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I am a 42 y/o male that was diagnosed with PTSD 6 months ago after my wife discovered cuts and encouraged me to go to a shrink. I am hoping I can relate to someone.

I am so confused, I don't know really what happened to me. I have never had a phyc issues of any kind. My Dr/Shrink says it is due to my career as a Firefighter. He said it is from all the bad I have seen and delt with. I have told him multiple times that the bad stuff doesn't really bother me unless it involves kids. He said it is probably from one or more of the drownings of a child, or from the suicides.

So the confusing part is why do I think of suicide constantly and why did I start cutting myself. I am supposed to be able to handle this shit.

Anyway I know I am rambling. I guess it is because I am so confused. The doctor doesn't seem to worried about me cutting, he just tells me not to cut deep wtf. I think he is more worried about my suicidal thoughts/ideas. His worry is due to my medical background/skills, I have just enough training to keep you alive, but have enough knowlege to easily kill. I have told him that the cutting stops the thoughts and levels me out.

So here is the problem. I really want to stop cutting, but it helps me from doing something stupid.

Last night was particularly bad after a few nightmares, I really wanted to cut but didn't want to disappoint my wife, she always finds out of course. So instead I thought I would practice on of my newest suicide ideas. Like a practice run to see if it would work. So now I am really scared because it was so easy, way to easy. I bled out 1/2 liter in a cup in less than 2 min. Of course that's not nearly enough bit it was way to easy. Now I am afraid it is something I may try again when I want to cut again.

Sorry for the rambling on. Just for info I am on meds for PTSD, but they don't always work. The doctor said I should quit my job, again wtf.

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Hi Pyro.


Welcome to CB.


I'm sorry to hear you're having such a hard time of things lately.


I think it can be a little confusing to have a health care provider seem less concerned about self harm. But like you said, it's current function for you is that it's keeping you from acting on suicidal thoughts and urges. So in that sense, your doc is working a "harm reduction" strategy with you. Ultimately, the goal would be to get to a place where you felt like you didn't need to self harm any more because you have fewer suicidal urges and other, more effective ways of managing your distress.


I am also very concerned about the fact that you've rehearsed a suicide method. That shortens the distance between you being dead and you being alive. What steps can you take to make it harder for you to act? Can you give the tools needed for your plan to someone else to hold on to for you?


The idea that one is "supposed to be able to handle" the emotional intensity of being a first-responder to emergency situations is an unhelpful judgment. In some ways, it makes you more in touch with being fully human that you DO experience distress from the things  you've seen and dealt with in the course of your job. I know there's a lot of ego-investment in "being a tough guy". And sometimes the hardest thing to do is to ask for help and let yourself receive help.


Also, it's not your personal failure or fuckup on your part, you know? It's brain wiring and neurotransmitters... would you tell someone they are "just supposed to be able to handle" cancer or epilepsy?


It sucks to have people suggest that taking a break from work is the best thing. And unfortunately, sometimes it is the best thing.


I was working with kids who had been adjudicated as sex offenders the first time I burned out, and emergency room social work the second time I burned out. I was immensely fortunate to be able to qualify for SSDI when I got to the point where I just absolutely could not function in my job anymore. Even though SSDI considers you "permanently disabled" there's no reason that has to stay true forever. After a three year break and some good, hard work on my own stuff, I was able to return to work full time in emergency mental health. I've been back at it for more than two years now, and seems like things are continuing to go well.


So I guess what I'm getting at is that sometimes a break can help if you use it to regroup and get some enhanced skills for handling the intense stuff you have to deal with on a daily basis when you're a first responder. And a break from work doesn't mean you're "broken".  If it's an option, can you request a transition to a lower-stress position temporarily while you work some things out?


But you also have to stay alive long enough to give yourself the opportunity to get those enhanced skills (at this point, I think I have self-care superpowers!). I hope that you do whatever you need to do to stay alive and get some better help for yourself. Because the world needs you in it.


Meds for PTSD do seem to be pretty hit or miss, unfortunately. Slurroquel was a godsend when I needed it, but I am also REALLY glad I don't need it anymore.


Hang in there!


And please keep us updated as you feel able.

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Thanks for listening.

Started the day off with a bad call. I can't say anything for fear it would show up in a google search and make it easy for someone to discover me. But it involved death and gore. The smells are the worst part.

