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  • Dealing with trauma

    September of this year I was a witness to a shooting and I was pretty surprised how much it effected me. I went from thinking my neighborhood was safe to feeling insecure in my apartment, which is right across the street from where it happened. What do you guys do to deal with events such as this to deal with the trauma?

  • #2
    Most of the trauma we see doesn't directly affect us or our families. Some truma even when we don't know the people or the area can have an effect. You don't dwell on it, everyone has thier own ways of handling things and dealing with it. I got used to most of the bad things i see.

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    • #3
      Suck it up, deal with it, and hope you dont end up crazy by the time you retire.

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      • #4
        Events of this type effect people in many different ways. I'm not qualified medically to advise you. At the risk of sounding smart,I'd suggest two things. Move to another location if possible. If the "trauma" continues, consider seeking medical help.

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        • #5
          Moving may resolve the fact that you are not reminded of the shooting everyday, but remember, crime happens everywhere. Do you know if it was a random street crime or what? I thought guns were against the law up North.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the tips. And yes, it's just another thing to bring up with my therapist. The crazy thing is, even though I've seen more than my fair share for a cop's kid (when I was small we had one of our windows shot out, a bike gang in town threatened my Dad they'd kidnap us, so we were driven to and from school for over a month, I could go on and on). So ya, I grew up crusty and aware, I was just surprised by this. It probably didn't help I was the first one out to help him and ran out of my place so fast I forgot my shoes.

            To answer your question just joe, guns seem to seep over the border and we have had a really bad problem with gang shootings this year, 67 so far. This is Vancouver for you, drugs go South and guns come North. And as far as I know they don't know for sure if this is gang related and have never caught the guys. So I'll just suck it up and keep going.

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            • #7
              Might be time to move.

              Your home should be a refuge from stress, not the source.

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              • #8
                Gore and loss and such have never really bothered me, and I think working as a paramedic as well as an officer have made me even more callous to it. I thought so anyway. However, there are instances now where I find things to be more sad than I used to. Perhaps it's maturity. I don't lose sleep over it though.

                For a fictitious example, I watched the movie Death Sentence a few months ago featuring Kevin Bacon. After watching it I thought to myself that I wish I hadn't seen it and that there was no point for me seeing more innocent people lose their lives needlessly. Alternatively, I think maybe even just a year ago that I'd have only been gladded that he killed the bad guys at the end.

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                • #9
                  There is a perceived threat and an actual threat. Since the shooting happened across the street it increases the perceived threat, while your actual threat remains the same. Moving will most likely not help, if you fixate on the threats in the new area. Therapy will help, but unless you engage in risky behavior your threat level is not any higher than it was before the shooting.
                  Ut humiliter opinor

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                  • #10
                    For the most part, it doesn't effect us emotionally because it doesn't effect us personally. There are exceptions, and there are times where someone else's emotions on a call take a toll on ours, but usually a deep breath and getting the day over with takes care of it.

                    If things do get to LEO emotionally, and stick in there for more than a day or so, it's time to see someone... and luckily most agencies provide someone (and most agencies allow you to see them anonymously).

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                    • #11
                      CISM and peer support.....

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                      • #12
                        Well I'm glad to hear that most agencies supply some sort of therapist or counsellor for you guys if you need it. As much as you try to normalize your job, you do see some pretty horrendous things and there should be an avenue to talk about it if you need to. That is why I've always considered cops quite exceptional people. And based on a lot of my father's stories I know you can't just leave it at work sometimes.

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                        • #13
                          Drink..... lots j/k
                          Seriously though, some people never been subjected to violence. Movies are cool and all but nothing prepares you for that type of situation. First step accept it. Crap happens, often to good people. More often to bad people.
                          Step two- don't let it hinder you in any way. Continue mission and drive on. You have a life, things you enjoy, goals you want to achieve.
                          Step Three- Confront Conquer your fears and misgivings. View what you would normally think unveiwable. Open your mind up to the reality that the world is not rainbows and sunshine.
                          Four- Don't let it get you down. Tomorrow is another day. Do what you can to survive, enjoy life, remind yourself that it was an incident that you witnessed was not you. The person who was shot probablly was into stuff that your not. If it was a random act of violence remind yourself you got a better chance of being mangled in a car wreck than gunned down in a parking lot.

                          As for my experience got one year on the beat. 7 years military. Including taking part in Operation Phantom Fury Nov. 2004, the largest urban combat operation America has been involved in since Wei City Veitnam 1968. Seen some grizzly stuff. Anyway good luck
                          Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

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                          • #14
                            That's what I keep telling myself, that it is a random act, because I actually do live in a good neighborhood in the city and it's not like the daily shootings out in Surrey. Want to hear the creepy thing? I have precognition and dreamt it four months before it happened. And like I said before, it's not like I haven't seen bad stuff before, see posts above. Including seeing a guy fun over by a five ton right at my feet, the victim of a robbery when I was working in college...blah, blah...just suffice I've seen more than most civilians have for some reason.

                            I don't know how you guys in the military do it. BTW, I visited Vietnam back in 1998 and it seemed they still hadn't seen many white people since the war. Thank god I could speak French.

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                            • #15
                              I am from the lower mainland (Vancouver area). Are you kidding me about nice areas in Vancouver? Vancouver has got to be the most over-rated city in the world (in my opinion), the crime there is unbeleivable, you can't drive anywhere, a HUGE chunk of it is populated by drug abusers and hookers. Yuck, that city disgusts me lol. There is some fast paced "great looking" areas, but the city itself is just bad. Of course you may be subject to witness shootings there...did you just come out of your cave?

                              BTW in Canada guns are legal and can be purchased by permit holders but cannot be open/conceal carried by every joe blow like the states. They can be used for hunting/range shooting etc, and there are regulations on how to transport them via vehicle etc. But you walk on the street with one holstered on your person without a badge and you are in for it.

                              P.S My statements on Vancouver are what I admit to be biased in a way as I hate the city life in general but to the OP, seriously give your head a shake. You live in a city!

                              Edit: Just realized this was ask a cop, although I do hold a badge as a CO, I don't think my post was consistent with forum rules, for that I appologize.
                              Last edited by Federal CO; 10-26-2009, 09:26 AM.

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