20 minutes after Nodar Kumaritashvili was pronounced at the Poly Clinic, some fancy suited guy from the Vancouver Olympic Committee comes walking into the room, looks at us, and all he says was, “WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS TO NOBODY”.
“Not our friends, not our family, not our co- workers, not the media – NOBODY”.
I sat slumped in my chair, gazing down at the dried blood that had soaked into my boots, the sound of the heart monitor still echoing through mind, my heart, my every breath seemed to just beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
You ask yourself, where are my tears?
Why am I not feeling the loss of this young kids life, who I had just spent, what seemed like hours, crushing his ribs as I pushed on his heart harder and harder with each 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.
No words needed, as he stares at me as if to send that last telepathic message to his family, his girlfriend, his brother, the bone chilling screams of his coaches and trainers as they arrived on scene that day, will certainly haunt me till the day we meet again.
You grit your teeth, but not too hard, cause this isn’t really happening, this is just one of those dreams you will wake up from any minute, no tears, no talking, emotionless, as your look down ashamed of yourself, fighting the mind from trying to convince you that this was your fault.
Hours later, I stood alongside 3 other medics. As we boarded the gondola, some drunk Australian kid came stumbling into my peripheral vision and without thought, I turned around and knocked him out cold with 2 quick punches to the head.
3 of his buddies came running to his rescue. I reacted immediately in defense mode as if they were coming to attack me, I grabbed the one kid by the back of the head and just started feeding him shots to the body with a few upper cuts over and over again.
Totally possessed by some sort of higher power, There was absolutely no thought or care to anything I was doing as I tried dragging this kid into our gondola, as I yelled at him “I’ll FKING KILL YOU” little MFKer (punch punch punch).
I had lost my mind, and had absolutely no reason whatsoever to smash these 2 totally innocent people like that.
The doors closed and everything went very quiet, total silence as we rolled over the first tower towards the village.
I’ll never forget the feeling of total confusion as I stood staring down onto the lights in the village. The medics were all saying something to me , but it seemed like they were speaking different languages, and again, that dream feeling , where you sit there and know you are dreaming , and this is that moment where you wake up in cold sweat , gasping for a breath, panicked as you try to explain to your lover this crazy nightmare.
(not a dream this actually happened) – chapter 4 – Let the Games begin
I DIDN’T SLEEP OR DREAM AGAIN … FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS.
I get asked all the time, “ Hey Terrance, why in the hell do you flip that big ol stupid tractor tire mile after mile, across, up and over mountains , through lakes and rivers?
The answer is simple,
To raise awareness to Post Traumatic Stress, and all the signs and symptoms that go with, so we can begin to understand and prevent anymore of our Canadian First Responders from dying by suicide, and leaving their careers, friends and families behind wondering …why?
ITS TIME TO MAKE SOME CHANGES – weather our current BC Provincial Government likes it or not.
This is totally unacceptable, especially when these are the men and women who risk their lives to save ours on a daily basis.
They respond to our emergencies, it’s time we respond to theirs.
Our Mental Health Facilities, Programs, and Insurance companies are broken and failing us beyond belief. Sure they all look good on paper, but how many people do you know who have been through the smoke and mirror, BS, hogwash system and come out on the other end and actually went back to work as healthy as they started?
You will not find this person, they do NOT exist, and as we speak now, over the last 2 years there are 179 Police, Fireman, Paramedics, Corrections Officers, Dispatch 911 operators, nurses, and soldiers 6 feet deep now.
These are the stats on the ones who have come forward over these last 2 years, that had been battling for years to get the help they deserve after being diagnosed with PTSD.
The numbers on the suicide rates within our First Responders who have not been diagnosed im sure are 10 times as staggering. Believe me, I’ve been there, and currently speak to many across our entire country who are all very close to just throwing in the towel.
Would you blame them for feeling this way. after years of trusting your current government, and assuming you risk your life for people who would take care of you and educate you and make sure your safe, and your family is taken care of if anything was to ever go sideways, life.
Please take a minute to go to our website and help by signing our petition, that I will personally hand deliver to NDP, MLA Shane Simpson next week who in turn will present this Bill M 203 – into Legislature.
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 ?
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
IT IS CRITICAL THAT FIRST RESPONDERS UNDERSTAND THAT ASKING FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH .. NOT WEAKNESS
Only 20 minutes after RIP Nodar Kumaritashvili, was prenounced at the Poly Clinic on opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics, we had been given strict instructions by some fancy suited fella .
“We DO NOT TALK about this to nobody, no media, no friends, no family, NOTHING, to NOBODY”. Immediatly swept under the rug.
THE GAMES MUST GO ON .
The 4 of us, that had tried for over an hour that day to save Nodars life, were still in total shock from not only witnessing him hitting a solid steel post at 153 kms per hour, but also trying to bring him back to life as we rushed code 3, lights and sirens to the Poly Clinic.
