These stories are shared by firefighters to enable, educate, and encourage other firefighters who have similar experiences, unique characteristics, or may not understand the adversity of their brother and sister firefighters. Many of these stories are submitted/shared anonymously due to the nature of the story and the need for anonymity. Do not assume you know or understand other firefighters battles. The degree of adversity in the stories cannot be judged by others, take them as they are shared and share them with other firefighters if you see fit. If you have something to share, please email FireCritic@FireCritic.com with the subject “My Story”.
The Depressed Firefighter
While I had been thinking of becoming a volunteer firefighter for several years, I only recently made it a reality. I have been battling depression on and off for a while, and never really got over it. My brother convinced me to join the fire department as he felt that it could help me. Imagine my surprise when I realized he was right.
It only took a few emergency calls to realize it was helping. I noticed I was happier and more fun to be around. I was focusing on the future and how I could help people.
All I really needed to do was enjoy the feeling of helping others. That is what was helping me. Being a firefighter saved me, and has helped me save others too.
I now have more of a family than I ever had before, and it is an amazing feeling. I wonder how I could have gotten so depressed in the first place.
I was diagnosed with depression but never sought medical assistance in dealing with it. I refused because I didn’t want to take pills that would change me. I didn’t want to become dependent on them as I have read of others doing. My family tried helping, but I always shunned them away when they did.
I never told the other firefighters in my department about my depression. I was afraid they would see me in a different light if they knew how depressed I was before joining. I would rather not be treated differently because of it.
No one is alone. Even if they choose to keep it to themselves, as I have done until now, they’re not alone. Never. That’s something I’ve learned.
– Shared by an Anonymous Firefighter
If you are depressed or think you might have a peer firefighter who is depressed, the links below are to further information on the topic:
- Issues of Depression and Suicide in the Fire Service – NFFF (pdf)
- Trouble in Mind – NFPA Journal
- Firefighters at Risk ~ The Negative Effects of Stress and Trauma on the Human Spirit- Grieving Behind The Badge Blog
- Depression and Suicide – North American Fire Fighter Veteran Network
- Firefighter Behavior Health Alliance
- “Can YOU Talk About IT? – FireCritic.com
- The Deep Dark Secret – Backwards and Stupid Blog