Just a Dispatcher

by An Anonymous Dispatcher

You’re just a dispatcher. You know nothing, and you see nothing, so it can’t bother you.

Really? Dispatchers don’t see anything. They should all be fine.

These are just some of the things many dispatchers are told during their careers. On the surface, these comments may sound reasonable, logical, and correct. After all, they spend eight to twelve hours a day answering phones and responding to the radio, how bad could it be?

We are inside, typically in a climate-controlled environment. We can utilize a restroom when needed. We don’t get stuck on long perimeters. And we lack the face-to-face contact with the community we serve. It sounds easy…it sounds like the secretary that so many like to define us as being.

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Meeting My Psychotherapist

by Rob Leathen

I went public not for any sympathy and not for any pity but because I firmly believe that silence does nothing but strengthen stigma. Rob Leathen

Rob Leathen

So my first visit with my psychotherapist. How did it go? It was amazing! I was early, very early, as I always am. I sat in the waiting room looking around at all the signs, posters and books dealing with trauma, PTSD, support systems and the like. In that 20 minutes while I
sat there (yes I was that early), the gravity of why I was actually there set in and manifested itself as what I call an “almost”. For me an “almost” is defined as a welling up of emotions to the point of almost uncontrollably bawling my eyes out but then, as I have done so often before, stifling back those emotions and tears until those emotions and tears are no longer visible to the outside world. All part of that “mask” that many wear. Continue reading

There Is No Superman! The Role of the Spouse in the Fire Service

by Peggy Sweeney

Editor’s Note: Although written for those in the fire service, you may apply the principles to all professions.

Peggy Sweeney

Over the years, I have been very fortunate to not only instruct firefighters on coping with traumatic loss and grief but many of their wives, partners, and family members as well. When I would ask them for comments, questions, or feedback, I usually got little or no response. Understandably, because spouses are very reluctant to talk in front of their firefighters about their feelings, their fears, or what is in their hearts. Many of them wonder why the warm, loving, and carefree person they married does not come home like that anymore.

I will tell you that I know what many of you fear: your spouse or partner may be struggling mentally and emotionally with the traumas of his or her job. You realize that what they see, hear and feel on a recurring basis is beginning to play a major role in how they view life, living, and their job. When the call goes well, life is good! When their best efforts to save a life or protect property from ruin do not end positively, it is a BAD DAY! Continue reading

EMDR: A Therapy Session to Deal with a Problematic Incident

by Rob Leathen

Editor’s Note: Please read Rob’s article that describes his PTSD and how it brought him to the brink of suicide. Instead, he chose life!

Rob Leathen

My therapy session starts like every previous therapy session, with idle chat with my therapist about how my previous week was. The conversation has nothing to do with any of my previous incidents I have responded to or current things we’re working on. Regardless of the topic of conversation, I immediately feel at ease and comfortable, a feeling that comes from being in this office with my therapist and her welcoming judgement free clinic. It is my safe place. It’s a feeling I look forward to as I travel to my appointment even though I know how my session will end.

We reach that inevitable point in my session where I can no longer consciously ignore why I’m there. In a very comforting tone I hear those dreaded words “let’s revisit that call again”.

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