As per First Responder protocal, for all Emergency Services, this is where a Critical Incident Stress Debrief team should have come to talk with us.
You would assume that with a 7.2 billion dollar price tag on the games, a special team would have been put in place to deal with such a tragic accident in case their was one.
I assure you, this did not happen.
A debrief after a call like this or any code 3 call is MANDATORY, as it is an absolute vital stage in helping ground and complete the cycle in the first responder, or any human who dealing with that adrenilyn that is trapped in their nervous system, that will lead to Post Traumatic Stress if not dealt with immediately.
To make more sense of what I just said, a debrief after a bad call, or to Joe public who has just endured a life threatening situation or witnessed any sort of traumatic event or even a major surgery, it is as vital as putting pressure on a deadly bleed right away.
Not tommorrow, not next week, not next year, but now.
Problem is, in Canada, First Responders, we still have that old school mentality.
That we need to just suck it up, or you will be considered broken and weak if you speak about how this truely affects you as a soldier, or a emergency care giver / HUMAN BEING.
Their is barely even minimal prevention training in any of our class rooms, and we have that additude that we are the hero, the soldier who carries a weapon that kills, we are the one who rushes into the burning inferno to save the person who is screaming for their life, or police man, who hunts down the serial rapist and dodges bulllets, or ambulance attendant who helps bring back a drug overdose, or responds to a teen suicide or bad MVA ( motor vehicle accident) when body parts can be found strung up and down the highway for a 1/2 km.
What the public sees, is a nice shiny red fire truck, or a flashy silver badge, or maybe even a man or woman with nice uniform knowing they are all easily qualified to save your life if you were to drop now.
Canadians all know that no matter what time of day we call 911, we are confident that a dispatch agent will take our call, and dispatch the proper emergency response team to OUR emergency right away.
What the public is totally unaware of is that those people who answer the call, or guard the prisoner, and risk their life every single day just to be there for us when we need them, are left out in the dark when they have an emergency or need the help themselves.
Most public I’m sure feels that because all First responders are paid by the government with your tax dollars, that we would get the same kind of help the minute we ask for it.
We’ll Im going to tell you straight up, when a First Responder in British Columbia goes to get some help for a wound that is not visible, (PTS) we are doubted, and forced to spend many years trying to prove that our injury (Post Traumatic Stress) happened from doing our job.
This comes at a very heavy cost to the First Responder and his or her family.
9 times out of 10 they are denied the help after years of hoops with WCB, fired from work, and considered broken, and left out in the cold, homeless, addicted, penniless, and is why we now have 179 First Responders who died by suicide over the last 2 years in all of Canada.
If you’ve been following our Breaking the Chains BC.com journey over this last year, you’re familiar that I have been working over seas for many months in Germany, with all Chief Commanders of every Emergency Service department, along with top ranking officials from the German Air Force learning why their suicide rates over the last 20 years, dont even compare to 1/100th of our suicide rate over just the last 2 years here in Canada .
I’ll sum it all up without a huge 9 chapter story here.
They have come a long way since WW2, and have learned many lessons to help prevent any of their Emergency Services from suffering in silence.
Their PTS (post traumatic stress) awareness, prevention and after care programs are top shelf, above and beyond ours in Canada 10 fold. Its almost as if they are 3000 years ahead of our times. Oh wait …THEY ARE !
In reality, our country is only just 150 years old? Think about how new we are and how much we clearly have to learn still. very possible.
In Germany, and Australia, you are not considered weak if and when you speak about how you feel, and you are supported, cared for and given the help the MINUTE you ask for it. No questions or bullshit WCB circus hoops to jump through for years, while you stand at the hospital doors looking for a band aid as your family sits at home bleeding out of love and support financially, mentally, physically and spiritually.
As you’re aware, also, I have been working closely along side some top Canadian Politicians, Police Chiefs, Ambulance attendants and Fire Chiefs, all agree that it’s certainly time for change. Problem is, our Provincial govermnent is not prepared to help, nor do they feel your tax money should go to helping our Provincial First Responders who are human and are killing themslves at a rate that is totally unacceptable. Especially when its our emergencies they are responding to.
It’s now time for us to respond to their emergency and bring them the help they desrve code 3!
There are already 5 other Provinces in Canada who have passed through Legislature the, “Presumption of Illness”. Meaning when a Policeman, Fireman, Corrections officer, Paramedic, and even Dispatch 911 agent needs help, it’s presumed that their injury that is not visible, happened at work. Only in Briitish Columbia, and a few other provinces, you must spend years trying to prove your injury happened at work.
How in the hell is a person with a mental injury supposed to do such a rediculous thing, and not only how, BUT WHY?
