This article was produced by ProPublica in partnership with WMFE, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. On the morning of June 12, 2016, police officer Omar Delgado pulled his cruiser up to his two-story townhome in Sanford, Florida, and sat in silence for 15 minutes, trying to process what he had seen during 3 1\/2 hours inside the Pulse nightclub.He stripped his bloody uniform and gear off, put them in a trash bag, and took a shower. Then, he shut the door to his bedroom, locked it and tried to sleep.That same morning, firefighter EMT Brian Stilwell walked back to Orlando Fire Department Station 5. Working at the station just 300 feet from Pulse nightclub, Stilwell was one of the first on scene hours earlier.In the dawn\u2019s light, he saw a pool of coagulated blood in front of the station. It was from a Pulse patron who had been shot in the stomach and dragged to that spot. Stilwell wondered if the man survived the night. Then, with a bucket of bleach and water, he helped clean the blood off the concrete.Down Orange Avenue, Alison Clarke and a fellow Orlando Police officer walked into a McDonald\u2019s to use the bathroom. The restaurant had a TV with the news on, streaming live video of the scene she had just come from. People looked up from their coffee and breakfast, glanced at her and her partner, then back to the food. She used the restroom, washed up and bought two coffees. No one said anything. It was surreal.Josh Granada and his partner drove their ambulance back across town to their Orlando Fire station. They spent the night ferrying 13 people who had been shot at Pulse to the hospital. Before showering, they threw away their uniforms.\u201cWe were covered in just sticky, nasty \u2014 just covered in blood,\u201d Granada said. \u201cI\u2019m not gonna put that much blood in the washer.\u201dOrlando Police officer Gerry Realin was called in from vacation on June 12 to work a 16-hour shift the morning after the shooting. He spent four or five hours of that inside the nightclub, preparing bodies to be taken to the morgue, and it wasn\u2019t until 2:30 a.m. the following day that he came back to his home in New Smyrna Beach, an hour northeast of Orlando. He looked in on his two sleeping children. In the shower, he started wailing. Outside the bathroom, his wife heard him saying, over and over again, how sorry he was for the victims.\u201cI never saw myself in this position,\u201d he would later say. \u201cI\u2019ve never been the same since, and I can\u2019t go back.\u201dPulse was one of the nation\u2019s largest mass shootings, where 49 people died and at least 53 others were wounded. The invisible injuries to first responders represent another toll of the catastrophe.For these five first responders \u2014 and many others \u2014 June 12 was the first day of their new lives, one in which they would confront post-traumatic stress disorder. Even though most had responded to gruesome scenes of murder, suicide and car accidents, that didn\u2019t prepare them for the psychological injury of PTSD. Going forward, they would relive that day in flashbacks and nightmares, see danger behind every closed door, and become irritable and impatient with spouses and coworkers.\u201cThere are just some events that are so horrific that no human being should be able to just process that and put it away,\u201d said Deborah Beidel, a University of Central Florida professor who runs a clinic called UCF Restores that treats first responders with PTSD.Some of the five also would face indifference, resistance and harassment from the departments they served. One said he was fired because of PTSD, another was fired for a mistake on the job, and a third was never cleared to return to work. They said they were subjected to retaliation for speaking up. Those three have each filed lawsuits asserting they\u2019ve been mistreated.The other two were offered work reassignments to seek treatment and reduce stress, and said they were satisfied with their agencies\u2019 responses.Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina said he\u2019s been through counseling himself, and that officers dealing with PTSD can come forward to get treatment and request a change of assignment without affecting future promotions and transfers. Orlando Fire Department Chief Roderick Williams likewise said his department provides resources to help firefighters confronting PTSD.But if employees disclose that they\u2019re dealing with PTSD or mental health issues, they can be given a \u201cfit for duty\u201d test, both Mina and Williams said.