“And it feels good because when I left the job, I really kinda lost my identity for a while, and I felt like I wasn’t able to help people. And lately, especially, I’ve sort of gotten some of that back, where I’m giving back to the community I love so much. I know these men and women who, you know, selflessly go out every day and sacrifice so much.” – Ret. Firefighter/EMT Keith
First responders often excel at compartmentalizing the difficult aspects of their job. This may serve as an effective temporary coping mechanism, but the mounting pressure of complex, unprocessed trauma can lead to a deluge of feelings and thoughts that seem insurmountable. While that tipping point varies for everyone, for Keith, it took 17 years and a reunion with one of his colleagues to truly realize the power that one of the worst calls of his career had held over him for all those years.
Join former firefighter/paramedic and host Phil Klein as he sits down with retired firefighter and EMT, Keith. Just 18 years old when he joined the fire department, Keith recalls being prepared to see difficult situations but unprepared to deal with the individual and cumulative impact those events would have on his mental health and his life. Now, Keith helps those who are new to or are considering a career as a first responder understand how to break the stigma around asking for help and better prepare for the mental and emotional tolls of public service.
Thank you for listening to Stories From the Road! To learn more about the advocacy work Keith is doing for first responders affected by PTSD, please take a moment to check out these links:
· Keith's YouTube ChannelSupport the show