You feel weak from restless nights, relentless memories of what you have witnessed, and easily frightened or jumpy due. Maybe you find yourself avoiding work, people, and other situations that might remind you of your distressing memories. Others view you as a hero. But inside, you don’t feel like one. First responders and veterans have committed to sacrificing their own safety in order to save the lives of others. Although you have made the world better for future generations, your world right now is not an easy one to live in.
REPEATED EXPOSURE TO ACTUAL OR THREATENED DEATH TAKES A TOLL ON OUR MINDS AND BODIES
The same activation that helps us leap into action and fight for our own or someone else’s life can become bothersome when that activation never takes a break. You may feel like you are constantly fighting and just want the fight to be over. Whether you are re-experiencing these events through uncontrollable memories, dreams, or through flashbacks that make you feel as if you were actually living through that experience again, the prolonged distress you have felt is too much to handle. You may find it hard to function at work, in your social relationships, and in the daily tasks you do.
Negative thoughts and beliefs related to what happened may also be haunting you. You may experience tremendous blame or guilt about what happened. Or you might find it difficult or impossible to trust or connect with others. You may feel unable to feel positive emotions or satisfaction. However, you are not “broken.” You are not “crazy.” And you are not “bad.” You have experienced or witnessed horrible things that are not easily processed by our brain. On top of that, the distressing symptoms you experience keep your brain in an alert state that limit your ability to rest, relax, and file these memories away for good.
THERAPY FOR FIRST RESPONDERS CAN HELP
Therapy can help clients decrease the distressing symptoms they experience and learn skills to cope and feel relaxed. Clients can learn to properly process the “stuck” memories that replay in their mind. Our therapists at Heartland Therapy Connection use strategies like EMDR, ACT, DBT, CBT, narrative therapy, and other trauma-informed processing therapies to help clients feel safe, stabilized, and prepared to reprocess their experiences. Many of our clients start to feel better in as few as three sessions during the stabilization phase of treatment when they learn skills to feel grounded and less distressed. Once you feel ready and equipped, your therapist with support you through reprocessing to significantly reduce the distress your memories and experiences have caused you.
Our therapists also offer workshops, presentations, reading materials, and consultations specifically for first responders. We provide education on the effects of trauma and offer hope to first responders and veterans. Are you interested in learning more about the counseling and educational services Heartland Therapy Connection’s therapists can provide for you or your workplace? Please connect with us and schedule an appointment today! We also offer FREE 15-minute consultations to connect with and talk to you personally. It can take great strength to reach out for support, but it is so worth the benefits you deserve. We are all #betterconnected.