\u201cWe wouldn\u2019t want someone out on the street who was having issues,\u201d Mina said. \u201cWe may be held liable because of that, because we knew about that. But again, I\u2019ll go back to the fact that they don\u2019t have to come forward. They can receive treatment anonymously.\u201dThe nightmares began immediatelyIn his bedroom alone the morning after the shooting, Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado had his first nightmare: He\u2019s back inside Pulse, bodies stacked on each other on the dance floor. He\u2019s dragging one of the victims out when the rapid gunfire starts again.\u201cAnd I\u2019m yelling, get down, get down, get down!\u201d Delgado said. \u201cNot knowing if he\u2019s shooting at us because we\u2019re pulling bodies out, he\u2019s maybe upset or whatever. Not knowing where the bullets were making their way. When you\u2019re trying to pull somebody and you slip and fall and now you\u2019re on the ground, trying to take cover because you don\u2019t know where the shooting is coming from.\u201dEven though two years have passed, Delgado says he often has that same nightmare. Delgado stayed inside Pulse for more than three hours while the shooter was barricaded in a bathroom. When the smell of gunpowder, blood, death and liquor got to be too much, he tried to breathe through his mouth. Then he tasted it.He now has flashbacks. One of his triggers: The default iPhone marimba ringtone. While Delgado was inside Pulse, phones rang and rang and rang. Sometimes he could see the caller ID. Mom, sister, friend. He saw one phone vibrate and slide away in a pool of blood.\u201cI hear an iPhone ring and I freeze. I pause. I\u2019m back there a quick second,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cThen I realize, OK, I\u2019m not there, I\u2019m here, I\u2019m OK.\u201dIn August of 2016, Delgado told his department that he couldn\u2019t keep working as a patrol officer. His bosses ordered him to report to the University of Central Florida\u2019s Restores clinic.The clinic was originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense for post-9\/11 combat veterans with PTSD. It uses virtual reality, sounds and smells to recreate the scenes of war \u2014 exposure therapy in which participants relive the events that caused their PTSD and the triggers that provoke flashbacks and nightmares. Such therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms for some, and is combined with group therapy for anger, depression, guilt and social isolation.After Pulse, UCF Restores opened its doors to first responders. So for three weeks, Delgado sat and recounted, in vivid detail, everything that happened inside Pulse.Near the end of the third week, his counselor took him on a field trip back to Pulse. They pulled into the Einstein Bros. Bagels parking lot across the street from the nightclub, which was used as a triage site the night of the shooting. Delgado didn\u2019t want to get out of the car.\u201cI got angry,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cWhere you\u2019re standing, there were nothing but bodies laying around here.\u201dThe counselor wanted him to start at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Kaley Street, where he first pulled up to the scene, and recount what happened. To walk across the street and get close to the club.\u201cThe icing on the cake was when I heard an ambulance or a fire truck with their sirens going off, and I couldn\u2019t take it anymore,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cI dropped to my knees and started crying like a little 5-year-old on the corner of Orange and Kaley. A hundred plus degrees outside, I didn\u2019t care. I just got overtaken. It was just way, way too much for me.\u201dThe UCF Restores program typically lasts three weeks. Delgado spent 10 weeks going through the program. He said it was hell repeatedly reliving Pulse.\u201cDid it help? I don\u2019t know. Did it make it worse? I don\u2019t know,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cBut I\u2019m not well. And when you\u2019re not well, is something working?