Inside Out Mental Illness Series- Hear from Scott on Trauma and PTSD


Did everything right and he still died.
In the end, they always die. This isn’t fair. I screwed up somewhere. Quit thinking about it, quit thinking about it. Why are you doing this to me God? Am I this messed up? I can’t stop this. I can’t do this anymore. I screwed up. “Hey Dad.” Should I just end it? “Are you ok dad?” This isn’t fair. My name is Scott Geiselhart. I’ve been
diagnosed with PTSD and depression four years ago. I’m a firefighter of 22 years,
as a firefighter we went out on a lot of bad car accidents and we used the jaws
of life to cut people out of cars and as a firefighter I was taught that we’re
gonna see these scenes and it’s okay to feel things, but we didn’t cause the
accident so it’s not anything we should be concerned about as far as letting it get personal. Well it started getting personal when I started
having nightmares and flashbacks and anger and I was drinking a lot and I
actually ended up turning to meth as a coping mechanism so I wouldn’t go to
sleep and have the nightmares. In this video it kind of shows a little bit of what was going through my head after seeing these scenes of the
flashbacks and the images that would remind me of some of the scenes we’ve
seen. They played over and over and over in my head and anxiety built and the
tears would come and I’d even have to pull over. After one of these scenes
you just see where the baseball lands down by my feet, that was half an
hour after helping somebody out of a vehicle and I went home and I got out of
my vehicle and before I even realized what happened, my son hit me in the chest
with a baseball and it was like I wasn’t even there until that baseball made
physical contact with me and took me out of the haze I was in. It’s powerful
what PTSD can do to you. I end up isolating myself a lot and falling into a really
deep depression, until the day came back in 2014, where I decided to end my
life because people were better off if I wasn’t around. That’s what I told myself.
After the suicide attempt failed I started looking for help, I started
reaching out, I didn’t understand what was going on. I googled my symptoms on a google search I searched for nightmares, flashbacks, anger,
everything that was affecting me. The alcohol and the drugs, and when I hit
enter a Google search PTSD filled the screen up. I was upset because
nobody talked to me about PTSD, what the symptoms were until that moment. When
I reached out for help it was really difficult because nobody was, at that
time, there for me. It was difficult to reach out for help and then when my
friends, I tried to talk to them about it, they weren’t educated on it and they
pulled away and they put their guard up. And I don’t blame them because they were
just as scared as I was. When I finally did find help, I went and did something called EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. Once I started getting a therapy I needed, life turned around. I started seeing colors
again. See my world was black and white before and it was all negative, nothing
positive, and it couldn’t see positives or color. And when I started seeing
color I started feeling alive again inside. I had a peace inside, after my
therapies, and I felt a lot younger and happier and I was dealing with my
problems in a different way. I was starting to debrief and talk about the
things that I had stuffed way back in my head from the things I’ve seen and once
I started talking about it I could replace those bad images with
new images and good happy thoughts. And life changed a lot. I can see the
outside, I can see the beauty outside, I can see people’s faces again, I can feel
my emotions, I can feel love. I didn’t have that before I was numb. PTSD isn’t
just a military thing, it affects first responders, it affects nurses, it can even
affect an eight-year-old that’s seen some traumatic events. You
can get it from a car accident, you can get it from one instant, or you can get
it from many many instances building up into one. The basket gets full sometimes
and you have to talk about it. There’s therapy for PTSD. There’s a way out,
there’s hope. If you’re having some of these symptoms, you know the anger, the
depression, the isolation, depression anxiety; seek help, reach out get some help. It’s not too uncommon, there’s a lot of
people that have depression, PTSD and anxiety. You’re not alone. It’s the best
thing I ever did was reach out for help and got all my demons out of my head
that were telling me how bad I was and that things were my fault. I now go
around trying to reach as many people as I can by speaking out. I’ve got a
strength I’ve never had before and life is awesome again. Every day that
you don’t reach all for help is another day that you’re in the darkness that you
don’t need to be in.

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