When working overseas, all Emergency Services are completely appauled at our current Provincial Government, as most lower their heads and feel the sadness as they know how vital it is to get the proper care before a bad call (prevention education) during and after (debrief, support).
2 days before Christmas, I was sitting in a Emergency Dispatch call centre talking with my new friend Eric Schneider (911 agent), and asked if he thought any of his team from his Volunteer fire hall would like to have me come to the hall and talk more about PTS.
He said he’ll send an email out to his team, but maybe only 4 or 5 guys would show up because it would be Christmas eve, and they would all be spending time with their familes.
I didnt have any expectations, especially cause it was Christmas eve, but to my surprise, the very next day – 27 firemen / women all showed up to listen, and learn even more about PTS, and help support our Canadian First Responders with our new social media challange – and help us spread the word internationally – the simple fact that .. ITS NOT WEAK TO SPEAK.
This is something that is very important for German First Responders to do, take care of each other, and constantly practice talking, and supporting each other on a monthly basis, year after year, not just from a 1/2 page workshop note book, or assume that our Department actually has a policy, plan and procedue that is prepared to handle our needs when we are injured.
If you have a WCB training manual, 500 page book, 80 hour course, I’ll invite you now to please open up this entry level 3 first aid course that WCB offers to all First responders.
NOT ONE WORD or SENTENCE ON PTSD – where is the prevention in British Columbia?
If you’ve been hired on as a POC firefighter in BC, and you’ve taken the 11 months of training to get your pager, do you recall ever learning about PTSD?
I recall learning how to fold tarps for 8 hours a day for 3 days straight, but not even one minute on anything about Post Traumatic Stress .
We train train train to help the patient, or make the scene safe. I thought our safety came first ?
It certainly does in most other countries, why NOT Canada?
RCMP? Let me ask all of you who have graduated depot Division , how many days of training did you take shooting bad guys targets and polishing your boots as they de humanized you?
Ok, and how many weeks, days or even seconds did they teach you about any signs or symptoms of PTSD and what can and will happen to you over time. We are only human, and it’s natural, but we need to be more aware before we break (period).
It’s not your fault, our system is merely broken and can be fixed with more public awareness to this problem. Lets think long-term – together .
Why are we waiting until we are broken to get fixed, and on the same note, we don’t even have any “shops” that can or will, or are ready to even fix us when we are broken. This is a huge problem.
If WCB, or any other departments, don’t have an aftercare plan in place – then they sure as hell better start teaching some more prevention for the people who risk their lives and famlies lives everyday that serve the public.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT FIRST RESPONDERS UNDERSTAND THAT ASKING FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH .. NOT WEAKNESS
Our second annual PTS / Mental Health awareness tour that begins on Feb 10th 2017 – aimed to de-stigmatize PTSD website has officially launched today. www.itsnotweaktospeak.com
If you feel our Provincial Government should make some changes through Legislature, then please visit or website now and sign our online petition for Petition for Presumption of Illness / Bill M203.
Time to help the people, who help us – NO QUESTIONS ASKED !
After hours of intense interrogation, by Constable Leonard Isaac, of the Tribal Police Stl’Atl’Imx, Mr.Terrance Joseph Kosikar refused to testify and is protected under s. 13 of the Charter from having any incriminating statements “used to incriminate himself in any proceedings against him at this time.
Kosikar says, “It’s not very often you see many people where I live out here in the backcountry, so today was very odd to me when I heard the rumble of a truck creeping its way up the long road to my cabin. I got the binoculars out, and to my surprise, it was a Tribal Police Truck.”
Kosikar admits he immediately ran inside the cabin and put all the guns away..grabbed his camera and started filming this unique situation. Ya see, even when people get shot up here or stabbed, its still very rare for the police to show up. (more…)
3 weeks ago while I was in Victoria, I had received an email from a man, thanking the Breaking the Chains BC team for helping save his life during a PTSD Awareness event we had just completed only 2 days prior.
I asked the man to please call me ASAP, and gave him my phone number.
Within minutes, I answered the call from a man named Rand Vance.
He explained that his life had been pretty rough over the years, since a young age (will not get into details in this post) and this was a special day for him because he was handed one of our flyers from one of our very dedicated PTSD WARRIORS.
He looked up our website and learned more about what we we’re doing to help support those who suffer in silence and are living with Post Traumatic Stress. He went through many of our past videos and was very inspired by our message, and felt he was NOT ALONE, and could reach out to us.
So he did.
After hearing Rand Vance story, it had touched my heart so much, that we at Breaking the Chains BC decided that day to do ANOTHER #PTSD / #mentalhealth program for Aug 20th (this past weekend).
Now the second best part of the story, I had opened my facebook the next day to see that Rand had taken it upon himself to start doing the #22pushupchallange and help raise awareness to the 22 soldiers who die by suicide in America each day who suffer with PTSD.
