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  #11  
Old 03-04-2009
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Does choking the buttmud out of a few moronic citizens count for stress relief?

LOL
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2009
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Originally Posted by stmelangell View Post
Well, kinda ... the most recent study (2005) indicates that about 50% of animal workers have symptoms of compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), which is "our" brand of PTSD. An earlier study (1992) indicated a level of PTSD in animal services workers as high or higher than police, fire, and emergency services workers -- but lately they're classifying PTSD more strictly, as a byproduct of trauma to the individual rather than the secondary trauma of watching trauma happen. I would argue (and probably will, in my master's thesis, heh heh heh ) that ACOs are as likely to suffer direct trauma as PD or fire, so you can't necessarily assume that shelter workers are exempt from PTSD even in its newer definition.

As far as stress relief, gotta go with what works, applied as needed as often as needed:

(1) External support (friends and fellow ACOs).

(2) Internal support (relaxation techniques and a good strong spiritual foundation).

(3) Getting away from it (hobbies, exercise, and vacations)


This site works for me! Have I said that

IFunstop!

yet today?
Thank you stmelangell,

I'm glad to see this is being followed up on since my days in AC. And who better than an ACO to write a thesis on this topic. What I made bold text in your comments, is the key! As often as needed.

There is a secondary reason I brought this topic up that I will get to. But because of that, I was curious if this was being mentioned or taught in the training you all have today. Because of the seriousness of this particular problem.

When I was on the job and would reach a stressed out time, I'd take what is called nowadays as a "Mental Health" day (I've heard this term in other professions). I'd call in sick on a Wednesday. I made sure that it was on average going to be a slow day. I didn't want to put a burden on my fellow ACO's by taking off on a day that they were going to be swamped. But the following Thursday I would feel rested and refreshed again. I just needed the time off, and recognized that. The thing is, when I left I had over 400 hours of unused sick time still on the books. I rarely get physically sick like the flu and things like that, so I had plenty of sick time.

At the training classes we discussed the many different issues that we were faced with. Having only been in AC for six months at the time, I had limited input. But as time went on, I saw what the others had brought up in this discussion to be true. I have a copy of the article that was published in the NACA News back in 1986 if you're interested in it. It was about our training session/discussion on this topic.

The secondary reason I bring this up is because stress can have devastating effects on our body and mind. Which is some of what we discussed that week in 1983. All three of the things you brought up are the key. We tend to forget about the person (us) who is dealing with all of what we see and do in the field. Because we love and care for animals so much, and this is why we got into the field (many times) in the first place. We see the injustices with how animals are treated and so on. This can eat away at us if we don't take care of ourselves. But sometimes we can be overwhelmed by it, by no fault of our own.

I'm not suggesting here, that everybody decide to take a day off from work to achieve this. You can do this on your days off (whatever is Saturday and Sunday for you). But an ocassional day off from the job for mental health reasons I believe would be acceptable. But my suggestion is this, take a day off from the job in your mind. I know how funny that may sound, but what I mean is, don't let anything from the job seep in. Do whatever is "fun" for you. Leave the job behind and don't think about it at all. Not even if you are on a trip and see a loose dog, put it out of your mind as though you aren't an ACO.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2009
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That stalagmite, sheís a rock ainít she.

One thing that hasnít been brought up is actual professional counseling and medication. At my previous city, it was the management more than the job that was causing my stress related problems. When I would go on vacation, it would take until Wednesday or Thursday just to get semi-relaxed, then by Thursday night the stress level would start building back up again because the vacation was half over and I was going to have to go back. That led to my first visit with a councilor, and my first prescription. That prescription only lasted a couple of months and I had rebounded enough to get back to the fray unaided.

After I left there, it took at least two years before I would fully trust the supervision here, and my annual evaluations scared the life out of me. Once I got fully settled in, things were fine for quite some time, then through a variety of factors (some job related, some personal) I crashed again, back to the Dr, and another prescription.

