Please welcome Terrance Joseph Kosikar to the BC Legislature

Member of the Legisltive Assembly – Shane Simpson welcomes Terrance Joseph Kosikar to the BC Legislature.

POWER OF THOUGHT – “Please welcome, Terrance to the Legislature”

One hour after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was over, most of Canada was cheering, and celebrating.

Unable to bare the overwhelming amount of guilt, shame, and the unforgiving feelings of depression and anxiety that had built up every time I heard a cow bell dinging, or saw a yet another happy face walk by as they cheered, I had left the track that night and chose to die by suicide..

4 days later, I sat in my doctors office, wondering why in the hell I had spent so many years risking my life to respond to the public’s Emergencies, and out of nowhere, here I was trying to die by suicide?

My doctor says to me, “ I think you may have PTSD”. This was the first time I had ever heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He then referred me to a physciatrist for a professional diagnosis.

Problem was, the shrink only came to Whistler once every 3 months. So in the meantime, I was handed a few perscriptions to try and prevent me from trying to end my life again.

By the time shrinky poo came to town, 3 months later, do you think I wanted to say anything to this woman?

I didn’t know her, I didn’t trust her, I didnt believe in her, I was so heavily medicated, believe me, she was the last person on earth I was about to tell my homicidal thoughts or my suicidal feelings to.

The last thing I wanted was to be sentenced or diagnosed with a “DISORDER”.

It’s bad enough that my father spent his entire life housed in an institute for the criminally insane, Its certainly not where I wanted to end up also.

I tried to be the tough guy, and mask my feelings, hide my true thoughts, and avoid putting all my nightmares on the table in fear of her having me committed to a nut house for the rest of my life.

BIG MISTAKE

1 year later, I found myself checking into the Vancouver Detox Center, after being fired from my job at Whistler Sport Legaices for “not acting the same since the Olympics”, and for abusing the drugs (meds) that the doctors had me jacked up on that entire year to, “numb the pain, the feelings, the thoughts”.

I hadn’t eaten anything over those Christmas holidays, and had been violently puking blood uncontrollably before checking into detox that New Years day.

I was advised by the bosses at Sport Legacies (as they were firing me) to make a claim with WCB, for a workplace injury.

They had told me that PTSD is a workplace injury and that they would take good care of me the same as they took care of a few other employees that had been working during the games who also filed for PTSD .

At this point, I still had no idea what PTSD was, nor did I feel it was an injury. I assumed like most people do, that an injury is obvious. I mean I had been a First Responder for over 7 years, and never have I ever heard of this sort of injury, or it’s signs, or symptoms, nor how to respond to it, or treat it.

After years of jumping through the BS hogwash hoops like a circus monkey, with the loss of my careers, my livelyhood, the loss of my friends and family, on top of being dragged through a system that looks great proceedurly on paper but in real life is the most crooked, smoke and mirror show I have ever seen. Along wth many attempts at ending my life, self drugged and heavily medicated until I lost everything and ended up not even knowing who I was or why I was …

27 Chapters later …

Just last year, during our Breaking the Chains BC – PTSD Awareness program, I had opened up my Worksafe BC Occupational First Aid Level 3 book, and flipped through over 500 pages and couldn’t find ONE SINGLE SECTION, page or even the word PTSD in it.

Just so happened only a few days later, I was doing a radio interview on 101.5 Whistler FM, when the lady interviewing me mentioned how only days earlier a man named Shane Simpson MLA – Vancouver Hastings had just tabled Bill M203, Presumption of Illness, an amendment to the 2016 Workers Compensation Act .

(those were actually pretty big words for a guy like me, and really had no idea what any of it really meant.)

I had the next 27km of flipping my tire over 7 mountains to think about this man, and how amazing it would be to one day meet him.

I wanted more than anything in the world to just have 5 minutes of his time, to let him know first hand just how vital it is to all Emergency Service Providers that this Bill he had introduced gets passed.

With each flip of my tire, I would always lower my head though, knowing I am really just a nobody, just a ol washed up First Responder who lost his job, lost his family, I had no money, no pull, no status, still eating food bank donations, and I didn’t even own a cell phone.

