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Climbing out ….

.

The good news is that I’m back in my “boots”. I’m back in bunker gear and pulling regular tours.

The bad news is that I’m still not 100% and I know I never will be again. I’m still working through the grieving process and searching for my “new normal” (read my previous post “Searching for a New Normal” by clicking HERE) .

In another previous post (“Melt Down”) , I told ya about the “stages of grief” and how grief is as individual as the person suffering through it. We don’t necessarily go through the stages in order and by no means in the same way.

I’m currently working through the “depression” stage (and, I believe; suffering through PTSD).

I was expecting it but have never fully understood exactly what “depression” was. I’m learning the hard way.

My thoughts continue to wonder with every waking moment and it’s difficult for me to focus.

I still can’t eat. I just don’t have an appetite … I’m  not hungry. When I try to force myself to eat, I throw it back up so I figure why bother.

I’m sleeping some at night now but I’m not REALLY “sleeping”. I’m tired all the time and can’t motivate myself to get out and do anything. I try to make myself go “somewhere” or do “something” but I don’t. I know I need to.

I haven’t even been able to write (evident in my recent lack of postings and absence from Face Book).

I’m not getting along well with others … I just want to be alone.

All these things seem so petty and easy to fix but they’re not.

That’s the hardest part for me. I know what’s happening and what I need to do ….. I just can’t muster the energy or motivation to get it done.

I have to start climbing my way out of this hole … I thought I have been but it doesn’t feel like I’m making much progress. I can’t stay here (like this) forever.

One of the folks I’ve been seeing offered a prescription for anti-depressants. It’s not for me. There’s a small part of me that almost took her up on it just so I could learn for myself (and share with you folks) if they (the pills) “really” work or not. Unfortunately,  I’m not the “pill” taking kind ( I hardly even even take an aspirin) so I won’t be able to tell you “first hand” about anti-depressants. I can tell you that depression is REAL . It’s an illness that can be crippling.

I see a lot of it in the firehouse for one reason or another. Not just in situations like mine (the loss of a loved one) but also over financial issues, marital problems etc. If you want to learn more about depression and take your “Depression IQ quiz”, take a minute and CLICK HERE .

The best thing for me has been talking about it. Getting “it” out of my head and off my chest. I’ve wrote about them a lot here lately but once again, I want to share with you some folks who you CAN TALK TO. People who understand and that do MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

These folks are not just for you or me either. They are there for our Brothers and Sisters as well and it’s up to us to let them know that help is available. PAY ATTENTION … look around you. If someone in your company, your Battalion, Department or whatever is needing help, point them in this direction. You know … firefighter “so and so” whos wife just left him. Ol “what’s his name” from Engine whatever who just took a 3rd mortgage out because he lost his 2nd job.  That S.O.B on the Ladder who we all know has been drinking too much …. all these Brothers have someone to turn to. Let them know before it’s too late. Here are the links ….

Grief.com,   Recover from Grief.com The Sweeney Alliance,Firefighter Behavioral Health AllianceNorth American Firefighter Veteran Network

I had a bad day yesterday. Like most everyday, there’s always something that will remind me of Jackson.

I pulled a tour Saturday (we work 24hr shifts) and when I got home yesterday morning, the Buckaroo was waiting for me. It was 8am , he missed his “Paw-Paw” and wanted to play.

He got his motorcycle toy out. It’s like the old Evil Knievel wind up toy. If you’re a boy and anywhere near my age (44), I’d bet you had one.

I showed him how to use some books / magazines to make a ramp so we could make some jumps down the hallway. It was just how me and Jack did it when we were kids.

I could see us like it was just yesterday. Then the thought hit me (as it always does in situations like this) …. I wanted to call Jackson and tell him what we were doing. He would LOVE it! Knowing that me and the Buckaroo were doing exactly what he and I did as kids. I know he’d remember our ramps … our jumps…. fighting over who went next…. he’d understand and know EXACTLY what we were feeling / doing. He’d have that unforgettable smile on his face just thinking about it.

I’ll never get to make “those” calls again … not to Jackson and it’s killing me. This grief … the depression…. it keeps knocking me down but I won’t let it keep me here.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I have to start climbing my way out of this hole.

“CLIMBING”…… Seems I wrote about that one time …. back in July of 2011 actually in a post titled “We are all Climbing” (Take the time to hit the link and read that post … I think you’ll find it worthwhile). Stairs,  ladders or whatever obstacle, it seems we all are indeed “climbing”.

Me? I’m gonna find my way out …. I’m gonna find that “new normal” because I’m going to keep climbing …. it’s all I know to do.

I’m gonna start by getting out of town again. I’m going to head up north and spend a little time in NYC and out on Long Island.

I’m going to attend the Long Island Fire, Rescue and EMS Mega Show on Feb. 23rd / 24th. I’ll be working the booth with my MN8 FoxFire family but I’ll also be doing what I love best … meeting, spending time with and talking to all the Brothers and Sisters in attendance. I think it will be just what I need to get “moving” again …. to “re-engage” and get “back in the game”.

I’ll get ya more details in the next day or so …. until then, thanks again for all the support. Thanks too for allowing me to share all of this with you …. I LOVE YA ALL!

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines

Comments - Add Yours

  • BennyC

    From my personal experience the pills only serve as a short term fix. I was offered and refused as well. I watched how they helped my mother and sister as long as they took them. Without them they were nothing. I didn’t want to live my life everday by taking a pill. I know it’s a longer climb facing it “head on” but I feel this is the best possible solution to get me back to “normal”. It will be a long and sometimes lonely ride Willie but we are here to help you get through it. I never knew exactly what the brotherhood was all about until your situation and I would like to thank you for sharing your story. Without it I wouldn’t have known what the brotherhood is all about. The brotherhood gives me more motivation to get back to the “normal” me and get back on the rig. Thank you again!!

  • John P. Bondrew

    Hey Cap,
    You are doing well, even though it may not seem so to you now. You know how you feel and are able to discuss those feelings. Many people don’t have as good a handle on it as you do.
    In time, those memories of Jack will not be linked to sadness, but will bring you the happiness of Jack himself.

    When my Mom passed, I felt like I was adrift in a raft, in the middle of the ocean. Time, and the brotherhood, will help you.
    There is a reason why cops hang out with other cops, firemen with other firemen, etc., because we have shared experiences. We will be here, to share your burden.

  • Sharppointy1

    Cap’t Willie – As always, my thoughts and prayers are with you on your jurney. After my mother’s suicide there were countless times I’d want to pick up the phone…..only I couldn’t.
    I think that you can see you’re in a hole is an excellent start. You’re early on the path of coming out of grieving; you’re suffering a mix of grief and depression and almost certainly PTSD.
    Keep talking, Willie. Keep telling us and professionals how you’re thinking and feeling and doing. You are not only helping yourself enormously, you are affecting all who read you. Because of your words, someone might take a closer look at a blood or firehouse brother. I know one of your agonies is you couldn’t save Jackson, and it’s my experience as a psych nurse that when someone really wants to suicide, they will no matter what. But you sharing is opening eyes all around the world, and may help someone else today, next week, in 3 years.
    Again , my hugs to you. I think you’re dealing well with an incredibly hard experience.

  • Robert Davis

    Just keep taking it one day at a time. I like your thoughts on a new normal. I have a tough time getting out myself. I feel I spent most of my kids childhood away at taking fire schools or teaching them. Now I push myself to go, just to show the new guys that they need to go. Keep talking to people and working through it.

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  • Mark Akins

    Brother,
    Stay strong, keep the faith you are always in our prayers.
    You have many, many BROTHERS!
    Love Ya.
    Mark

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