Is "stress leave" justified

And here we are. Its October 15th, the dry wind is blowing. Its getting hot again, a staffing pattern reinstated. The Smokey sky has cleared, the apocalyptic grey gone for now.

As I meet with clients, those in the Fire service, LE and citizens, I hear all day long about the pain of the last few months. We talk about how difficult it feels to stay present. How coming home is so highly anticipated, then getting home is challenging. I hear about the dread of going to back to work, because of the what ifs....What if there is another fire, what if the existing fires blow out, "what if I get held on for another 40 days", difficulty sleeping, although exhausted, difficulty with kids who have missed their absent parent and are testing the parent of caregiver that has been home alone.

Sound stressful? Perhaps this is all too familiar.

So when is it important to take a time out? To take care of yourself, and to do this even though you are supposed to be working.

I say, when being at work is HURTING YOU.

Work can be demanding, it can be tiring, it can be frustrating, it can be overwhelming even. However, if it is HURTING you, it may be time to take care of yourself.

Although there is growing awareness surrounding emotional health. It is still difficult for some to understand emotional injury. When a person breaks their leg, everyone understands. Of course you can't work as a police officer with a broken leg...well, there isn't anyone else to cover....okay, but you still cant work with a broken leg. We need more awareness that emotional injury is very similar- the only difference is that it is not always visible from the outside. People can hide their emotional injury and pain. In fact many of us are masters at doing so.

How do you know if you have a significant emotional injury?

You feel sad, scared, hypervigilant, anxious, exhausted, shut off, overwhelmed, angry, irritable, wound up or nothing and you can't figure out why. Or maybe you know why, but nothing seems to help.

You aren't able to enjoy activities, pets, and/or people that you care about.

You find yourself using drugs (yes, weed included), alcohol, sex, for and /or spending ,money you shouldn't.

You find yourself isolating, not wanting to be around others.

and the list goes on...

These feelings may or may not be related to work. However, if your work involves exposure to traumatic events, involving you, or secondarily involving you, Ill bet its related.

One of the most rue statements I have ever heard is this "If three people who love you tell you something, listen"

Go, check with those three people, ask them is they see you seem different, and listen to them.

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