As I have gotten older I have found that I need then meds just to cope. It is a light dose, but if I get off for even two or three days, I develop some anger management issues, so I guess Iíll be on them for a while longer.
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  #14  
Old 03-04-2009
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Strees Relief for me is running with my dogs. Riding my bike. Online gaming. Just hanging with the family and friends. Cant wait till i can go camping/fishing.


Well, kinda ... the most recent study (2005) indicates that about 50% of animal workers have symptoms of compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), which is "our" brand of PTSD. An earlier study (1992) indicated a level of PTSD in animal services workers as high or higher than police, fire, and emergency services workers -- but lately they're classifying PTSD more strictly, as a byproduct of trauma to the individual rather than the secondary trauma of watching trauma happen. I would argue (and probably will, in my master's thesis, heh heh heh ) that ACOs are as likely to suffer direct trauma as PD or fire, so you can't necessarily assume that shelter workers are exempt from PTSD even in its newer definition.

Regarding all this. Is this in any way shape or form confirmed by Naca? (for some reason our management here only thinks that Naca can state certain information regarding animal control) Thanks!
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Getting too old View Post
I have an allergy to exercise. Whenever I try to do it, I get all sweaty and have shortness of breath, and then for the next few days I have aches and pains.
Dude, you so slay me. That's exactly what happens to me!! We should form our own "syndrome."

Quote:
Originally Posted by BernCo_Geo
Regarding all this. Is this in any way shape or form confirmed by Naca? (for some reason our management here only thinks that Naca can state certain information regarding animal control) Thanks!
I have this mental picture of poor ol' Dr. Figley choking on a donut, being told that if NACA doesn't say it, it ain't true ...

I love NACA, what little I see of it, but I don't know anything about what kind of training they offer in the way of compassion fatigue/STS/PTSD etc. Anyone out there with more experience want to weigh in (e.g., you, President Kumpf)?

I would be more than happy to submit an article to the NACA News about it. Maybe if they printed it there, your bosses would give you a mofu'ing break and believe you?
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Old 03-04-2009
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Let's see for stress relief, at least during the summer I will take a day here and there and just spend it on my Harley. I will leave the house at about 7AM and not return until around 11PM. Also I take a two week vacation to the beach. I leave the cell phone off and the only person who can reach me is my neice that watches my animals and house while I am gone. I dont even read any books that are animal or law enforcement related, just car magazines lol. I also like to work on my 66 Chevelle.(I am in the very slow process of restoring) As far as winter goes I dont really have any out let for stress other than working one of my other jobs. I do like to drive though so I will just hop in my truck and just drive. I also like to spend time at the range. Its amazing how much stress relief I can get just from firing off 500 rounds of ammo lol.
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  #17  
Old 03-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBPD336 View Post
I also like to spend time at the range. Its amazing how much stress relief I can get just from firing off 500 rounds of ammo lol.
I would like a little range time myself, if I can ever find some ammunition. Maybe Iíll go to an outdoor range and burn some black powder. I havenít even fired my Colt Walker yet.
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2009
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What kind of ammo are you looking for? Was it you that said you couldnt find your brand of ammo?
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  #19  
Old 03-04-2009
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Actually, for me, working at the shelter is a stress-reliever. My biggest headache is trying to explain to a client over and over again why their dog/cat needs a certain treatment, why it is important to follow directions exactly the way they were prescribed and why the animal did not get any better when the prescription treatment was changed without consulting me because "they heard of this new treatment on the internet."

Working with the ACOs really relaxes me since I feel that we have the same goal in mind; the care of the animals. We don't always agree in what treatment is best but we agree to try to make the animals better and reasonably talk out the options in order to come out with the best solutions for the animals. Although it is work, to me it is relaxing.
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  #20  
Old 03-04-2009
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The conference this year is in Corpus. Maybe Iíll take the scenic route back and see if I can catch up with firestar and boxermamma in Victoria.
Well if it is the class in May, then I will be there.
My self and another ACO from here are going to the basic in Corpus. The others are going to try and go later in the year.
I was scheduled to go back in June of 2007, the day we were to leave my dad passed away. This is the soonest we have been able to get it in the budget to go.
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