“I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR MY DISEASE ..
.. but I am responsible for my recovery”.
Because of my #addiction, I nearly lost a true friend this summer.
While Fabian Peters, ( the WOLF) and I were flipping our tires over 37 kms in 30 long, cold, wet, miserable days across 7 mountains while shackled in over 50 pounds of solid steel chains, to raise awareness to #PTSD, I had learned the staggering suicide rate amongst our Canadian First Responders.
OVER 100 of our Police, Paramedics, Firemen, Corrections Officers, and Military have died by suicide in the past 2 years.
Here I thought it was just my personal SH*T luck that I had to spend nearly 4 years jumping through WCB’s B*LLSH*T hoops, suffering, begging, starving, with nowhere else to turn with a wound that was NOT visible and try over and over, year after year to try and prove my PTSD was work related.
Like as if I had spent my spare time while not at work, trying to do CPR on patients who were just killed in front of 4 billion people.
Still unsure how these people at WCB even think for a minute that my PTSD could have actually happened elsewhere, like what, at my step sons basketball practice, or wait , maybe while I was getting groceries that week, I guess living in a ski resort town I could have possibly witnessed a drive by shooting or even a armed robbery gone bad ????
If they treated my case like this, with over 4 billion witnesses, HOW DO YOU THINK THEY HANDLE all of their cases with all First Responders across the country?
Denial – Denial – Denial
Since Breaking the Chains BC started , I have 100’s upon 100’s of emails from so many First responders across the country that are on their 2nd – 9th year battling these people JUST TO GET HELP for a wound that is not visible.These are the men and women who risk their lives day in, and day out, NO QUESTIONS asked when we need them to respond to our emergencies , but yet, when they need the help , they spend YEARS asking for it , only to get the door slammed in their faces each time.
And to ice the cake , your co workers consider you weak, your friends, your partners, nobody wants to work with you .This is why most don’t speak up, and why I personally tried to take my life 3 times over the years…you become mentally exhausted, physically drained..the endless nightmares, depression, stress, guilt, shame and self medication becomes so over whelming that, speaking for myself ..I just wanted it all to stop, I couldn’t handle the thoughts of , ” I used to risk my life to save others, and now, I’m considered broken, weak and useless after countless years of helping serve the public, years of training, how many patients we respond to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly…we are ONLY HUMAN and adventually ..we break…That doesn’t make us weak – what makes us weak , actually makes us sick to think that our employers or Work Safe have done NOTHING to prepare us for these feelings, or circumstances.
I trained for many years and am actually looking at Work Safe OFA Level 3 training manual right now , and there is NOTHING about PTSD in it , and NOTHING in the book about how vital it is to speak up when your living with certain thoughts or feelings.
Actually wait , there is something, they call it Critical Incident Stress – may cause stomach aches, cramps, nausea, heartburn.
I get that from eating at McDonalds , come on now , what kinda training manual is this? Ohhh wait – also says written by – ASSCLOWNS of BRITISH COLUMBIA ..( shakes head)
I trained for 10 months with the Fire Rescue , and recall spending 3 full 8 hour days learning how to fold tarps, but yet, not one single minute was spent learning anything about PTSD.We would spend hours every week training how to rescue and take care of our patients, but yet, not one minute learning about taking care of OURSELVES or the signs and symptoms to pick up on in ourselves or our co workers.
Isn’t WORK SAFE supposed to mean just that? So when will they even train us or take the preventative measures for us to BE SAFE and WORK SAFE so we can go home SAFE to our families and lives.
( I’ll move onto my actual post now )
back in April , I had got a Facebook Friend Request from a man named Scotty Haywood, he writes me and says –
Hi Terrance……. I am friends with Jen and Ceroa … I am deaf … I understand where you are coming from . My Grandpa who just passed at 94 yrs old , 2 yrs ago . He had PTSD from WW2 .
I didn’t know anything about PTSD ….I think its interesting to learn about it…. Umm …being a deaf person can be very stressful because you can’t hear what’s going on around you… We will meet one day….. Be Strong ….Scotty…😀
Without cutting and pasting 100’s of messages between Scotty Haywood and I , I’ll sum it up like this and tell you why Scotty plays a huge role in everything thats happened this summer and how my #addcition almost cost me a real Friend.
