But again sadly, in reality, humans want to look. But if you're doing this regularly it builds up. Ask how many nurses and surgeons and emergency staff want to watch a horror movie, full of blood and guts and gore? I certainly don't. My mind has enough in there already. Saturated is a good word.
The nature of witnessing hideous acts goes back years even to the weekly gathering for beheading or hanging. What is wrong with people? I don’t get it.
Rubberneckers have been around a long time, is this curiosity or just sick?
The numbers of people wanting to watch are very high. They create a hazard of their own by slowing down and not concentrating on their side of the road. This is already a dangerous place for us to be and the people trapped in their car desperate to be freed.
Hey and making it worse, it’s all being videoed and broadcast live on the mainstream.
So, if you're offended or horrified, remember this isn't a nice job.
Trust me when I say, there are certain aspects of this job that never leave you.
So, what are triggers?
RTC's can be broken glass, hot engine oil, brake fluid, it just goes on. There are so many and completely different for each of us. I will go deeper in the next book, but yesterday I was triggered.
What by? A computer.
A what? Yes, a computer.
If a pc doesn't work when it is supposed to. Kit or equipment that is unfit for use.
Why am I triggered by this?
Well, the Fire Service likes to invent the wheel and call it the wheel because this is a new shiny version and costs lots more.
We had so many new systems and supposedly easier to do programmes and save us time, but they kept crashing and freezing, it was unreal. The GPS systems on firefighters own personal mobile phones were regularly used by us to the correct address and sites as our delightful all singing all dancing tracking device failed on route whilst driving to persons trapped or reported incident. Now, this is a serious trigger for the driver, who has to know where they are going, whilst dealing with other road users that have no idea, we are right behind them. Flashing blues and sirens are obvious enough for some! But sadly, not for others. And for everyone in the back of the truck as time is of the essence here for those trapped or inside the building, any delays mean the job is going to get worse. All are being put at risk.
Back to my events yesterday, I'm filling out the last of my French tax system online............flipping heck this is 'tres, tres complicate'.
To sit back and look at it logically it's just methodically going through it and translate. But no, I am being directed back again and again for why I have no idea. For me, I was back to being on the truck or in the office and the system was crashing. A simple 15 minute on the pc and finished, turns into an hour of getting nowhere and my energy going through the roof. I can feel my frustration rising and sadly so could my wife in the same room. I'm starting to get sweaty palms and fidgeting a lot. Tapping the keypad becomes harder. How is this helping?
We've all done it right? Chuntering and swearing always help solve problems too!! Not.
What's this doing for me?
Cortisol and adrenaline-raising higher and irritated to hell.
What have I been teaching and training myself to do and how to react? It was a reactive outburst in the job for nearly all of us as we were already doing too much and desperately trying to complete things in such a limited time. You just never knew when the next ‘fire call’ was coming in.
So how am I a good example, and why did I start writing about my experiences. Fireman's Tired Eyes, did I do this in order to get others to help themselves and cope? Or just for me?
Clearly, I haven't been listening to myself.
We have become conditioned to responses.
I’ve moved Countries twice in less than 3 years. I have learnt French and now learning Portuguese. Even speaking German to our neighbours here. I am learning something new and reprogramming my thoughts and neurological pathways. So, I am changing my thinking and thoughts. If I can do this then I can change my responses and thinking too.
How am I fixing this?
Firstly, recognising and identifying what is happening.
Acknowledge it for what it is.
Secondly, stop and breathe.
Take a second and look at the situation as if you were a spectator.
See yourself reacting the way you are.
Thirdly, I can take myself away from it or turn it off. I can find space and ground myself.
This can be as easy as stepping out into the fresh open air. Notice the trees and nature.
The frequency of the world needs to be tapped into. We need to wake up to how we are treating our planet. We can learn a lot from nature.
Stepping away and coming back may make a huge difference.
Fourthly, and importantly, I am being true to myself and looking after my mental health and wellbeing, for my energy is going out beyond my skin form and is felt into a room.
Which in turn affects others. How is getting worked up going to solve the pc issue anyway?
I have a choice. I choose to not respond or react as I used to.
I choose to not be offended by such trivial stuff. I've witnessed too much of reality.
Yes, the pc was winding me up, but I saw it for what it was and recognised it early.
Logical thinking and remembered our beautiful friend back in France.
Simples, we paid her to solve it.
We all react differently and have our own choices.
I choose to accept others as they are, unique and individual.
We are plagued by people, offended by trivial topics.
If you wish to be offended by something, then focus on important issues.
Be offended that cutbacks are coming again to Emergency Services.
That some people at the top are making money and not being held accountable for when it’s going wrong.
I recall a terrible incident, that fortunately, I didn’t attend. It wasn't that long ago that people could have forgotten already. Firefighters went over and above the call of duty and we still do on many occasions as do the Police and Nurses and Ambulance crews and NHS staff and carers working tirelessly for you all in all hours and weathers. Yet chastised and ripped into they were. Unjustifiably in my humble opinion.
So, if you want to be offended, be offended that your wages are getting smaller, yet hours are getting longer and your taxes that you've worked hard are going up. Taxes you give to provide you with the Emergency Services and Hospital treatments. All these are being cut back again.
I'm offended at the spineless people who can see the wrong that’s happening but will not stand up and say something, especially when they hold a seat and have a voice for others and can change it.
Be offended that all these Emergency crews and staff are witnessing and taking on all this trauma.
Be offended that they are being put at risk and given the correct staffing numbers and PPE.
Be offended that you, members of the public, are also being put at risk.
Reality is a serious hard slap and sometimes final when it comes to death.
Until you've picked up lifeless forms and been there in person, lifting in close contact, opinions should be kept inside and to oneself.
This is the problem. We readily react and respond to label and fault.
Do not judge or be quick to judge. None of us knows what others are dealing with.
You can resort to simple steps and change your reactions and replies.
All this, you are in control of.
How good does this make you feel knowing you can change how you respond?
Your response and actions affect others.
If we all think about how our actions will affect others, then maybe we will no longer be offended!!
If you want to be something.....be a kind person to everyone around you.
Your energy projects onto others.
I am offended at the lack of acceptance of others and lack of kindness................just be kind.
More frequently the helpers are in need of help too.
Share positive energy.