A Farewell to Stigmas
The title of this blog is a pun from Ernest Hemingway's novel “A Farewell to Arms” that takes place during World War 1, Italy. Within the book, Hemingway discusses the protagonist Frederic Henry an American serving in the Italian ambulance corps. It is reasonably well understood that many of the characters in the story suffer from post-traumatic-stress-disorder, which then was known as shell shock or battle fatigue. Sadly, then we did not know much about this "disorder," however, now we do, and it is time to understand that it affects people in many ways. More importantly, remove the stigma associated with it, especially in the field of emergency medical services, and treat it as an injury.
After an episode, the PragMedics released discussing PTSD. We received a lot of positive feedback and some constructive criticism. After the constructive criticism, I felt obligated to research PTSD further and learned quite a bit. However, what I took away from these discussions and research was that PTSD and PTS are injuries and should be treated as such. One quote, I would like to add is “your response is a normal response to an abnormal event”. Remember this is a normal reaction to an abnormal event and should know that and not feel like your are different than anyone who has been effected by trauma.
We should not feel bad about ourselves for reacting the way we do when something traumatic occurs to us. It’s okay not to be okay. Would you be ashamed to use crutches if you broke your leg? Of course not. You’d probably even be willing to visit a doctor’s office to receive treatment for it, wouldn’t you? Why is your mental any different? As a society, we must acknowledge PTS and PTSD as psychological injuries. Seeking support and finding outlets is key to our rehabilitation, and by doing so, it is possible to manage our lives effectively. Thank you Mr. James Boomhower, thank you Jeremiah Meriwether, thank you Mr. Hemingway, thank you Code Green Campaign, thank you 911 Buddy Check, thank you Stay Fit For Duty, thank you Uniformed Services Peer Council and thank you Indianapolis Fire Department's Peer Support Group.
If anyone needs to talk, feel free to email Jason or me at Aaron@pragmedics or Jason@pragmedics, and we will assist with connecting you to the proper resources. And of course, a farewell to stigmas.