\u201dIn total, 26 Pulse first responders have been evaluated by or treated at the UCF Restores clinic, including the five interviewed for this story. Another 96 first responders have gone through the program for events not related to Pulse.The clinic says that 60 to 70 percent of the people who complete the program no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, meaning their symptoms are no longer disabling. Police and fire departments like the clinic because it\u2019s nearby, effective and free \u2014 funded by state and federal governments. Many first responders say they like the program because it\u2019s a neutral place to get treatment without tipping off their departments.But some first responders like Delgado worry the clinic isn\u2019t enough. Until this year, the UCF Restores clinic didn\u2019t have a psychiatrist available to see patients and write prescriptions. In the first year after the shooting, the therapy was provided by a psychologist leading a team of doctoral students. With more state funding, the therapy is now done entirely by licensed, full-time clinicians.Moreover, exposure therapy can worsen symptoms if it\u2019s done too soon, said Beidel, who runs the clinic.\u201cWe don\u2019t want to do treatment in the first couple months,\u201d Beidel said. \u201cThat can make people worse in some cases. Three to six months is the sweet spot. We want to get people into treatment before patterns of avoidance set in, before patterns of using too much alcohol to sleep set in.\u201dAfter Delgado\u2019s 10 weeks in the UCF Restores program, the Eatonville Police Department gave him a \u201cfit for duty\u201d test and put him back on the road. Afterward, a citizen complained that when Delgado and his partner arrested her, Delgado told her, \u201cI\u2019m emotionally disturbed right now.\u201dIn December 2017, Eatonville terminated Delgado. During a press conference that month, city officials said Delgado was terminated because of his behavior during the arrest. But in his personnel file, obtained by WMFE under Florida\u2019s public records laws, officials cite medical reasons. Delgado says department leaders told him it was because of his PTSD. Eatonville\u2019s mayor, chief administrative officer and the police chief at the time declined to comment for this story through the town clerk.\u201cI believe they should have stepped up and found more therapy for me,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cThere are so many programs out there now. They looked at one and that was the end of it and they thought it was gonna be the cure for all, and it wasn\u2019t.\u201dStruggling at home, and on the jobAs the first anniversary of the nightclub shooting approached, Amber Granada woke up at 5 a.m. to her husband Josh searching, angrily, for a bloodstone bracelet.He was slamming drawers. He asked if the dogs took it. He asked if Amber took it.Then, Josh walked out of the bedroom and kicked the couch. It slid into the coffee table, knocking the glass coasters to the ground and shattering them. The couple\u2019s two dogs scattered. Amber started crying. She handed Josh a different bracelet and told him to leave the house.His face was red. His eyes were bulging. He screamed: \u201cIt\u2019s not the bloodstone!\u201d\u201cAnd I\u2019m looking at him like, I have no idea who this is,\u201d Amber said. \u201cHe ends up just leaving, slams the door. He leaves and I\u2019m sitting there on my hands and knees like mopping up this shattered glass that\u2019s all over the floor in tears because I have no idea what that was.\u201dThis was the first time Amber realized something was wrong. Right after Pulse, Josh Granada had trouble sleeping and nightmares. His coworkers at the Orlando Fire Department also noticed his temper flare in ways they hadn\u2019t seen before. That didn\u2019t stop him from putting in for a promotion and being elevated to an engineer. Granada and his partner Carlos Tavares were among Florida\u2019s firefighters of the year in 2017 for their response to Pulse.But as the first anniversary approached, journalists sought out Granada and Tavares to ask about what they saw that night. The anxiousness he had right after the shooting returned, along with the nightmares.Around the same time, Granada drove his ambulance by Pulse for the first time since the shooting. He looked over at the nightclub, which had become a makeshift memorial of flowers and mementos to the dead. Then he looked across the street, at the Einstein Bros. Bagels.In his mind, he saw blood running down the driveway and into the storm drain.\u201cAnd I knew it wasn\u2019t there, but I saw it plain as day,\u201d Granada said. \u201cAnd that\u2019s what it was that night. The night we were there, that\u2019s exactly what it looked like. There were so many people dying and bleeding behind Einstein that it was literally a pool that was coming down the driveway \u2026 and running into the gutters \u2026 and I just remember that image. And it still sticks with me. I can still see it.