Come Out Fighting

As a man  I often get told I have a feminine job, all about feelings and emotions. I don’t take offence – I probably have got “hands that do dishes” and weak wrists! It’s true, working with ladies, we often talk about feelings and emotions. I am in touch with mine because I know how painful it is to not be in touch. I was pretty far from okay in the past; a failed marriage and various monetary issues, relationship problems, and stress of a job that was 9-5. I was at the lowest of the low and scared of getting help or telling my friends how I was. I learned how to front it. I wasn’t well although you wouldn’t have been able to tell.

My mind was imprisoned by my own internalised, destructive thoughts. The worry of being honest about needing a little guidance culminated with the fear of embarrassment in front of my peers. Broken, I went to the doctors who then prescribed some tablets and an appointment to speak to an IAPT therapist over the phone.

This did not help. The lack of a face-to-face interaction, being controlled by tablets, and uncertainty regarding the confidentiality of the personal details I was providing was disconcerting. I soon learnt that I had to come back from this another way, and I turned to developmental psycho-dynamic therapy.

Nowadays, I work with said ladies, children, and also men in fact – some of the toughest guys you will ever meet. Some of them you might describe as animals, professional athletes, including boxers. Developmental psycho-dynamic therapy is not about crying and digging up your past, it’s known that what happens to us shapes us and makes us the person that we are today, and our environment and foundations builds our persona and resilience to incidents.

I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Commander Pete Drummond of WM Fire Service formerly of USAR, and speaking with him about mental health, how tragic incidents affects his team, and the management such trauma. Pete recognises and embraces good mental and physical health, but even so Pete remarks that there is still a pecking order within the services which creates the age old stigma associated with getting therapy.

Allow me to change your mind…

No matter who you are, we all feel stress. It is a physiological response to a witnessed stimulus. Psycho-dynamic counselling and solution focused therapy setting allows you to cope calmly and change your perspective. I was in the worst pain of my life after my dad passed away, and by using the techniques I had learnt I was able to shift to my focus away from his death and towards rejoicing his life. Therapy also allowed me allowed me to observe what I had thought was a failed marriage as a successful one – I was able to focus on the positives, and what was gained, not lost.

Failure can be the road to success in my eyes; with failure the opportunity arises to turn back, or to surge forward into success. Celebrated therapist Paul McKenna famously assisted Nigel Bonn to to his amazing unwinnable fight over Gerald McClellan during times of sever stress. Working with your mind and preparing yourself with some powerful therapy for any incidents that you deal with, can give you a desirable response. The process is not foolproof and requires a little co-operation, but what you can gain, especially at your most vulnerable, can make a world of difference.

I practice what I preach. Traumatised from some bullying in junior school, my confidence was ripped away, and I had a fear of being hit in the face. I was encouraged by my by 18 stone, ex-welterweight boxing champion client in 2013 to step into the ring. I was fearful to say the least – as a pacifist feminist empath, boxing was never on my radar.

So this balding 5″10′ and 11 stone weakling learnt his first punch – the jab from a female kickboxer, and rather self-consciously, at a standard boxing gym (at 38 years of age). Three months later I was signed up as a professional boxer with the EBF, and took part in an unwinnable boxing match. My partner, although he trimmed down, was two stone heavier than me. I signed my disclaimer though and used self-hypnosis to eliminate the anxiety. Such was my calm and self-belief thanks to the NLP, positive conditioning, and using the powerful affirmations I got through the match without a bruise. I was buzzing on the adrenaline and happy in life.

I had been using creative self-imagery and pictured myself at the end raising my hand using creative visualisation and giving my opponent a hug – which I did.

Whether you think you can or can’t – you are right either way!

There is a lot of talk about PTSD in the fire serve (and paramedics / police too) being hands on, and dealing with trauma is part of the job. The doctor is there at hand to give out prescription drugs, and the psychologist to diagnose you. While I respect that there is a time and place for medicine, I would like to suggest to the unsung heroes and guardians that you are, to give a session of CBH a try. Meditate before you medicate, as they say. Invest in yourself. Source a respected learned practitioner and use it like the fighter going back to his corner – is there an embarrassment, when you watch the boxer groggily go to his corner only to regroup and come back out fighting? Or rather the know-it-all fighter that fights without direction and loses his battles.

Nowadays I am proud that I had the courage to seek help and learn it myself. I am a normal, average gent helping people put their feet firmly on the floor. I can say that my work with many high achieving clients using these clinical techniques has been successful, and works on everyone that wants it. Often just one powerful overload of positivity has been a complete success. The articles and interviews are real and heartfelt, the life experiences that you have makes you the strong person that you are. Do you see yourself as victim or a survivor? Are they one and the same as just a point of view differentiates it?

Can you afford not to protect and encourage your own mental strength and forward yourselves with your own worthwhile goals…

Love and huge respect to all of our living guardian angel firefighters and god be with you all on your journeys and those that have sadly heroically died in action.


David Kilmurry Dp Hyp MBICCH SQ HP