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PTSD in fireman ?

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This weekend, Saturday, there was a fire in our small college town. The fire fighters are voluntary, but there are alot of younger guys on the depatrment. My boyfriend happens to be an EMT and a fir fighter. THe call came in around 5:30 a.m., I got the pleasure of hearing the tones from 4 different pagers in the small house he lives in. The call was for a house fire and EMS and firefighters were needed. He sleepily got up and went to the call. The fire was so bad, there were two college students, no older than 21, stuck in the top floor of the burning house. The fire raged, and it was unsafe for anyone to continue the resuce... both student died in the fire. He wasnt shook up about it at first, but recently it began to hit him. He just shut down. hasnt really talked to me about it.. luckily he talked to the fire chief about it last night. This morning i had a meeting at 7 am, my alarm went off (its a loud warning alarm sound) and he started talking in his sleep. Its normal for him to sleep talk and half the time he just gibbers, but he started off by just saying "No....No....No....NO" I left him be and got ready then he started actually talking in his dream, "Have them jump or get the ladder," "Then move the ladder," "Well put a sheet over the bodies." The last comment was the one that scared me. I had to wake him up. I caressed him and woke him up calmly... He woke up dazed and a bit confused asking why i woke him. I told him he was dreaming and talking but doenst know what he was dreaming about.
My dad suffers from PTSD from the Persian Gulf War, and well i have never had to deal with this, so it scared me. It really bothers him, and im worried... I dont exactly know what to do.
Im not sure this is PTSD but the dream and vivid talking really has me worried. is there anything else it could be or is it PTSD... this is really fresh, it happend on the 30th
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replied February 2nd, 2010
It could be PTSD however considering it happened recently i think you should just give him time to adjust. and if in a week or two he is not getting better and he is getting worse you might want to consider seeing a therapist. It doesn't mean he is crazy, they help a lot with PTSD. A traumatic event happened in my life and i had to go see a therapist and she helped a lot in dealing with it. But most likely he should be fine in a week or so.

and i know this sounds stupid but i just signed up and im not sure how to ask a question like this. any help would be great.

Good Luck!
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replied March 1st, 2010
Any other PTSD symptoms ?

I am married to a pro fireman who has also been a volunteer ambulance officer and find that he needs time to adjust after bad incidents.

Debriefing helps but it is hard for emergency service workers to discuss matters due to privacy issues and the manner of their work which compounds the issue.

My husband talks alot in his sleep and i think it is a way for him to process the situation. It is not pleasant to hear but i find that waking him does not help, he just dreams about it more. It doesnt hit him staright after the incident as he is usually tired just hasnt processed it yet.

Although my husband does not get a clear case of PTSD he does suffer at times but it is more of a burn out, which is common in the emergency services.

If your boyfriend starts to have other symptoms, like flash backs, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, panic attacks etc then start worrying about PTSD.

I would suggest that he may just need time to get over it. Loosing 2 lives that you were responsible for saving is very hard to live with. He may very well feel responsible and if it is anything like the fires my husband has been to it was probably grisly. Even the most hardend of firefighters are effected at times by incidents like that.

If you are worried i would suggest you come directly out and ask him if he needs to talk and if he is ok.

Hope that helps
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replied March 1st, 2010
I forgot to add that the other fire wives adn i have noticed that after bad incidents the firemen like to be able to controll their environment and are very particular. We see it as a way of making up for not being able to controll the circumstances of the incident.

So dont worry too much if your boy friend is like that for a bit, although if he gets too controlling you should speak to him.

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replied March 1st, 2010
Hi Snowfieldfay,
I am a Vietnam vet.(1967-1968) & have suffered with PTSD since 1992. It took all those years to finally come out, which was caused by an extreme stress situation in 1992.

It took forever for me to face the truth that I needed help.
After all the help from the VA, VA medication protocols, veterans group counseling, going on a 20 plus year search for an alternative fix compared to the standard medical treatment, private psychiatrists (which misdiagnosed me, which means wrong medications) I can honestly tell you if the PTSD is severe it will never go away. But Life will get better.

