I was having extreme mood swings, getting angry at my partners just for chewing gum.
I never though it was due to a motionless near drowning child that I treated a few months back.
Knowing that I could apply for FMLA to get a much needed break from it all was, well, lets just say it kept my career alive.
I was able to share my loneness and how it made me feel unwanted.
But then getting a supportive response from another wife with the same problem felt reassuring.
Pulling victims from fires isn't what gets to me. It's the fact that my company almost got trapped recently.
The nightmares, cold sweats, and fear of loosing my members doesn't let me sleep afterwards.
It was a relief just to get it off my chest.
I can remember as a kid playing at my Dad's fire station. Especially during the summer barbecue picnic with the entire Fire Department family! My Mom and Dad were so proud of me when I entered the Fire Service at the age of 20. Twenty five years later, this is where I am.
My "Department" turned it's back on me as soon as they found out my issues. Medically terminated is what they called it. So much for that 'brotherhood.'
Since 2015, I've been in counseling and on numerous medications. It took over a year just for me to share how I truly feel to my counselor. When I did, it was such a relief.
It's still difficult for the counselor to understand what it's like. The general public doesn't understand our jokes, sense of family, or our dedication. It'd be so good to "talk" to others in similar situations.
So when I looked online for PTSD forums and other related information for Firefighters, I couldn't find any. I began to search for Police and Paramedics PTSD forums, and the same dead end.
My desire to help others continues to this day, just as the day I joined the Academy. That's why this was all started. I wanted to be able to have a place where Firefighters, Police, and Paramedics could get together anywhere at anytime to have a support group. In the process, I would be helping you, other First Responders that are looking for the same thing.
I know what it's like to have your issues made public to everyone, I had my confidential medical information released by my former employer. Much ridicule and shame followed and still troubles me to this day. I promise never to release any of your information you use to sign up.
Even though my fire career has ended abruptly and before it's time, I can still help others like yourself. This is just the beginning as I share my experiences from the beginning up to today, and tomorrow for that fact. I will always share my experiences to let you know you're not alone and maybe, just maybe, we can help each other. The end has not come yet!
Hey there! I started this site because I needed to vent how I feel. I'm currently going through a Disability Pension process, a Workers Compensation Claim, and an EEOC Disability Charge against my employer. Great huh? Oh, and by the way, they fired me for applying for FMLA!!!
I couldn't find much, if any at all, information on these topics as it relates to the Fire Service. When I tried to explore other fields, I noticed there wasn't any help either.
So I began to share a journey. This helps me to get it all out, among those that know what it's like to be a First Responder. At the same time I don't want others to go through what I'm going through, so hopefully you'll learn a thing or two.
Let me know if this helps and what I can do to make it better. You can message me in the forum or send me an email at Joe(at)FirstRespondersForum(dot)com. I HATE those pesky spammers! And you wont' get any from me by the way! And yes, I stay anonymous on here too!
Be with other Emergency Services members with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Discover real life tips about Workers Compensation, Disability Pension, FMLA, and the ADA from others in this group. Our boards will help relieve the pressure and release that overwhelming feeling. Start right now!
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