\u201dThat night, survivors grabbed Granada, begging for help, and slapped the windshield of his ambulance when it was full. There were so many patients, Granada used a penlight and gauze to make tourniquets when the supplies ran out. Two patients died at the triage site and had to be placed off to the side with a makeshift curtain around them.\u201cI saw a guy crawling and take his last breath,\u201d Granada said. \u201cIt was horrible.\u201dGranada\u2019s home life and professional life suffered as his PTSD symptoms grew worse. The other responders interviewed for this story described similar problems.Granada\u2019s wife, Amber, told him to ask the department for help. Granada decided his family life was worth more than his pride. In June 2017, he told his lieutenant at the fire department about the flashback when he drove by Pulse.On July 19, 2017, Lt. Gregg McLay wrote an email to the district chief in charge of health and safety at the Orlando Fire Department, recommending that Granada be given an excused absence with pay to go into the UCF Restores program.Then, Granada waited. And waited.Finally, in August, McLay told Granada that he had been told that a top Fire Department official had said, \u201cPTSD is bullshit. These pussies need to man up,\u201d Granada said.\u201cAnd the second I told that, I got really depressed and stressed. I didn\u2019t really tell anybody\u2026 but that\u2019s when I started having suicidal thoughts.\u201dOn August 17, Granada broke the chain of command and wrote an email directly to deputy fire chief Gary Fussell, the man he believed was blocking his access to care.\u201cIt has been well over 2 months since I reached out to the department for help,\u201d Granada wrote. \u201cTwo long months of waiting for something to happen while our administration has no sense of urgency or care.\u201dThree hours after Granada sent the email, McLay sent another email to the district chief in charge of health and safety, copying Granada. McLay seemed frustrated \u2014 both that Granada broke chain of command and at the administration\u2019s slow response to Granada\u2019s request.\u201cI will be totally honest with both of you,\u201d McLay wrote. \u201cOur department all the time. If a person was to ask help for a substance abuse problem, he is immediately taken off shift and offered help. In this case, Josh is seeking help and the licensed mental health professional that he is seeing is recommending a beautiful opportunity for him to be with fellow workers and military to share stories and coping skills.\u201dBut Granada wasn\u2019t taken off duty. Instead, 10 days after that email, he made a mistake that would cost him his job.It was a routine medical call. A woman didn\u2019t check out of the penthouse suite at the Doubletree hotel near the theme parks, and she was unresponsive. When paramedics woke her up by rubbing her sternum with their knuckles, Granada says she started yelling. Granada pulled out his iPhone, started the audio recorder, and put it back in his pocket.The patient refused treatment and everyone left. Back at the fire station, Granada played the recording for his coworkers at the dinner table before he deleted it, a possible violation of federal and state privacy laws.The next day, an internal investigation was started. The patient he recorded was Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill. Granada wrote an email admitting what happened and apologizing, saying it was \u201cnot a smart idea.\u201d Hill filed a complaint with the Orlando Police Department, alleging Granada violated her privacy.Granada was put on light duty while internal affairs investigators spent three months looking into what happened. During that time, he was finally able to go to the UCF Restores program for PTSD therapy.Ultimately, Granda was fired for violating two department policies and for violating state law by recording someone without consent. He is currently suing the Orlando Fire Department in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County for wrongful termination, and alleging that the city violated a state law that protects people who file worker\u2019s compensation claims from retaliation. The department has denied wrongdoing, saying in a pleading in response to Granada\u2019s lawsuit that the city \u201cis not liable because it also had valid, legal reasons for taking the adverse employment action.\u201dMcLay, Granada\u2019s boss, told a reporter that he would be not be able to speak without permission from the Orlando Fire Department. The department refused, citing the lawsuit. In court documents, the city denied that an official had said \u201cPTSD is bullshit.\u201dIf Granada is unsuccessful in court, his firing will have very real consequences: He will not be eligible for any kind of pension.