I woke up this morning to recap the Bop to the Top and sort through a loss success even in failures. The first five words of that sentence are perhaps one of the biggest victories, “I woke up this morning,” how many people take that for granted? How many people have lost loved ones and wish for them to be here still? I love looking back an event like the Bop, many others, or any experience in life to seek out what worked and what didn’t, in order to get better….That all came to a head this morning.
As I struggled this last week I had been debating putting thoughts of why I struggled to a finished product, but found difficulty to “word”. I wasn’t even sure as I began to type that I would find the fortitude to express myself correctly, and then the phone lit up. As I parked my truck this morning to go in and type this at the coffee shop I received a call from a brother experiencing similar feelings and a past that we share. That person had no idea I was coming in to write one of several posts where I hope to help people find their “cure” and maybe prevent more losses in our calling. That phone call sealed the deal and the words came.
One of the biggest problems we have is that there is a stigma about discussing topics of anxiety, depression, fears, PTSD, suicide, and mental health in general. The problem is that we don’t until after a loss of another and then we lash out in anger of WHY. Why are we doing nothing? Why aren’t THEY doing anything about it? WHEN will these PEOPLE wake up and do something… Then I realized that “somebody” was me.
This last week leading up to the Bop to the Top in Indianapolis was perhaps one of the most challenging for me in awhile. Took some hits and tried to keep on moving, forced myself, but it didn’t go as well as planned. One visit to my desktop last week and what I thought was going to be normal was flipped upside down. I went in an instant from cleaning off files and pics from my desktop to anxiety level 99 as I opened a series. This was my first competitive climb since losing Brian and seeing those, opened a whole slew of thoughts and memories that I thought I was dealing ok with. Anxiety is something that shows itself so differently from person to person and from time to time that for me to describe seems impossible.
I went into Saturday morning already feeling as if I was behind the eight-ball and I was struggling. That whole getting your “mind right,” prior to competition didn’t happen as I recalled memories, as I recalled a very sick plane ride two years ago, as I remembered sending words of wisdom to those fighting cancer while I was at this very building last year. Understand I’m not blaming anyone, I’m not pushing this off, but after every loss in life, competition, battle, business, the fire ground, we must recap the WHY. What happened, why did it happen?
I didn’t get the times I wanted to turn out, I didn’t finish where I wanted, I lost a timing chip in a stairwell, I fell but I kept on going, I burst out in tears under my mask, but I crossed that finish with head high.
Through the rough competition and week, with all the tough and painful parts aside I find the victory. I find that while I could have given up and stopped, but I continued on. I find victory that these were climbs where I still pushed myself to limits and pushed max. I practiced solid breathing techniques, footwork, handwork, pacing, and that I have more climbs under my belt leading up to another competition and my main event in Seattle. I made it. I survived. I woke up this morning and maybe, just maybe I can help others.
Across the United States we are losing so many people, so many first responders because of their past experiences, their present struggles, and their future fears. While firefighters aren’t a daily loss to suicide, our numbers are in the hundreds per year and outpace those lost in the LODD (line of duty). Our military loses 22 per day to suicide, they too are losing more to issues after the battle is done.
Be that “somebody” that helps. Be that “somebody” that steps up and does something. Be that “somebody” that reaches out to make a difference. Be that “somebody” that is a helper!