What's it really like to be a firefighter in the OKC bombing?

The day after the OKC bombing, a photo made headlines in newspapers across the world that captured the tragedy of that day. The photo was OKC Firefighter Chris Fields carrying, 1-year old Baylee Almon, who was killed in the blast. The memories of that day nearly ended Chris Fields' life.

I originally wanted to air this podcast with Chris during the 25thAnniversary of the bombing. I chose to hold off because this podcast is more than a story from that fateful day that we will never forget. Chris Fields’ story is an emotional look at the harsh reality of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is real, and it ruins lives every single day. The good news is, there is help for those who ask for it. If you have PTSD, I hope his story lets you see that you are not alone. If you know someone who struggles with PTSD, I hope you won’t give up on them.

Signs you may be struggling with PTSD after directly experiencing, witnessing, or learning of a traumatic event that occurred to a loved one.

-Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories or dreams.

-Flashbacks of the traumatic event.

-Avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about the event.

-Avoidance of external reminders, such as people, places, conversations, or situations.

– Negative alterations in cognition and mood associated with the traumatic events

-Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event.

-Negative beliefs or expectations about oneself and a persistent negative emotional state.

-Persistent inability to experience positive emotions.

-Reckless self-destructive behavior, hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, and sleep disturbances.

(Information retrieved from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

Photo Credit: Chris Fields

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