By Philip Miller
I have been in emergency services for over 32 years, the last 15 as a Fire Chief during that time I have experienced so many tragic events and I have held it in all of these years and not even talked about them with my family or even my closest friends. Over the last three and a half years I had major back surgery, I learned that I was allergic to seafood, nuts and nut products, I have been hospitalized and intubated 11 times for a total of over 40 days. The trauma and stress of these events have triggered the traumatic events that I have been involved in over the last 32 years.
It came to the point that I realized I could not deal with this alone, I knew I needed help to overcome my struggles so I took the first step and made one of the hardest decision I have ever had to make, first was admitting that I needed help and second was actually seeking out someone to help me. I found a psychiatrist and therapist, opening up to both of them was also one of the hardest things I have ever had to do because it opened up so many wounds and triggers, for over a year I begin to make a little progress toward my healing, I still continue this therapy to this day, I also incorporated a workout program with a personal trainer due to my back surgery and as a therapy for myself.
For many years I suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, three years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was at one of the lowest points in my life and didn’t know what to do I even consider suicide as a last resort. To go back in time a little the last 15 years of my career as Fire Chief I worked day and night missing many events in my life. Due to circumstances beyond my control my career in the fire and EMS service came to an abrupt end, again I was at the end of my rope, I didn’t know what to do or what would happen, my wife, my biggest supporter said it would be okay. Due to a hurricane on the North Carolina Coast we moved to another state, I started a new career very different from what I had done for the last 32 years. With this change in my life and my continuing therapy things begin to turn around, my medical conditions begin to subside and my mental health continued to improve.
The tragic events that I have been exposed to will never go away and certain things can still be triggers but I have learned coping skills that help me in my everyday life to include my K9 for ptsd. With all of this being said I also blog about my life experiences which is also therapy for me. With my faith, family and friends I continue to heal, however with mental illness there is no cure, for me some of these things will be with me for the rest of my life, but learning coping skills, therapy and working out has made my life better than it was, there are things I still struggle with triggers, nightmares, and anxiety, but I now know that I am not alone in this fight. I continue to blog and speak with people that suffer with mental health issues with the hope that my story will reach at least one person and make a difference in their life.
You can read more about Philip’s journey at https://www.affirmliveconnect.com/blog