Self blame

My best friend is a sole survivor of a helicopter crash. He was a paramedic here in Oklahoma. Before taking flight to pick up a patient he switched spots with one of his friends. It was his friends first flight. Long story short the pilot was on drugs and crashed while performing a stunt. The crash broke every bone in his body except one of his legs after being ejected through the windshield and launched almost an entire football field. He had to scoot away as the helicopter was set ablaze with his friend still alive up to that moment. He eventually got to a barbwire fence and hung himself on it so that he would be found by emergency services. He has opened up to me about it and blames himself for switching seats with his friend.
His story is so incredible to me and the person he has become is even more incredible. I bring this up because many of us blame ourselves for things we have no control over. Let’s say you had to protect someone you love, but down the road you start to blame yourself and believe you could have done something different or something better. What would you tell yourself to help cope?

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First, thank your friend for putting it out there on the line as a first responder. I hope he’s recovered physically and mentally from such a tragic event. If he’s still not doing well he may need to seek some professional help from the same type of counselors that help our Veteran community with “survivor’s guilt” after deployments where they’ve lost comrades.

Everyone is different and has had past experiences that helps dictate how they will handle traumatic experiences but for me here’s how I “compartmentalize” your example.

There is no need to blame myself, the actions that lead to me needing to defend my family were solely the responsibility of the attacker and I had no control over them. Actions have consequences and the attacker decided to take actions that resulted in the consequence of me defending my family and myself. For me to NOT have taken the action I did would have meant my family would have died and I’m not going to let that happen ever if I have the ability to prevent that. So it was imperative that I took exactly the actions I took in order to defend and ensure the survival of my family whom I love more than anything on Earth. The event is done and in the past, there’s nothing I can change about it, there is no reason for me to dwell upon it or second guess my actions other than to perhaps glean an lessons to learn that may be helpful for any future incidents (e.g. maybe a different holster, or more practice with shooting with one hand).

But that’s me. I’m not someone that needs to talk through these kind of things outside maybe over a glass of scotch and a cigar with my brother at Thanksgiving to say, “that was jacked up, glad to still be alive, God is good…”

Hope your friend is able to find some help and some peace.

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Thank you for your honest and sincere answer. My friend went to an inpatient place for law enforcement and military a few months ago and hasn’t had an episode since. I am very blessed to have him and sometimes just having a friend who you can open up to is the greatest gift you can give someone. Just to listen and share stories with is all some people need.

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Exactly right.

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You’re a good man @Brixton to be concerned about your friend!

You being there for him is HUGE!

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There was a time in my life when I was at my lowest and had no one. I attempted suicide but woke up in a loony bin. for days my family thought I was dead. Can’t even begin to describe the guilt and shame of it. With every failure comes a lesson to be learned and I learned a great deal when I talked to them on the phone, from the other side of the world. If given the opportunity I’ll be there for anyone who needs it.

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Wow, bro! Thanks for sharing that testimony!

Glad you’re still with us! Today would not have been the same without you! You helping others is a true calling and in my opinion, its why you are here today.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” —Jesus (John 15.13)

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@Brixton

I had something that happened to my daughter. That was eating me alive. It took me sitting down and writing it out, then some people with far more judgement and Grace helped me to get through it.

All I can really offer is be there IF he NEEDS you.

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I am an open book with very little secrets. Secrets and holding things in can become too much weight for some. Maybe one day a member here will have to protect themselves and maybe they will not know how to deal with it mentally or emotionally. By reading your feedback I pray they learn healthy coping skills, and they take proactive steps in bettering themselves to become resilient and stronger than they ever were.

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