Despite their inherent instinct to help each other, many firefighters and first responders feel there is still a vivid stigma that surrounds seeking professional help, specifically from a counselor. Hodgens explains that when he first started coming to FoF, he was “going through some really dark times, some really hard situations in life that I needed something other than my own self to get through it.”
He recalls seeing other individuals come in for a FoF event and initially walk out because “it brings back too many memories.” The guilt of receiving more than they give is also a tough one to swallow, especially for people whose whole careers are built on putting themselves in danger to help others.
This article came to my attention because one of the former firefighters quoted in the article actually lived down the street from us when I was a kid in NYC. His kids and I grew up together, and what he’s doing is pretty cool.
But that’s not why I’m sharing it here. I’m sharing it here because of that passage I quoted above. I think the reasons for not getting help when dealing with trauma that prevent firefighters from getting help, are the same reasons that many people don’t get help.
Getting help means that I am weak – WRONG!
I don’t want to be a burden to someone else, I should take care of myself – WRONG!
I don’t deserve help if I can’t get through this -WRONG!
I’ve heard variations on these themes so many times, and all they do is prevent people from getting better. How is that anything but wrong?