Ask the question.
I'm sure we've all heard the old adage, “a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” But what if there's more to that, specifically when it comes to first responders in resiliency? Resiliency, the big word everyone is talking about when it comes to surviving your career and your life and public service. There are multiple facets of resiliency, some can be developed and some you are born with. But how do we overcome the hardest of the hard things life can throw at us, all while becoming stronger and not bitter? One of the first things we know about resiliency, and I would argue the most important is social connectedness with others. We have to get real about the tough stuff with those who have been there, those who get it, those who you can trust and who are safe (have your six). Sometimes it is people we barely know, and sometimes it is people we have known a lifetime. “Support from those who understand what the person is going through, not friends or family who say well intentioned things, but people who have been there, is the one the individual feels he can be open with, and provides the most benefit.” (Jim Rendon, Upside: The new science behind post-traumatic growth). Case and point? Imagine hiking in the woods with someone who has been in your shoes. What are you going to talk about? Does your mind dare to go to the place where it is screaming out for help, but won’t for fear of appearing weak or damaged? Guess what, I put that to the test, and you know what I found out? First responders are desperate to have these conversations, are looking for a space to feel heard, free from the stigma or consequences, and are looking to connect with those who have been there. The strongest ones often scream in silence. I’m not saying a simple conversation can change everything, but what I do know, is that we have to start having these conversations. Your life depends on it, and the lives of those serving right next to you depend on it. As frequently as you check your truck, or clean out the squad, because your life depends on it. Ask the question, you won't regret it. But don’t take it from me, take it from a Firefighter who’s been there, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwy9GYvWU_M
Code Green Campaign, https://codegreencampaign.org/
Anonymous Fire/EMS PTSD groups on Facebook
Kentucky Fire Fighter Peer Support (www.kyffps.org)
Sabrina Mignerey, M.A., LPC