Your boyfriend must talk it out with someone who has experience in PTDS. Talking to the Chief one time will not accomplish too much. You must make him talk to you about that night, no matter how hard it is for either of you. If you find He is not willing to seek help, you must be the leader & ask the Chief for a referral. You have to be strong in this matter, thank God my wife stood by me & made me talk to her & seek professional help. Out of the 20 plus vets in my VA counseling group I am the only one that is still married, only due to the loyalty & caring love of my wife.

I have carried on too long, later if you would like I will discuss what should be done besides counseling
(which has to be the first step) If he is not happy with the first, then he must find another. He must trust the therapist.

Good Luck, keep the Faith.

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replied June 9th, 2010
These emotions that he's experiencing from this event need to be released so that he and the memory can move on. This can be done fairly quickly because it is an isolated event. He does't have to go on carrying this around.

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replied October 8th, 2010
This is just my opinion so take it for what it is worth. I have been in the fire service for over 30 years. I have also been involved in investigations for 20 of those 30 years. In that time I have been involved with 21 fire fatalities. Due to being the lead investigator on these I had to attend the autopsies. My world has come crashing around my lately and had to enter a 12 day intensive out-patient program to deal with my issues. It took five days of going over my history before we realized that I have PTSD. I found this out after trying to deal with an addiction.

Trust me; he needs to see a trauma therapist. They deal specifically with trauma events which is what this was. I didnâspam�t thinking the old macho male thing and buried the events deep inside of me. To have been at the scene when someone died because you were not able to prevent it is more of a trauma event then what his chief or buddies are trained to deal with. He needs someone with training in this field to help him through it. I know that if I would have I would not be where I am now. This type of event is beyond what any human being can endure. It will be the best thing he will ever do for himself in his life.

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replied October 9th, 2010
This baggage that is being carried around is fairly easy to get rid of. I do it for people all the time. Getting rid of this type of stuff is what I do for a living.

The sooner you get rid of this stuff, the easier it is.

Let me give you an example: A fellow who became my client had a very serious car accident. He quite literally stared death in the face. The movie of this accident ran and re-ran in his head constantly. Couldn't sleep, couldn't concentrate, etc. Went to his doctor. Got drugs which didn't help much. Three weeks later the problem is still there, the movie still running. A mutual friend suggested he see me. He told me what had happened, it took all of 15 minutes and it was gone! It hasnâspam�t bothered him since. Cleaned up a few other things while we were at it.

It actually took longer for the introductions and for him to tell me about it than it did to get rid of it.

You really don't have to carry this baggage around if you don't want to.

Be well,

âspam�you canâspam�t change history, but you can change the future!âspam
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replied October 18th, 2010
Experienced User
Any form of trauma causes and wound in our brain and our heart. And they need to be healed immediately. If you let them fester then they will turn into a deeper sore.

I can say that FIREGUY has hit the nail on the head and all who have posted here and are still suffering from any form of anxiety, depression, or PTSD then you need a therapist.

I am an ex-Vietnam vet, been there and done it, but when I was able to speak to my therapist (physical or spiritual) I began to heal.

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replied October 24th, 2011
Some great stuff said. As a wife of a Firie with PTSD, it is so important to talk to someone a proffessional to get rif of the junk now. My hubby had 34 yrs worth of stuff to deal with. Each incident built upon the next until it all came crashing down. Encourage him as much as you can to seek help.
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replied December 24th, 2011
Hey y'all. after thoroughly reading this I have to come to understand some of my problem I was a junior fire fighter from age:17. I have suffered from p.t.s.d & schizophrenia for the last three years. the reason i said that about schizophrenia is simple for me the two are intertwined. I remember so very little about the last fire i was in. my doctor and therapist say that's my minds way of dealing with it. I have terrible nightmares about it, i cant sleep by the window anymore because i put my hand through it. my hunger has never been the same i have to force myself to eat anymore. I have bad depression. Whenever I have a "episode" which is the term my girlfriend uses. I see the little girl i lost. It has been rough but with the right diagnoses,proper medicine,and a therapist it can be manageable. I spent a lot of time in a mental home for suicide attempts. I go see my therapist once a week but with my background it is hard to trust anyone. if yea have any questions feel free to mail me, i'm on here often.
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