I appreciate your advice, and the work you do in emergency mental health. Next week I have an appointment with a therapist to discuss EMDR therapy. As for giving my tools/devices for my plans to someone else. I am a Fire/Paramedic I would just get more supplies. It was just a 18 guage IV catheter. You can figure probably figure out what I did now. As for plans I have none I was just experimenting. If it was a plan I would be committed. I am always very careful when I talk to my shrink. If I was committed it would be a nightmare I know too many people in emergency medicine. I am the one that convinces my patients to self commit. LOL

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It's (kind of ironically) tough to get help when you are embedded in the system - I am in a health care field as well and it has prevented me from going to the hospital even when it might have benefited me.  At the same time - it really is better to be alive and uncomfortable/humiliated than dead, even if it doesn't seem that way at the time.


I am glad that you have an appointment to get some therapy.  Good for you for taking that proactive step.

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Welcome, Pyro and thanks for talking about your experience.

I don't have that much to add, but Wooster gave an amazing response. Two things that I'd like to mention. one is that there are other mature folks here who engage in SH. The second being that I really appreciate first responders and medical personnel who care.

Finally, I have to admit that I got woozy reading about the cannula; just FYI you can always add a trigger warning before those parts.

Best wishes and welcome again.

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Dealing with death and gore in real life is much less glamorous than in the movies, for sure.


I'm glad you're able to stay safe for now.


If it's going to be tricky to keep you from getting access to means, then it's probably a really good idea to do things like focus on reasons for living... things to hold on to when it seems like it's all falling apart.


EMDR is really helpful for some people. I hope it works for you... and that the person you're working with does a good job of anchoring and helping you have safe places before you start.


There were definitely times that I probably should have been inpatient, but I worked in such a small area that I would have ended up in the IPU that I was constantly trying to get patients admitted to. We ended up hiring a home health care worker for a while to keep track of me when Mr W had to go to work. That was helpful and a lot less expensive than an IPU stay.


Are there any professional association hotlines/help lines or other resources that you could connect with? People who really get your work situation? If there were a statewide or national association help line might you feel like that's enough anonymity to try to connect?

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I am a little worried about the EMDR after I read your comments. Honestly I don't know much about EMDR. Why would I need anchoring and safe places.

If anyone has tips on how to deal with the nightmares I would appreciate it. They are so bad sometimes I wake up not knowing were I am, shaky and sweaty.

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Well, EMDR is a type of exposure therapy, which means you will be asked to talk about upsetting things. Having safe ways to remember that you are right here, right now is a critical component of making sure EMDR doesn't make things worse.


Grounding and reorienting after nightmares can be a similar skillset...

like if you have a wedding ring or a special object that you can keep on you or nearby to help you remember where you are and when it is. Special smells are good for that too. Pets and/or significant other cuddles are helpful for some people.


Just some fast off the cuff thoughts.

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**TW** I want to cut so bad right now. I already did this afternoon. I think I feel like this because of the screwed up call I had the other day, My department didn't even send out a CISM team. I keep taking showers I feel like death is on me (how fucked up is that). I know it affected a few of the guys because they keep bringing it up. I feel like Gods toy puppet and he is just screwing with me for his humor. I want to cut the fucking strings just to fuck up his little show. I have told my wife for years that God needs to go back to the drawing board and reengineer the back. I would now add that he also needs to rethink his poor brain design. I would have never thought this would happen to me. I have seen this happen with other people, and now it's happening to me. I hate nights, the suicidal thoughts get so strong. I hate nights I can't sleep and if I do I will have nightmares.

Sorry, I had to vent, I just need the Ambien to kick in so I can sleep for a couple of hours then I will feel better.

Edited by Pyro3999
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  • 4 weeks later...


I cant imagine how tough your job is. I myself had a house fire. It really really set me off. I cant imagine being you. I lived this once you do this for a living.

You are able to understand the people you are saving may need some professional advice/help from their one event.you are a hero. Im so glad you are alive and glad your here. You are here because you know your a hero worth saving.

I know its not the same but I lost a very important kitty of 16 years in that fire. I remember his face everyday, the last glance I had. I cant imagine being you but im so glad that somebody like you was with my family the day of our fire. Everybody else survived. It was sad but without you guys I would have lost absolutly everything.

You live my nightmare everyday. Its ok to take a break from it (from work, the nightmares are different) Its not weakness or defeat. You are very strong and habe done very well. Know that you are worth it. Wooster is solid you will find a lot of help in all members.

I find the chat room helps me. Sometimes to talk and for help others for distraction.

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