Your are an emergency services worker who has experienced a traumatic event or critical incident. This refers to any incident that causes emergency services personnel to experience unusually strong emotional reactions, which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function, either at the scene or later.
Even though the event is over, you may now be experiencing or may experience later, some strong emotional or physical reaction. It is very common, and in fact quite normal, for people to experience emotional aftershocks when they have passed through a horrible event.
Sometimes the emotional aftershocks (or stress reactions) appear immediately after the traumatic event. Sometimes they occur a few hours or a few days later. And, in some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions appear.
The sign and symptoms of a stress reaction may last a few days, a few weeks or a few months and occasionally longer, depending on the severity of the trauma.
With understanding and the support of loved ones, the stress reactions usually pass more quickly. Occasionally, the traumatic event is so painful that professional assistance from a counsellor may be necessary. This does not imply craziness or weakness. It simply indicates that the particular event was just too powerful for the person to manage by themselves.
Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, twitches, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, shock symptoms, grinding of teeth, visual difficulties, profuse sweating, difficulty breathing etc.
*Any of these symptoms may indicate the need for medical evaluation. When in doubt, contact a physician.
Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, blaming someone, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/decisions, poor concentration/memory, disorientation of time, place or person, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, increased or decreased awareness of surroundings, etc.
Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, intense anger, apprehension, emotional shock, emotional outbursts, feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, inappropriate emotional response, etc.
Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, change in social activity, change in speech patterns, loss or increase of appetite, hyper alertness to environment, increased alcohol consumption, change in usual communications, etc.
Anger at God, questioning of basic beliefs, withdrawal from place of worship, faith practices and rituals seem empty, loss of meaning and purpose, uncharacteristic religious involvement, sense of isolation from God, anger at clergy, etc.