I had watched his video of day one, trying to do his 22 push ups ..and it brought so many tears to my eyes, after hearing his life story and here he was now raising awareness himself to PTSD and dong his best to do so …upon watching him struggle and bang out 14 of his 22 push-ups ..that was the best he could do …it confirmed my personal belief that ..I had now found MY HERO.
I gave him my word on the phone a few days earlier that we would meet in person and we would do another PTSD awareness program on Aug 20th.
Now the best part, Rand Vance shows up 1 hour early on Aug 20th and tells me he doesn’t feel comfortable in crowds and that he’s afraid of being in large groups.
I explained to him as the bus loads of warriors showed up, that WE ARE ALL THERE TO SUPPORT each other and connect together.
Rand, still explained to me that he was not comfortable with so many people around him. I put my paw on his shoulder, looked him in he eyes, and assured him ..he is safe, and in good hands as I looked up to the universe above and smiled.
The video you’re about to watch says it all, as I have no words that will ever describe how it feels to have watched Rand lead over 70 Warriors doing 22 push ups to raise awareness to the 22 soldiers who die by suicide each day in America.
Thank you Rand Vance, you Sir are not only MY HERO, but a huge inspiration to all.
Today, 3 very special Vancouver Police Officers helped us flip our tire a few more KMs to help raise awareness to PTSD, and inform the public of our petition they can help sign that will give all British Columbian First Responders the help they need upon asking for it.
Instead of the years and YEARS of suffering from denial after denial from WCB.
Just last week, 2 more Police Officers ended their lives with their own service revolver.
see petition on home page –
heres your vid
PTSD and Suicide
Not every call ends when the paperwork is filed. PTSD is far more rampant in law enforcement than anyone is really willing to discuss.
PTSD statistics for law enforcement officers are hard to obtain, but range from 4-14%. The discrepancy in this range may be due to underreporting. Living through a traumatic event is hard enough for an officer, admitting that you are having problems related to that event is even harder. There are an estimated 150,000 officers who have symptoms of PTSD. Actually, recent research indicates that 1/3 of active-duty and retired officers suffer from post-traumatic stress; but most don’t even realize it. Law enforcement officers are also at a much higher rate of developing a cumulative form of PTSD related to their exposure to multiple traumatic events. For every police suicide, almost 1,000 officers continue to work while suffering the painful symptoms of PTSD.
Suicide Warning Signs
The officer is talking about suicide or death, and even glorifying death.
Officer is giving direct verbal cues such as “I wish I were dead” and “I am going to end it all.”
Officer is giving less direct verbal cues, such as “What’s the point of living?”, “Soon you won’t have to worry about me,” and “Who cares if I’m dead, anyway?”
The officer is self-isolating from friends and family.
The officer is expressing the belief that life is meaningless or hopeless.
The officer starts giving away cherished possessions.
The officer is exhibiting a sudden and unexplained improvement in mood after being depressed or withdrawn.
The officer is neglecting his/her appearance and hygiene.
The officer is annoyed that they are going to do something that will ruin his/her career, but that they don’t care.
Officer openly discusses that he/she feels out of control.
The officer displays behavior changes that include appearing hostile, blaming, argumentative, and insubordinate or they appear passive, defeated, and hopeless.
The officer develops a morbid interest in suicide or homicide.
The officer indicates that he/she is overwhelmed and cannot find solutions to his/her problems.
The officer asks another officer to keep his/her weapon.
The officer is acting out of character by inappropriately using or displaying his/her weapon unnecessarily.
The officer exhibits reckless behavior by taking unnecessary risks on the job and/or in his/her personal lives. The officer acts like he/she has a death wish.
The officer carries weapons in a reckless, unsafe manner.
The officer exhibits deteriorating job performance.
The officer has recent issues with alcohol and/or drugs.
It is important for law enforcement leaders to identify these warning signs to establish a profile of potential at-risk officers and proactively intervene by providing mental health resources and departmental support. If you, as an officer, have noticed one or more of the above behaviors in a colleague, do something now. Ask the officer what is going on in his/her life. Ask if they are okay and how he/she is handling a current stressor. Ask them if they feel depressed, and ask them about suicidal thoughts. Help them get the help they need before they take a life – their own. If they won’t seek help on their own go to a trusted supervisor with your concerns. Yes, this is one situation where you may have to break the code of silence. If something is still not being done, go to someone else: the chaplain, your union representative, the department clinician. You are willing to go to any lengths for an officer who needs assistance on a call; you are willing to risk your life for him at every scene. Do something today to prevent the loss of an officer by his or her own hands.
If you are an officer who is hurting and contemplating suicide, reach out now. There are many people who really do care about you, who really do want to help you, who don’t want to attend your funeral. Seeking help is a sign of strength not of weakness. It is the first step in reestablishing control in your life. Always remember when there is life there is hope.