Pffft, as if a guy like him, a politician, a Member of the Legislative Assembly would ever in a million years EVER, even have 1 second to look down at me, let alone – know I even existed on this earth.

I used to day dream over and over that one day, maybe just one day, I would be somebody, somebody special enough to get to cross paths with this man and or his team.

With these days dreams in mind, these postive goals and dreams put out to the universe each day, with each meditation. I had received an email from a man named Jim McCallistar, Director or British Columbia Search and Rescue who wanted to meet us to help flip our tire while in Victoria.

While talking with Jim outside the Legislature Building, Shane Simpson came outside to invite myself and our teammates into the house gallery the next day to have the honour to watch and listen in person while Shane introduced Bill M 203 into Legislation.

After going through some pretty serious security, we sat in the gallery, looking down at the entire BC NDP – over 40 members.

I can tell you now, this was by far the absolute coolest, most badass experience I had ever lived through. After all the years of many struggles, here I was, INSIDE a room where history is made. Where government makes decisions that structures how us, the people live or die for.

This all seemed like a crazy dream, one I have certainly never had before, never in my wildest day dreams, but this was about to get alot more real than I had ever imagined.

The Honourable Speaker, Ms Linda Reid, says the words “ Vancouver Hastings”

I then saw Shane stand up and my gut got all fuzzy inside, I was about to witness him introduce Bill M203, The Presumption of Illness, a Bill that our team had slaved 20 hrs a day, 7 days a week for over a year to bring more public awareness to with our tire flipping programs and online petition.

My teeth were clinched tight, my paws were even shaking a little bit as the fur on my arms started to stand up with excitment.

YES, this is really happening.

The next thing ya know, Shane says “ Thank you Honourable Speaker, Honourable Speaker, I’d like to introduce Terrance Kosikar who’s here with his colleagues.

My jaw about hit the floor, Shane went on to talk about who I was, and the work we do this last year to raise awareness to post Traumatic Stress.

When he was done talking he didn’t even introduce the Bill yet, but asked the entire house to Welcome me, a small fish backcountry farmer, TO THE LEGISLATURE .

All 40 members of the BC NDP, and all members of the Liberal Government smiled as they looked up into the gallery at us, and clapped.

This is by far the greatest, most special moment of my entire life – I stood up, in total shock, bowed humbly, sat back down and enjoy every single tear that rolled down my face onto my lap.

Please join our – Its Not Weak To Speak “Page” , as we will be posting the rest of our PTS tour on this page rather than our personal page.

Thank you for your time and support .

Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel
Kal Tire
Whistler Blackcomb
Mountain FM
BC RCMP
Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness
British Columbia Search and Rescue Association
Paramedics on Facebook
Paramedics
PTSD In Paramedics, EMTs, First Responders
Your Province, Your Paramedics
Ambulance Paramedics Of BC
EMS, Fire, Police, 911 Dispatch
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in New Brunswick
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia
Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario
Mount Pleasant Police Department
Mounted police
FirefighterNation.com and FireRescue Magazine
Fire Rescue Fitness
PIAA
Scandinave Spa Whistler
The Loft Salon Whistler (604)935-0044
Ergogenics
Clean-Life Twc
Pasta Lupino
Nesters Market & Pharmacy – Whistler
Blackcomb Snowmobile
Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW)
Creekside Dental Whistler

Photograpghy –
Joern Rohde Photography
Kevin Eisenlord

Former paramedic flips tractor tire up Blackcomb Mountain for PTSD awareness

A former paramedic is flipping a 400-pound tractor tire through waist-deep snow up a mountain while shackled in 60 pounds of steel chains for a cause that’s very close to his heart.

Forty-five-year-old Terrance Kosikar and a team of his two friends from Australia and Romania have been on their arduous journey to 7th Heaven Summit on Blackcomb Mountain for the last five days and have at least another 1,000 feet left to go.

Kosikar was one of the first responders who tried to revive Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a horrific accident the day before the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Since then, Kosikar has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ending up with suicidal thoughts and an addiction problem. In the five years after the accident, he lost his job, family and home.

Kosikar has now turned his life around and is hoping to help other first responders suffering from PTSD.

Kosikar is behind the “It’s not weak to speak – Not all wounds are visible” campaign to destigmatize PTSD and bring awareness to Bill M203, which aims to provide support for British Columbia’s first responders affected by PTSD sooner.

