‘It Was Like a Light Switch Turned Off’
Ryan was a firefighter for almost two decades when he received the call that triggered his PTSD. He served all over the globe while in the military years ago, but nothing prepared him for the day that a panicking father threw a baby into his arms.
Ryan was working at a fire department in Washington when the man unexpectedly threw the newborn from feet away, right out front of the fire station. Ryan caught the child, saw that he was turning blue and immediately went to work to get him breathing again.
“There was something about that particular call,” he said. “If you're going into combat, you’re prepared for a gunfight. That's how it works. When you get called out, you know what you need to bring and what you need to do. But this was brand new—a baby was just thrown into my arms.”
Ryan saved the child, who made it to the hospital before dying hours later from congenital heart problems. But Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) set in fast and the veteran firefighter struggled to revive himself.
“It was like a light switch turned off and I quickly went into this fog,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep, I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to go out or do anything. I remember people telling me jokes, and I would look at them and say, ‘that's really funny.’ But I literally couldn't laugh.”
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