The nature of your job, to save lives, inherently exposes you to situations that can be traumatizing. When trauma exposure is not processed adaptively, this can lead to PTSI, Post Traumatic Stress Injury. PTSI is a biological injury that develops after a person has experienced or witnessed a terrifying event. PTSI symptoms are often underreported as so many First Responders are taught to just 'suck it up'. But these are the facts:
Below is a checklist to increase awareness of possible PTSI symptoms:
1. Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts, or images of a stressful experience?
2. Repeated, disturbing dreams of a stressful experience?
3. Suddenly acting or feeling as if a stressful experience were happening again (as if you were reliving it)?
4. Feeling very upset when something reminded you of a stressful experience?
5. Having physical reactions (e.g., heart pounding, trouble breathing, or sweating) when something reminded you of a stressful experience?
6. Avoiding thinking about or talking about a stressful experience or avoid having feelings related to it?
7. Avoiding activities or talking about a stressful experience or avoiding having feelings related to it?
8. Trouble remembering important parts of a stressful experience?
9. Loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy?
10. Feeling distant or cut off from other people?
11. Feeling emotionally numb or being unable to have loving feelings for those close to you?
12. Feeling as if your future will somehow be cut short?
13. Trouble falling or staying asleep?
14. Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts?
15. Having difficulty concentrating?
16. Being “super alert” or on guard (hyper-vigilance)?
17. Feeling jumpy or easily startled?
18. Has anyone indicated that you've changed since the stressful experience?
19. Are you feeling disconnected or like things are unreal?
20. Other symptoms that have not been included here?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or know someone who is, please reach out to our team of trauma trained therapists for help. PTSI can be treated.