PTSD

Juanote

The sound of one hand fapping
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Apr 5, 2013
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794
Hi there. Looking for some general advice on how to help a friend with PTSD. He’s an LEO who took a man’s life in the line of duty nearly 10 years ago. So far it has cost him a marriage, years of coping via alcohol, and now that he’s finally been diagnosed possibly his working life. He has approached me for help in coping with what he’s been dealing with, to be a sounding board sure but also someone who will give the best advice he can.

I know more than a few of you have been there or seen it in your own lives, and realize the stakes here. What do you know, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what is your take on the best way to handle this situation. This fellow isn’t overly introspective by nature but he trusts me to give him good advice, and I want to speak (humbly as possible) out of the experience of trustworthy people, not just what I can learn from Google and YouTube.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
 

Breedy

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So assuming he his still working he should have access to some sort of employee assistance program, which I assume he wants to avoid. What every Union/Patrolman's Organization he belongs to should have contact info for someone who will be familiar with these sort of situations. The State LEO organization may have a team to provide assistance as well. Your goal should be to get him to seek professional help. Reaching out is a positive but healing is a long-term process.

The best thing you can do is be a good friend. The drinking and other issues are likely going to require assistance beyond what you can provide. However, what you can do is provide rides/accountability/stability. These things are significant and are vital for a positive outcome.

I am trained in Critical Incident Stress Management and Peer support. I am not even close to a counselor, just a firefighter with a little bit of extra training designed to help out other guys having a hard time.
 

jfields

Where did all my money go?
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Sending you a PM brother! Jonathan Montoya’s (Souldog) best friend and fellow LEO wants to speak with you. Probably best to talk in person on a phone than through messaging. I told him about this and he was quick to respond. Good luck! We all wish him the best and are in your corner.
 

H. Vachon

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Not sure about your state laws, but in Michigan it is a requirement by law for any Law Enforcement agency/ emergency service provider to provide professional counseling to their employees.

Also, group meetings can be incredibly helpful. I’ve been to many “stress debriefings” with the fire department after exceptionally tough calls. The reason I bring up the group is, most people in LE/Emergency services feel that they have to have the macho man attitude and think they shouldn’t let anything bother them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Being in a group setting allows you to realize that you are not ‘the only one’ or ‘the weak link’.

Outside of professional help, I agree with Breedy. Be a good friend and listen. I would suggest avoiding trying to offer you own perspective to him. Just listen and encourage. I pray your friend get the help and relief that he deserves.
 

Juanote

The sound of one hand fapping
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Messages
794
Thanks for the replies and support offered, just to fill in a few more details he is on short term disability or something like it and is getting some type of treatment and counseling. The main thing I heard that concerned me is that since he has stopped the alcohol that severe nightmares and an inability to sleep have popped up out of nowhere. They have been throwing pills at it so far but he said they either don’t work or turn him into a zombie. This sounds like a crisis to me but unfortunately I’m out of town for another three weeks due to work. I did talk to him again tonight and he said he was reaching out to a number of friends and colleagues as well as his family so he isn’t just out there on his own. He says the thing that helps most at this point is just talking about it with people he trusts. Mainly I am trying to listen and offer hope and encouragement, but I am also concerned that he gets the most effective help possible.

Thanks again.
 

kann

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Agree 100% with Breedy. As a friend, be a listener and a shoulder; there's not much more you can do, personally -- and believe me... he'll appreciate it. He needs professional counseling, which it sounds like he is getting. That is good. If he's just started counseling, the nightmares are normal, as bad memories (some he didn't even know he had) are being dredged up. Hopefully they will pass in time. He just needs to stay with the counseling/therapy. Just be there for him to sound off whenever he needs a friend to talk to. You don't have to be physically present, either. Make time/day appointments for when you will call him, rather than just, "I'll call next time I can...". Knowing he's eventually going to hear your voice is more comforting than just an open-ended waiting by the phone.

I'll be keeping you both in my thoughts. Best of luck. You are a good friend.
 

H. Vachon

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You also mentioned the symptoms worsened since he quit using alcohol. Assuming that was just recently; nightmares, inability to sleep, headaches, nausea, general weakness, as well as many more are severe but common symptoms of withdrawal. If he has been using alcohol heavily for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t surprise me that he’s going through that.

Nick also brought up a super valid point. Therapists are trained to recall even the most repressed memories. The mind is such a vast and unknown topic.

Im relieved to hear that he is getting help. Admitting that he needed help and seeking it is one of, if not, the biggest hurdles he will face. Please keep us updated. You both have my thoughts and prayers
 

AVB

Jesus of Cool, I'm bad, I'm nationwide
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While not a LEO but a combat vet he has to get some help yesterday. You do not want to be doubting yourself when people are depending on you. Now I can't feel empathy because it hasn't affected me that way I can feel sympathy. If the condition is as you describe he is a danger to the public and to himself at the moment.
 

Breedy

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You also mentioned the symptoms worsened since he quit using alcohol. Assuming that was just recently; nightmares, inability to sleep, headaches, nausea, general weakness, as well as many more are severe but common symptoms of withdrawal. If he has been using alcohol heavily for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t surprise me that he’s going through that.

Nick also brought up a super valid point. Therapists are trained to recall even the most repressed memories. The mind is such a vast and unknown topic.

Im relieved to hear that he is getting help. Admitting that he needed help and seeking it is one of, if not, the biggest hurdles he will face. Please keep us updated. You both have my thoughts and prayers
Yes wading through the dependency issues really complicates the issue. Getting his head straight, and keeping his job, is going to require getting sober. Getting sober, in all likelihood, is going to mess with his head since the alcohol was for self-medication. Its really a vicious cycle.

I'm only a PM/text message/phone call away for anyone. I know I am not as active as I used to be on this board but I still lurk.

Brandon
 

H. Vachon

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@Juanote Hey bud, just checking in. Hoping to hear some good news/update about your friend! I’m still thinking about him and spending positive thoughts 😎
 

Juanote

The sound of one hand fapping
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
794
Thanks. As I said I’m out of town. I’ve spoken with him over the phone a few times, he’s having to deal with workers comp issues right now because I think short term disability or whatever he was on is about to run out. But I think he’s in good shape there. Also he just had to put his dog down the other day which hit him pretty hard. I’m in touch with people who are checking on him & I’ve passed on the info that was given to me. I don’t know if he’s done anything with that however.
 
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