By Jay Davies I dedicate the last 28 days of 28 push-ups in honour & remembrance of fallen Brother Fire Fighter Qualified Brad Symes. He wore #28 with Portland when drafted by the Oilers. Also if you ever worked out with him he'd push you to do that extra set or minute. Thanks to Darren Astles for the nomination. Everyone from every walk of life deals with mental health challenges regardless if you wear a uniform or not–however this is the world I know. MH issues are not new but we ARE new to speaking out & properly dealing with them.
I dedicate the last 28 days of 28 push-ups in honour & remembrance of fallen Brother Fire Fighter Qualified Brad Symes. He wore #28 with Portland when drafted by the Oilers. Also if you ever worked out with him he'd push you to do that extra set or minute. Thanks to Darren Astles for the nomination. Everyone from every walk of life deals with mental health challenges regardless if you wear a uniform or not–however this is the world I know. MH issues are not new but we ARE new to speaking out & properly dealing with them. It all begins with ourselves: Dealing with things before they deal with us. Much like a sandwich left in your kid's backpack, the job is coming with you, whether you're willing to admit it or not. It will rot you, your family & everyone around you. For a profession that often gets to break down walls and doors we are tragically stellar at building them up, isolating ourselves from the pain until we see no other way to end the pain than ending our lives with suicide. We're the fixers & helpers: we don't want to burden others with our pain. We're in control: we don't want to let on that we're losing control inside due to invasive dreams, flashbacks etc. I simply couldn't live with or let others hear or be exposed to what I was battling so I began to end it all three years ago. I thankfully stopped before it was too late. It's never easy but speak out. We're lucky enough to have great systems in place through Local 209 & EFD but we MUST reach out to activate them. It begins with you. We also must be better humans to ourselves, our Brothers & our Sisters. Every snide remark or shot we throw, whether direct or in passing, adds to the stigma & culture so that others will never feel comfortable speaking out for help. As someone who conquered my battles with post traumatic stress, depression & anxiety, I can assure you there are better days ahead but you must find someone to trust with your wounds. There will be critics but you'll be pleasantly surprised by the support you'll receive on the job. It will take much work & humbling but WE will overcome. Rest Easy Symesy, you are ALWAYS remembered and NEVER forgotten Brother.
“As I look back on these 10 years, I can’t wish that life would have stayed the course I planned for myself. I see that every thing that’s happened – every beautiful twist and turn – has made me who I am today. And I like who I am.” Last year, I had the honor and privilege to meet with some inspiring artists who had also been through trauma, to collaborate on Beechwood Art’s Immersion Salon: “Resilience”. I was so touched by how these artists live every day as an affirmation of life and have healed through their art. You can read more about the Salon Immersions that Beechwood Arts have done in the past here: Arts Immersion Salons with Salons Around the World. I wrote a series of monologues, “Windows of Resilience” to convey the various peaks and valleys of my beautiful detour over the past decade. Resilience – what does resilience mean to you? As all of the “resilient” artists put our heads together and thought about the best way to artistically represent “Resilience” we were asked what visual image comes to mind. I said, I imagine resilience to be walking very slowly and steadily with this dogged energy through crashing tidal waves, and you can see a fierce light ahead of you, but just a tiny pinprick of light shooting straight towards your gut, your soul. Here is the specific Resilience Salon Description. You see it, and just keep walking towards it, and there is some sort of universal spirit above you, holding up the crown of your head, like a bright neon hot electric string, so you stay upright, and you have this intuitive trust in a greater energy pushing you forward, and an energy pulling you upwards, so you are unable to fall back or get tossed by the waves, whatever you do. My paintings always have hearts and tears – sadness is a relief sometimes, because at least I can feel something. And feeling anything on this earth fills me with aliveness and gratitude. Learn more about my program and performance at amyoes.com and check out my TEDx Talk.
Greetings to all who will read this post, My name is Tim Grutzius and I am a 22 year veteran of the fire service and was diagnosed with PTSD two years ago. Kate asked me to take on the responsibilities of sharing my knowledge of holistic wellness with all of you. Today, I am going to outline the vision I have associated with this task.