Monday, June 22, 2015
Sometimes it's a dark place to live.
I've been battling some depression lately. I have been for years, off and on, so it's really nothing new. If you haven't read my story on Police Suicide, I recommend you give it a read. It's dark, but important. Depression is a life long battle, and I've come to discover, fairly common. Especially for guys like me.
PTSD and the question of the effects of military and emergency service has on mental health has been in the news for returning military personnel, cops, fire department personnel, and veterans lately.
Unfortunately, I have also seen this, and other "popular" diagnoses slapped on just about anyone in the general population that has ever been exposed to anything that they deem as traumatic. While I believe that a lot of the cases are valid, in one way or another, I also question the nonchalant way they slap "depression" on anyone who is sad, or "PTSD" for any accident or trauma victim. With this feeling, I start to wonder if MY issues are valid. Is what I've been through enough to warrant, or justify, how I feel?
I have always had a little dark spot in my life. I used to just express it with anger. It was the only emotion I really knew how to show. As a kid, I had a temper. Still do. But as I got older, and started to experience life and death, I started to experience different feelings. I would feel guilt for the lives I couldn't save back when I was an EMT. I would have nightmares, and dream about the calls I went on. This would continue on when I became a Police Officer. I would dream about weapon failure, being unable to scream out proper verbal commands in times of stress, and I would dream about the "no-win" scenarios.
Eventually I would seek help. It DID help, for a while. As I start to write this, I am actually sitting in my therapists' parking lot, waiting to be seen. One of the main problems with mental health is that it's always changing. Something that may bother me today, may not have even hit my radar any other day. Even with regular and consistent therapy, and taking my meds, things hit me from the side, and knock me off track.
I'm not alone.
If you take the time to look around you, there are a lot of workers in Emergency Services that fight this battle. I share this stuff not for a cry for attention, or a cry for help (anymore), but so that it's out there, and hopefully it gets talked about. There are a LOT of people like me out here. We are wearing a badge, serving our public. We are your Police, Fire, Emergency Medical personnel, the Dispatchers behind the scenes, and the people that run towards danger, as others run from it.
You're not alone either.
I had the chance to see Bobby Smith talk a few years back. If you ever get the opportunity to see him speak, GO! His story can be found at www.visionsofcourage.com/ . Pony up a few bucks, and buy the man's book. He is an excellent guy. GREAT speaker, and a survivor.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with depression, or are in a dark place, talk. Sometimes that's all you need.
I have a short list of sites here for you:
www.ffbha.org (Suppression/fire fighters)
I'm not affiliated with any of these sites in any way, but I feel the need to share some information with you. You never know when you, or your partner might need to reach out for help.
I have read Cop Shock, and Bobby Smith's book. Both excellent reads.
Take care of yourselves, and each other.