\u201cThe second I raised my hand and said something\u2019s wrong with me in June, they should have pulled me off shift,\u201d Granada said. \u201cI should have been getting help. I never should have been allowed to run those calls, day in and day out, my head was not right, I can admit. My head\u2019s still not right.\u201dIn a job evaluation less than a month before Granada was fired, obtained by WMFE under Florida\u2019s public records laws, McLay wrote that Granada was \u201cwithout a doubt one of the department\u2019s sharpest medics.\u201d But he was having spontaneous outbursts, and McLay wrote that Granada \u201cstarted to unravel\u201d when there were delays getting into treatment.\u201cI do not think this is a true character of Josh,\u201d McLay wrote. \u201cI believe he is struggling inside and needing some guidance to get past this hurdle.\u201d'Get over it and move on'Unlike Delgado and Granada, Gerry Realin didn\u2019t arrive at Pulse during the shooting or its immediate aftermath. He worked inside the club after the shooting ended, when many of those first on scene had gone home.He was part of a small Hazmat team within the Orlando Police Department that placed bodies and body parts into bags to go to the medical examiner for autopsy and identification. The building had no air conditioning, and the smell was choking. Wearing a white hazmat suit without a helmet, Realin spent four or five hours inside the nightclub, his boots turning yellow and then red from the blood and gore.In the weeks that followed, Realin had nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks. He tried to work but often called out sick or left early. After about two weeks, a doctor at a walk-in clinic diagnosed Realin with \u201cacute post-traumatic stress disorder\u201d and wrote that he couldn\u2019t even work a desk job. The doctor referred him to a psychiatrist.Realin, burning through his sick time, filed a worker\u2019s compensation claim, and in August started doing interviews with the press about his struggles. He was relieved of duty with pay, meaning the department kept sending him a paycheck as long as he kept up with paperwork. (It didn\u2019t legally have to do this under Florida\u2019s worker\u2019s compensation system at the time.)Going public, though, came with a price. His wife, Jessica Realin, said the rumor among police officers was that her husband was a faker trying to game the system. Two psychiatrists wrote in their reports that the department\u2019s treatment of Realin likely worsened his condition.His union warned Realin that he could be put under surveillance, so he should be careful not to do anything that would appear to contradict his diagnosis. A union official wrote that he was worried Realin was getting bad advice that could cost him a disability pension.The department got involved in Realin\u2019s clinical care as well. Realin\u2019s deputy chief, Orlando Rolon, met the Realins at a gas station in early September 2016. Rolon gave him a copy of a memo: It was a direct order to report to the Restores clinic for treatment.\u201cGerry, as you know, the members of the law enforcement profession are exposed to horrible situations during their careers,\u201d Rolon wrote in the memo. \u201cI am confident that this program, that has helped many, will address some of your needs and for this reason I\u2019m ordering you to participate. Your wellbeing is our top priority!\u201dAt the gas station, Realin said he told Rolon he had already been to the clinic and didn\u2019t want to go back. Things escalated. Rolon asked Realin if he was a threat to himself or others and, according to allegations in one of Realin\u2019s two civil lawsuits against the city, threatened to have Realin involuntarily admitted to the hospital on a psychiatric hold.Rolon told him about responding to a scene in which a 12-year-old had hung himself in a closet. Realin \u201cneeded to get over it and move on,\u201d Realin said Rolon told him.Rolon did not return phone calls or text messages for this story. Asked in an interview in September 2016 whether officers with PTSD should be eligible for worker\u2019s compensation, he said, \u201cI think it\u2019s tough to be able to justify that when you are already expected to be exposed to so much that the average person may not be able to handle.