“We are all affected by First Responders, whether we know it or not. They have the drive and passion to make a difference in our communities every day. Their lives should be fulfilling, instead they’re losing their lives.”Captain Dan Willis
Imagine a day at work, when every person you encounter lies to you. Imagine they run from you, or call you names like “pig”. Imagine those people who do approach you are confrontational and violent.
As your day goes on, you encounter someone recently deceased…. a child…. the victim of a fatal traffic accident or medical emergency. Imagine your goal is to make life better for people, but no one respects you, thanks you, or gives you compassionate support.
How would you feel after just one day of such emotional trauma?
Our guest this past Tuesday was Captain Dan Willis, a retired La Mesa California police officer. His days…. every day for 26 years…were filled with emotional trauma investigating the most heinous aspects of life:
- Crimes of violence
- Child Molestation
- Serial Killers
- SWAT Team Standoffs
“You become a victim of the profession. The job not only affects you, but your colleagues, and community. Suicide is the number one cause of death for First Responders. It accounts for more than all other deaths combined. Half the people who start their careers as First Responders never finish.”Captain Dan Willis
Emotional trauma for First Responders may result in:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Sleep disorders
- Detached emotions
- Uncaring behavior
- Lack of connection in relationships
- Over reaction to normal events
- Anger and irritation
“Any one of these symptoms is a red flag. If you notice a change in the personality of a loved one – take notice.”Captain Dan Willis
Captain Dan Willis has written a book: Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart.
His literary work contains more than 40 wellness strategies for anyone dealing with any trauma, and we ALL experience trauma multiple times during our life.
Captain Dan’s methods should be part of OUR everyday healing.
“We should build resilience, and experience constant wellness. Bulletproof your inner spirit so you won’t be crippled by trauma.”Captain Dan Willis
Healing from his own PTSD, Captain Dan explained his treatment included EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
Since PTSD is an injury to the brain, you can recover from it. In fact, it only took one miracle treatment with EMDR for Captain Dan to be able to remember all the trauma he’d experienced and not go into the deep, dark thoughts he would before the treatment.
I learned so much about PTSD, and how trauma injures the brain. Captain Dan is educating First Responders and the rest of us about very important aspects of healing.
You think YOU have bad days?
“When we kiss our spouse goodbye to go to work each day, we think to ourselves, ‘I hope I get to see you again.‘”Captain Dan Willis
The next time you have opportunity to interact with a First Responder, please express your appreciation. Consider the sacrifice they make for you every day.
“Think about how precious life is. The way to experience the most, and be fulfilled is to be loving, caring and compassionate. Have a purpose beyond yourself. Take meaningful action for others and be helpful.”Captain Dan Willis