CISD with OK GO - Part I

CISD - Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

OK GO - A band

When we get in stressful situations in fire and EMS we have a tendency to assume that being macho and "sucking it up" is the right thing to do.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I speak from experience on this folks.

Fancy programs exist in some Departments for you to talk about what's bothering you, but some don't have much of a support group.  In my experience some of these programs are a bit intimidating, swooping in and asking us how we feel.

I don't want to tell you how I feel. I want to just forget what happened and move on.  We don't understand just how damaged we really are yet.  I know these folks have a lot of training in talking to folks suffering from a traumatic incident, but when I first reached out I felt almost smothered.

Friends and family would call me while lying on the couch wondering if my head was bleeding on the inside and ask how I felt, how I was doing.  How am I doing? A fracking ceiling fell on me and I'm on a host of meds and I can't have caffeine or alcohol! I want to scream but am afraid the ringing in my ear will only get worse!  We get angry, upset, confused and begin to push away.  Every person I talked to wanted to ask me how I feel.

This is my response:

Just leave me alone.  Don't ask me how I feel.  Quit acting so friendly...

The lyrics to this song fit so perfectly with how I felt soon after my injury that every time I hear this song I flash back to 2007 and wish I could make this the answering machine message.

Next we'll cover what happens when we push everyone away and start to buy into the BS line that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Well, at least not right away.  We are not Invincible.


Hilinda said…
I've noticed that people who go through an extremely stressful event, whether it's a medical thing, or an accident, or whatever, often end up reassuring and comforting everyone ELSE. When we had our house fire, we spent a lot of time reassuring people we were fine, thanks. In an odd sort of way, it seemed to affect other people more than it did us.
I think a lot of it is they didn't know what else to say, or any other way to start a conversation, especially people we didn't typically hang out with, who heard about it and wanted to express their sympathy.
It would be great to come up with a list of other things people could say that wouldn't be so annoying. We definitely got to a point where one more "Oh no! Are you kidding? Are you okay?" might have triggered a homicidal episode. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if we were NOT fine.
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