\u201dIn March 2017, Realin was ordered to report back to work for the city of Orlando. He would monitor city cameras for drivers who drift into bike lanes. Realin\u2019s psychiatrist worried that Realin could witness fatal pedestrian accidents and recommended that he not report for the new job, so he did not.That decision grabbed headlines: Orlando police officer with PTSD ordered back to work at City Hall \u2014 but he\u2019s not going.Dr. Noel Figueroa, Realin\u2019s psychiatrist, wrote in his medical chart that, in his opinion, Realin was not able to work \u201cat any job at this point. As far as I\u2019m concerned, the patient is permanently unable to return to full duty.\u201dHe continued: \u201cThe patient has been feeling \u2018prosecuted\u2019 by his employer throughout this process. The behaviors by the employer in the last 72 hours only have enhance his perceptions.\u201dFigueroa\u2019s notes were included in one of Realin\u2019s lawsuits against the city.A year after the shooting, Realin said he hid from his children so they wouldn\u2019t be traumatized by his rage or depression.\u201cIt\u2019s exhausting, physically and mentally,\u201d Realin said. \u201cBut then there\u2019s the moments you can\u2019t control. The images or flashbacks or the nightmares that you don\u2019t even know about, and your wife tells you the next day you were screaming or twitching all night.\u201dRealin\u2019s fight with the city came to a head before Orlando\u2019s Police Pension Fund Board in July 2017. Realin was asking for a line-of-duty pension, which would entitle him to 80 percent of his salary for the rest of his life.Dr. Herndon Harding, one of the doctors hired by the city to perform an independent exam of Realin, wrote that Realin had a \u201cdramatic, perhaps histrionic element to his presentation\u201d that could have been \u201can attempt to demonstrate his pathology.\u201d But he also wrote that one of the factors leading to Realin\u2019s inability to function was \u201chow much the role of OPD has contaminated this treatment.\u201dSteve McKillop, an outside attorney hired by the city of Orlando to fight the pension, argued that Realin never really wanted to get well. Getting a pension was his goal all along.\u201cRather than accept the hand that has reached out to him, at every turn he\u2019s utilized all means necessary to suit his goal of obtaining permanent, in the line of duty benefits so that he does not have to return to work as a police officer,\u201d McKillop said to the board.Ultimately, the board approved the disability pension, writing that Realin was permanently and totally disabled from police work in the line of duty because of PTSD. He was given 80 percent of his pay for the rest of his life: about $41,000 annually, after health insurance costs.In one of Realin\u2019s lawsuits against the city, filed in December 2017, he alleges that the way the department treated him worsened his condition and that the city violated a state law protecting people from being fired or threatened because they file worker\u2019s compensation claims. In the other, he claims the city should cover his health insurance costs because he was disabled in the line of duty. The city is contesting the first lawsuit and hasn\u2019t yet responded to the second, which was filed in May. Both suits were filed in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County.In an interview with WMFE, Orlando police chief Mina wouldn\u2019t comment on Realin\u2019s case because of the ongoing lawsuits. But he said when an officer is injured, officials never worry about the financial burden on the city.\u201cNo, any time an officer is injured or can\u2019t perform, the financial aspect of that is never taken into consideration,\u201d said Mina, who is a candidate for Orange County Sheriff this year. \u201cWhat\u2019s taken into consideration, by our pension board, which handles that, is was this an on-duty injury, did this happen in the line of duty, can this person go forward performing the job they were hired to do.\u201dKeeping it quiet, trying to get betterIn early 2017, firefighter EMT Brian Stilwell had requested a meeting with Orlando Fire Department Chief Williams to encourage him to commission an after-action review of the Pulse nightclub shooting and the department\u2019s response to it.Stilwell, as well as leaders of the firefighters\u2019 union, thought the department needed an outside expert to come in and evaluate whether anything could have been done to reduce the death toll.At the end of the conversation, Williams told Stilwell to take advantage of the city\u2019s employee assistance program for free counseling if he needed it, or to go through the UCF Restores clinic. Williams said that if Stilwell needed time on light duty to go to the clinic, the department would work with him.Stilwell was already going to the clinic. Sometimes, he\u2019d wake up in the middle of the night and couldn\u2019t get back to sleep because something would jar a memory of the shooting. At work, he would be shorter with patients. At home, he was curt with his wife, and would lose his temper.