911 Wellness Foundation (www.911wellness.com), founded by JIM MARSHALL is revolutionizing our world of Public Safety Dispatch. Though there are many wonderful, websites, books, videos etc. that can help us during a crisis especially when we are deployed, 911WF is focused on us, the Public Safety Dispatch World we live in!
We are the very core of public safety, the lifeline to our community, to our field officers and department. But, more importantly you owe it to yourself, your family and loved ones.
Below is one of Jim’s thoughts on EMOTIONAL CODE… take a moment and do a self-affirmation of yours…
“One of the key objectives of the Foundation is to change the 911 culture’s “Emotional Code”–that is, what we believe about how we should deal with vulnerable emotions, like sadness, grief, and fear. In 911, as with police, fire-fighters and paramedics/EMT, the Emo-Code has always been “JUST STUFF IT…or SHOOT, SHOVEL, AND SHUT UP”. Underneath that is two things: the need to deal with tough stuff when it happens–fair enough: we can’t break down and sob when we’re trying to get the job done! (As a crisis therapist I can’t either!) Yet there’s also a belief, as you said, that “IT IS WEAK TO FEEL ALL THAT” or “IF I LET MYSELF FEEL ALL THAT I’M AFRAID I’LL….(you can fill in the blank). I teach 911Pros that we’re not made to hold all that inside. A toxic EMO-CODE is like Golden Frog Poison (1 drop kills 20 adults). Emotion is like Ginger-ale. Imagine both of these inside a balloon you keep shaking up. What’s gonna happen? KaBOOOM! Our bodies and minds are that balloon–and eventually we end up with depression,cynicism, chronic irritability, creating relationship problems and/or self-medicating to de-stress. The Foundation supports education that teaches our 911 pros that you can re-write that Emo-Code: “IT IS OKAY, WISE TO FACE HARD EMOTIONS IN MY LIFE, AND GET SUPPORT…” …Do you think 911 as a culture does have its own EMO-CODE?”
In fact it probably takes far more energy to beat yourself up; we know from studies that negative emotions drain out inner battery while feeling (not just thinking about) positive emotions like gratitude or love, actualy recharge our battery fuel. Resilience-the ability to adapt, sustain, and reset after tuff stuff. BUT! have you ever told somebody who really struggles with self-esteem that they should just be “nicer” or kinder to themselves? A study published ths month in the journal Psychologist (Great Britain) found that while saying positive things to ourselves works for folks with good self-esteem but actually leaves folks with low self-esteem feeling worse! (see http://www.psychologytoday/…/do-selfaffirmations )
What’s the answer? First, is that you consider seeking the help you deserve and need. If you are the friend, don’t keep trying to convince your pal their amazing. Instead consider offering: ” I know it’s hard for you to accept positive stuff about you” and if they are really depressed, encourage him/her to try some EMDR therapy (http://www.emdria.org)
Take our Self Inventory
Feeling Courageous? Willing to explore your own Emo-Code? Try this self-inventory. And remember, if you want to send me a confidential email about your thoughts, feel free to do that! Remember, 911 is not only a job–it’s FAMILY! Peace to you.