“We need the help immediately,” said Kosikar. “We should not have to prove our PTSD happened at work. We are first repsonders and we take the trauma home with us daily. It affects not only us, but our families and our friends. It is unacceptable and our provincial government needs to make changes.”

After Kosikar and his team reach the summit, they will have to flip the same tire for another 1,150 kilometres around B.C. to raise awareness about the campaign.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Original article can be found here

WE RIDE FOR PTSD

Family Day – WE RIDE FOR PTSD – Slednecks  Kalle KJ Johansson

During the planning of this years PTS – Mental Health – Addiction – Recovery Awareness Tour – I sat and thought to myself, if it were up to me, as to how I wanted to kickoff our month long tour, where could I see myself on opening day ?

The answer was easy .. with close friends and family, off in the backcountry mountains of British Columbia, riding snowmobiles with a few of the top sled riders in the world – Colin RichardsonBarrett Hepburn,  Kalle Johansson, and Jeff Drummond.

I picked up the phone, and made a few quik calls from our office in Germany to my brothers – not only were they super stoked to help kick off our ” ITS NOT WEAK TO SPEAK tour, but KJ brought his girlfriend and daughter Nika –

WE RIDE FOR PTSD – the worlds first Mental Health Awareness Snowmobile Ride – be sure , this is now going to be an annual event

Mother Nature Heals All .

Post-traumatic stress survivor launches book and tour

Terrance Kosikar’s at the monument to Nodar Kumaritashvili. Kosikar, 43, was a first responder at the Whistler Sliding Centre when the Georgian luge athlete Kumaritashvili fatally crashed during a training run on Feb. 12, the day of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Kosikar says he has suffered PTSD from the tragic event. Photo: Joern Rohde

Original article published Jan 3, 2017 – Jennifer Thuncher / Squamish Chief

Though it has been almost seven years, Terrance Kosikar’s voice still fills with emotion when he recalls the tragedy.

Kosikar, 43, was a first responder at the Whistler Sliding Centre when Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili fatally crashed during a training run on the day of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Though he went back to work after the traumatic event and put on a happy face, a downward post-traumatic stress spiral had begun.

Kosikar tried to commit suicide several times in the coming years and fell into drug addiction due to the guilt and flashbacks over the fatal crash, he told The Squamish Chief.

Recovery for Kosikar has been a long road that includes keeping fit, spending time in nature and finding purpose in helping others with the disorder.

Over the last year he has worked to raise awareness about PTSD and to lobby for change to both attitudes and legislation that hinders first responders’ access to help.

Kosikar is launching a book about his experiences and a new campaign this February.

“The true facts of why we are where we are today,” he said of the self-published book, Let the Games Begin, that will be launched Feb. 12 on the seventh anniversary of Kumaritashvili’s death. The book will chronicle Kosikar’s life and the events surrounding the death.

He will be flipping a huge tractor tire in Olympic Plaza to draw attention to his cause, starting at 1 p.m. that day. The event will launch Kosikar‘s “It’s Not Weak To Speak” campaign that will take him on a 1,152-kilometre journey around B.C.

The campaign aims to de-stigmatize the disorder and gain further support for a private member’s bill he inspired last year.

Shane Simpson, Member of the Legislature for Vancouver-Hastings, introduced the private member’s bill M203, Workers Compensation Amendment Act 2016, in the legislative assembly in February.

Should the bill, which passed unanimously on first reading, ultimately be adopted, WorkSafeBC will assume a first responder who develops PTSD did so because of their job. Alberta and Manitoba already have such legislation.

Currently in B.C., Kosikar said it is a complicated process to be approved for benefits through WorkSafe if the claim is for PTSD. He was denied both his original application and his appeal and asked for 10 years of his medical records in the process, he said.

“We know today that first responders, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, 911 dispatchers, sheriffs and corrections officers, suffer PTSD at more than double the rate of the general population,” Simpson said when introducing the bill, according to the official transcript published on Simpson’s website.

Since 2014, 179 Canadian public safety and military personnel have died by suicide, according to The Tema Conter Memorial Trust, which tracks such deaths.