I had got this message from Scotty, while I was in Germany learning from the Chief Commander Peter Dietz, and his son ( paramedic Michael Dietz, of why in 20 years they do not have 1 single First responder die by suicide.
Bottom line…they get the help the minute they ask for it, on top of all their prevention programs they have in place, and the fact that ” TO SPEAK DOESN’T MAKE YOU WEAK” ..unlike here in Canada.
I knew one thing had to happen, WCB needed to change their law and in order to do so , we needed to make the public more aware that WCB does NOT recognize PTSD and inform the Canadian public that WCB forces our Emergency Service Providers to spend years trying to prove that their PTSD is work related. ( even with solid proof, they are still denied 99 % of the time.
So , this is where Scotty comes in , I invited Scotty to meet me over at the Legislature Building on Canada Day so we could start our petition and getting a few signatures to one day show the government how many of the Canadian public also feels that this law should change.
Scotty shows up , with his friends and family and even so much as helped us carry our banner donated from North American Fire Fighter Veteran Network while we spent hours talking to the public.
I was certainly expecting the public to sign our petition yes, but the over whelming support was knee buckling.
I felt bad during that weekend that I couldn’t spend more time with Scotty due to my selfish greed in getting more and more and more signatures.
It was tough for me to have a conversation with Scotty obviously due to my lack of sign language and my own mind that couldn’t figure out what was being said …i can’t even imagine how he must feel each day his entire life since age 4.
Though our facebook conversations though, Scotty revealed to me what makes his feel good, what makes him happy, and feel at peace with life ..he says he LOVES TO FISH , and go ATVing.
I gave him my word we would do so this summer.
Now, the addict in me kicked in, theres a saying in our recovery groups “One is too many, and a Thousand is never enough”.
Well, thats just what happened with these signatures for me this summer..the first signature was to many for me , and a thousand was just not enough.
I spent nearly 20 hrs a day, 7 days a week like as if I was in full blown addiction this summer trying to get more and more and more signatures, try and help more and more people ..I traded my drug addiction for a new found high…signitures.
Signatures that I felt would one day help those who are Suffering in Silence, signatures that would one day maybe help those who risk their lives for us get the help they deserve the minute they ask for it , the same as when we call 911 – thats how fast our emergency service providers should get the help also .
All summer I kept putting Scotty off ..over and over. fueling my signature addiction, and yet the man showed up at each and every one of our events, carrying the sign and just watching my back…Scotty didn’t talk the talk – – this man WALKS THE WALK with no excuses.
He’d email me and ask , ” can we go fishing”, id always come up with the same old, ah I’m sorry man ..im too busy .
The entire summer went by, and didn’t even take a day off all summer for myself …giving , and giving , and giving , never sharing my self or time with anybody but this internet, and trying to do what ever it took to help those in need.
Well..I’m proud to sit here today , and look at the thousands upon thousands of signatures our team has got since day one when Scotty showed up to support us and help carry the sign in Victoria, British Columbia.
Im even more happy , to say that , just last week, we finally made the time, and Scotty showed up here to my cabin in the backcountry and we went fishing and atv’in.
It may not seem like much to most, but for me, this was one of the most special friendships I’ve ever made…Thank you Scotty for your patience, time and support. I love you brother and am grateful for you reaching out to me on this facebook.
For me personally , Im not 100 % healed from PTSD nor will I ever be , but what I try to do today to help others, selfishly, helps me heal..and dam right brother…im addicted to it.. and like most addicts, will die doing so.
Im not responsible for my disease, but I am responsible for my recovery, and just for today , I recover by Knowing MYSELF, so I can just BE MYSELF and LOVE MYSELF, and simply do the right thing for myself and others and thats what keeps my mind , body and soul balanced.
I am proud to be an addict.
If people could try and better understand ADDICTION, and try not to put us into just the “drug” category when they hear the word ADDICT , we would all better connect together and enjoy our gift of life today without the stigma.
CBC news update yesterday –
MPs urge Ottawa to help first responders with PTSD –