What First Responders Teach Us About Cumulative Stress

A firefighter/EMS individual I recently saw reported that he had been on the job since he was 18 years old. He recognized that over time and relatively immediately that his cumulative stress impaired his relationships and ability to relate to others. He was having a challenging time maintaining a long-term intimate relationship because he would waver between being irritable and aggressive and becoming cut off and emotionally distant. He described being one of the first on the scene of two car accidents which I was familiar with where children were sadly killed.

Just listening to his story brought up profoundly sad visceral feelings within me. I could only imagine how it impacted him over time....

Keywords: 
Accidents, Acute Stress Disorder, Children, Crisis Intervention, Death of Child, Depressive Disorders, Employees, Fire Fighters, Mental health, Mental health care, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (en), Stressors, Suicidality, Traumatic events, Vulnerability