A WorkSafeBC spokesperson said the organization could not comment on proposed changes to legislation, but said if applicants were not happy with a WorkSafe decision they could appeal.

Between July 2012 until Dec. 31, 2015, WorkSafeBC accepted 415 claims for PTSD, according to the spokesperson.

The organization is currently adjusting its tracking requirements so that future data can reflect claims that are initially filed, but that information is not currently available.

For those who may be suffering with PTSD, Kosikar said the key is to reach out.

“Talk to your friend, your brother, your co-worker, your boss,” he said. “What you are living with and feeling today, there are many other people out there who feel the same way.”

For more on Kosikar’s campaign go to, itsnotweaktospeak.com.

If you feel suicidal call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). For mental health support call 310-6789 (no prefix needed).

@ Copyright 2017 Squamish Chief – See more at: http://www.squamishchief.com/community/post-traumatic-stress-survivor-launches-book-and-tour-1.6153500#sthash.L2NcSnYO.8oboYdUA.dpuf

I have a workplace injury

I have a workplace injury. Turns out that 22 years of working long hours of shift work and bearing the heavy weight of human suffering can hurt a person. On the outside, I don’t walk with a limp and I don’t wince in pain clutching my back when I bend over to pick something up off the floor. I don’t have aching joints or broken bones. When we talk, I’ll smile, I’ll even laugh. I’m an excellent listener. You can look long and hard into my eyes, but you won’t see where I’m hurt.

For 22 years, I have made a choice to protect the ones I love in my life from what my eyes have seen. I have buried the screams, pushed aside the tears, and tried to erase the terrifying images. I’ve taken the long way home so I don’t have to drive past the places where I’ve seen bad things happen. I’ve laid flowers on the road where I watched people die. I’ve held many children and hugged a lot of parents through their grief. My hands have helped to bring newborns into this world, and have also been the last touch a person feels when they take their final breath. As a human, I too, have suffered. In silence.

I didn’t hurt myself on one single call. I hurt myself on 22 years of calls. The emotions I thought I had been able to bury, erase, push aside, and deny for my entire career have decided it’s time. It’s time to grieve. It’s time to talk. It’s time to be honest. It’s time to stop judging myself. It’s time to no longer be afraid. Its time to no longer feel broken or ashamed. It’s time for me to accept that those 4 letters I struggle to say out loud define my injury, they do not define me.

I have PTSD but like any other injury, I will heal. I will recover.

#ptsd #roadtorecovery #endthestigma #youarenotalone #mother #wife #daughter #friend #human

Recovery Is Possible: A Paramedic’s Story

TWC Alumni Clive Derbyshire Shares His Truth On CBC

Together We Can alumni and first responder Clive Derbyshire was recently asked to conduct a video interview on CBC News Vancouver. Clive shared his thoughts pertaining to the overdose epidemic in our city as well as his own personal struggles and triumphs in recovery.

Paramedics and firefighters in our province have experienced an onslaught of misery and trauma this year due to a seemingly endless successions of overdoses. There were 622 apparent illicit drug overdose deaths from Jan to Oct 2016 in BC and the death toll at the end of the year is projected to be over 800. 

According to B.C.’s ambulance paramedics union representatives, first responders have dealt with as many as 170 calls a day related to the fentanyl crisis this past year. 

With emergency rooms more crowded than ever and naloxone failing to counteract fentanyl overdoses, these brave men and women have a difficult time seeing any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Clive speaks about how important his time at TWC’s Alliance Program was for him to form a solid support group of like-minded individuals with similar goals and aspirations in recovery. Before his interview on CBC, Clive spoke at the Overdose Candlelight Vigil on December 17th  in honour of those who have lost their lives.

As a BC paramedic, “empathy fatigue” and PTSD symptoms fill Clive’s ongoing journey in recovery with a complex series of barriers and obstacles. The resilience and perseverance he has shown is truly remarkable and we could not be more proud of his accomplishments thus far.


“They have to reach out for help. They have to ask, and for that to happen, the stigma of addiction has to go away. Until people can see through that and people feel safe to reach out and ask for help then there’s a barrier to any kind of help.”

– Clive Derbyshire

Originally posted on TWC’s website. Original article can be found here