Hello, Papa Bear,
I think it's been two years since I sent a letter, I'm feel like I'm suffering from chronophobia and gerascophobia, I believe it's a delayed reaction to almost dying earlier this year, a few months back.
Two years ago I was training to be a Forestry Fighter, I fought two fires, I really loved the job, it was hard and very exhausting
This year I did my second season, and this when it happened, I'm not sure if you know about " The Fort McMurray fire " in Canada? it was a major fire that was burning a major city, it was nicknamed " The Beast " 3 weeks after the city was burning I couldn't take the news anymore, knowing I was trained, so I throw my name in and I found a leader who would take me.
We got there literally in the worst conditions, poor water source, Limited air support,windy and one of hottest days, using only axes, shovels, and chainsaws, we had to basically beat any flames down and remove any potential fuels from the fire, we were tasked with making the escape route while the others deal with fire, while making the escape route, I worked with the chainsaw man, I was one of strongest and the chainsaw guy was the fastest, we worked together, he would cut and I'd clear the path while watching over him, making sure nothing surprises him or hurts him, I had a radio on my chest, I was part of communications so our leader told me and my chainsaw guy go head, ahead of us was a danger zone, hottest spot, if the fire on our end should ignite again this would be the spot..... and it did.
You see, our leader literally had his whole family working, the only odd ones that weren't family was me, the chainsaw guy, and our sub leader, so while I was clearing the path the leader stopped me so his son could do it, so I left what I doing and moved farther ahead with my chainsaw guy, the only escape route behind us, after a few minutes, I heard a voice yelling, it was my sub leader, I turned around expecting new orders, in stead only a solid wall of flames blocking my view and my escape route, wasting no time, I ran to chainsaw guy then we forced a path through the tree's running around the fire, we were so close to the flames they blocked the sun, making all the light around us red with thick shadows waves moving through the light, and roaring, the fire actually makes a loud roaring, I felt deaf because I couldn't hear the radio on my chest or hear the branches and twigs snapping as I smashed though them, when we regrouped with the other, other leader ordered we save the equipment, without thinking, I scooped up like 20 pounds of gear while while still running down the line, then leader told me stop and wait for his family who were slow because of the gear he wanted to save, then ordered us hide in the worst possible area, we should've died like 3 times just from his poor decisions.
After a while air support came in and we evacuated, at base I started looking for answers as how we lost control, I found out that our leaders sons wanted videos of flames that they could post on YouTube, so they noticed that the escape route was on fire, and they polled out their phones to record it grow, you can see me standing on the other side, but they comment on fire and become a family moment that almost ended with me burning alive, the chainsaw thanked me, saying I probably saved his life going back for him and at camp I removed my shirt to shower, then I looked in the mirror and my body was covered in bruises and stretches from my desperate escape, I spent 28 days there.
While working it didn't bother me, but after work when I got home, I was hearing voices and having nightmares, I felt like I was losing my mind, it only lasted a few days, but occasionally I still get nightmares, now I get borderline panic attacks at night from chronophobia and gerascophobia being the main causes and another interesting thing, while working, I'll sleep fine, as if nothings wrong, but during days off my phobias hit me hard, I was thinking of possibly seeking professional help or if you had any other options?
Hale (Alberta, Canada)
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First of all, I think you are a hero. What you did was amazing. If they don't pin some kind of medal to your chest, it will be a grave injustice.
Secondly, I would like to meet the people who thought this was a great thing to put on YouTube and kick them and beat them to a pulp and shove those phones up their arses. OMG, disgusting!
Thirdly, I'm not sure how gerascophobia (fear of aging) comes into play here. I get chonophobia (fear of the future), since you cannot be blamed for being anxious about what might happen with a fire in the future, but can you explain further why you fear getting old?
Finally, you clearly are having a PTSD issue here. What you suffered through was a nightmare, and it is completely understandable that you would have nightmares and other issues afterwards. Does your employer offer any counseling benefits? I would be surprised if they did not. Talk to your superior about getting some help with PTSD through your employer (government, correct?) benefits. I mean, you're in Canada, so I would think you could get some help with this.
If you have not already, I would think a formal, written report should be composed by you and given to your boss concerning your sub's incompetence and the digital recording incident. These are gross lapses in judgment and the fire chief should know about them, yes?
Write again if you wish to chat more, and I hope the above helps.
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Thank you so much for the reply and your kind words
PTSD? I've never consider that? And gerascophobia I guess is more of me being worried that, I'd be too old to experience things with my mate, who is only 3 years younger then me, it's seems kinda silly, but it still scares me, my Mate is American, Sometimes I worry that I may never raise enough money to visit or be with him.
I've never thought about asking for counselling, but its a little late to request it, since any benefits expire when we get off work, however, I've heard of there being counselling offered near by, might be worth talking to them about PTSD and Phobias.
As for reporting My Leader and his family, their stupidity didn't just effect me and my co worker, but roughly 30 other people almost died that day, even after we got evacuated, less then an hour, the whole area burned, so everybody had something to say about it, as for the video they recorded was deleted after they realized it was basically evidence against them
Thank you again for taking time to read this ^w^
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1. Try reading about PTSD on the Canadian site http://www.ptsdassociation.com/.
2. Three years difference between you and your mate? That's nothing. There were 9 years separating me and Jim, and I might be starting a relationship soon with a man who is 17 years my senior.
3. The incompetent boobs you worked with fighting the fire: it's never too late to file a report, if you want to. Or, another option, leak the story to the Canadian press. That's up to you. I realize that it might stress you out, but just think if these people keep their jobs they could cause more damage through their negligence.
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