\u201cAnd I was like yeah, I\u2019ve already been going to UCF, which he was kinda taken aback,\u201d Stilwell said.On the night of the shooting, Stilwell was one of four men inside Station 5, about 300 feet from Pulse nightclub. On any given night, they were close enough to hear the music and see the club from the dinner table. On June 12, they heard the gunfire and saw a flood of survivors running for their lives down the street.The gunfire was so loud, the lieutenant working that night wouldn\u2019t let them out to start treating patients until a few minutes passed and a police officer was out in front of the club with an assault rifle.The firefighters and EMTs went to the triage area across the street, and helped the paramedics already there sort patients. Green tags meant a person was walking and stable. Yellow ones went to those who had serious injuries, but who were stable and could wait to go to the hospital. Red tags were for those people who needed to go to trauma surgery immediately or risked death. Black was reserved for those considered too far gone.\u201cSome of the people changed from being stable but serious to critical in front of us,\u201d Stilwell said.Stilwell had been open with his coworkers about getting treatment for PTSD, but he hadn\u2019t formally told the department. In part, he says, that was because there\u2019s no clear protocol on what happens when a first responder comes out and says he or she needs help. He wondered: If you file an injury report for PTSD, are you taken off shift to go into treatment?Stilwell also worried about how peers would view him. If someone in his department had a heart attack six months earlier, no one would worry about whether he or she was still physically able to do the job.\u201cNo, you go in, you fight the fire, you do whatever you have to, never crosses your mind,\u201d Stilwell said. \u201cBut if you know a guy that had a mental breakdown or had some mental issues, the stigma is still like, \u2018Oh, this guy\u2019s weird.\u2019\u201dStilwell said the meeting with the chief was productive and didn\u2019t lead to any negative consequences at work. He completed the Restores program and says he\u2019s doing better.Officer Alison Clarke with the Orlando Police Department is going through the Restores program now. She also was working the triage scene at Einstein Bros. Bagels. Clarke, an openly gay female who had previously worked at Pulse as an off-duty security officer, saw a flood of survivors knock down the fence outside the club.\u201cOf course, they were traumatized, screaming and crying, and not knowing where they were going,\u201d Clarke said. \u201cAt that point I started asking for ambulances, and there weren\u2019t any ambulances that were responding at that point. So we just started loading up patrol cars and Jimmy Hyland\u2019s pickup truck and started running people to the hospital.\u201dClarke was able to work through her PTSD with a counselor provided by the city\u2019s Employee Assistance Program. She stopped working the night shift, and had gotten to the point where she was only seeing a counselor sporadically.But then trauma hit again. In January of 2017, her boss Lt. Debra Clayton was tracking a man in an Orlando Walmart who was wanted for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.Clarke heard the gunshots over the radio as her lieutenant was shot. When she got to the Walmart, she held Clayton\u2019s hand while others performed CPR. Clarke escorted the ambulance to the hospital, where Clayton was pronounced dead.Afterward, the anxiety and agitation came back, with a new symptom \u2014 hypervigilance. Clarke would think the worst was going to happen on each call. Knocking on a door for a noise complaint, she\u2019d worry that someone on the other side would shoot her through the door. She went to a psychiatrist, who prescribed Prozac.\u201cNow I\u2019ve seen it twice,\u201d Clarke said. \u201cMy first look at evil was Pulse, and then my second look at evil was the day that Debra was killed. So I know it\u2019s there. I\u2019ve seen it. I\u2019ve experienced it. So now my brain thinks the worst thing\u2019s gonna happen when you\u2019re out on the street.\u201dIn February of this year, she responded to what she came to believe was a man who wanted an officer to shoot him, sometimes called \u201cattempted suicide by cop.