PTSD and Perspective

PTSD and Perspective
This is not what you might expect as a post with PTSD in the title. Like many of you, I have had my times where the stress of this job took its toll. It was a heavy toll, but one I was willing to pay. Like most of the fire fighters I have ever met, worked with, or trained, I shared the common trait of the calling. I felt called to this work; even as a volunteer, this was my career. It was a true calling: a feeling that at any given time, I belonged in the chaos, the muck, and the difficult places. Deep down, that perspective, that feeling, sustained me through many a dark night.
Stress means focus
There was never really any guide about how to deal with the hardest events in real time. Every tool given to me was generally focused on how to fix a stress-related behavior (i.e., a ‘disorder’) after the fact. Even that help was a long way off at times, and took extreme measures for me to accept it. The same lesson always came to light, though. Whether it came years after an incident or sooner, the truth remained the same. The only way out of it was through it.

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

There is a reason this sounds like a cliché. The only way to deal with job-related stress was to walk into it, head held high, and walk out the other side having honored every emotion the event brought to me. The good, the bad, and the ugly; the fears, the pain, and the sadness: growth required that I digest all of if it. Otherwise, I was stuck in emotional indigestion – a.k.a, PTSD. So, when I finally accepted that, I started looking into how I could take those experiences and use them. After all, no event ever goes away. We simply make peace with it after we have learned the lesson our brain is searching for. The trick is to learn the lessons.
Learning from stress
It took years to develop the job stress skill set I now use. It took dedication and commitment and research. I learned how the brain works under stress, especially our stress. That was the start of The Fire Asylum. The subsequent training model that developed from this research helps you to train yourself how to use stress to your advantage. Our minds and bodies’ reactions to stress are useful and, in fact, offer many advantages, not merely a “disordered” or dysfunctional outcome.

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

This is how
Remember that feeling of fire fighting being a calling we all share? We start with that. We work your skill set, guide you into your fears, let you experience that pain at a level you can handle, and introduce you to the fire fighter you were meant to be.Think about that for one minute. What if you could learn key lessons about stress before you face it on the fire ground? After using The Fire Asylum training on the behaviors that surround your skill set, your mind is free to use any skill at any given time, under great stress and even extreme fatigue. Chaos is only chaotic when the brain does not have an answer for the event. After The Fire Asylum’s course, your brain will have more answers – and you will keep adding answers, yourself! You will view every incident as another valuable learning point. You will begin to close the gap between a difficult event and that point when you process the event; eventually you will be able to understand the stress in a real-time feedback loop. As you go forward, this enables you to make quick, accurate, survival-based decisions during each event itself. This course requires a combination of lecture, feedback, and hands-on drills. We will push you. We will challenge you to make new connections and thrive on opportunity. We will be there supporting every step of your experience in The Fire Asylum. There are no easy days in the fire service, as there are no easy days on our training field but every minute is worth the price of admission. Maybe, just maybe, learning about stress and how to use it to your advantage can be one small step away from stress disorder and one step towards opportunity and growth. You can choose to grow stronger. The Fire Asylum waits.

Marty Mayes.


Marty Mayes is a 25 year veteran of the fire service, serving in north Texas.During his career Marty also served as a police officer and EMT.  Marty retired from active service in 2010 and started the training company The Fire Asylum, where he works to this day.

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