\u201d The man was holding his hands behind his back, acting like he had a weapon. Clarke drew her pistol. He kept yelling: \u201cYou know you want to shoot me, you know you want to shoot me.\u201dUltimately, the man was subdued with a Taser, and no one was seriously hurt. He was found to be unarmed.\u201cThe moment the handcuffs went on and I was able to take a deep breath and realize that the situation was safe, my anxiety, I just full on had just a like a huge anxiety, panic attack. I couldn\u2019t get the adrenaline and my anxiety to calm down,\u201d Clarke said.As she was walking to the patrol car, she thought: This was it. I can\u2019t be an initial responder. It was her last shift as a patrol officer.Clarke asked to be put on light duty while she went through the Restores program, and the department agreed.\u201cIt came to a choice where I could either keep suffering and ruin my home life or step forward and take the help being offered by the department,\u201d Clarke said. \u201cNot just the department, the whole community.\u201dHow they copeJosh Granada has been teaching classes for paramedics and EMTs since he was fired from the Orlando Fire Department. He and his wife are having trouble making ends meet, so they\u2019re planning to sell their house and move in with Amber\u2019s father before they fall behind on the mortgage.He leans on his therapy dog, Jack, which he got from the Pawsitive Action Foundation, a group that provides service dogs for veterans and people with disabilities.Omar Delgado got a dog from the same group: Jediah.On the days when Delgado has trouble getting out of bed, shaving or brushing his teeth, the dog gives him the motivation he needs, he said. Since he was terminated from the Eatonville Police Department, Delgado has been living off the proceeds of a GoFundMe campaign. He\u2019s stuck in limbo, waiting to see if his disability pension will be approved. Once that happens, he\u2019ll be able to decide what\u2019s next.\u201cWe cut back on everything humanly possible,\u201d Delgado said. \u201cIt\u2019s rough. We gotta keep going. What else is there?\u201dAlison Clarke has accepted a position as a police department liaison to the LGBTQ community. She no longer works on patrol, and when she\u2019s ready to put a uniform back on, she plans to finish out her career at the Orlando Airport. To help cope, she drives her Mazda Miata with the top down, or takes an hour at the driving range, hitting golf balls with her headphones on.After policing, she plans to work as a counselor to help other officers.\u201cI\u2019ll never be the same before Pulse,\u201d Clarke said. \u201cYou can recover to a certain extent. At least for me, I can recover to a certain extent. But I know that I\u2019ll always have some type of small anxiety issue. It\u2019s just learning how to live with it and function with it.\u201dTo cope, Gerry Realin goes out paddleboarding and fishing. Walking ankle deep in saltwater in Webster Creek, north of Mosquito Lagoon and the Canaveral National Seashore, Realin casts out into the channel with a lure, hoping to catch redfish, jack and trout.He sleeps better on the nights he fishes.\u201cI used to have pressure in my mind. I better hurry up and heal,\u201d Realin said. \u201cBut how? How do you hurry that up? With some physical injuries, you kinda know. Tear a hamstring, you\u2019re out six months. Sprain your ankle, couple weeks. But for this? I don\u2019t know.\u201dRealin\u2019s wife has become a crusader. After realizing that Florida\u2019s workers\u2019 compensation law didn\u2019t cover lost wages for PTSD and mental conditions, Jessica Realin set out to change the law, and is running for local office. Under a law signed by Gov. Rick Scott in March, first responders will soon become eligible for these benefits.Brian Stilwell has found healthy ways to cope. He rebuilds classic cars and plays drums. He still works for the Orlando Fire Department, but he\u2019s been transferred away from Station 5. Now, he\u2019s at a small station in an old Navy base, what he calls \u201cthe last stop on a trip to nowhere.\u201d He wants to go back to Station 5.That station, so close to Pulse nightclub, feels like home to him.\u201cI feel a bigger connection to that area and that community now because of that,\u201d Stilwell said. \u201cIt feels like the station is a part of me now, not something I want to leave.\u201dAs the two-year mark for the shooting approaches, Stilwell says he may go back to UCF Restores for more treatment. The anniversary, he says, is bringing things back to the surface again.