‘Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Destiny’: A letter to a friend who is struggling with addiction

by Peggy Sweeney

I know you are fearful that people will be disappointed if they learn you are an alcoholic. Most of your family members and close friends already know.

Dear friend, I think of you often. Tonight, I decided to put my thoughts on paper.

When I was in my early forties, I was a young wife and mother of three small children. Due to circumstances at that time, I planned my suicide because I thought that everyone would be better off without me. I felt hopeless. Helpless. I believed I was a failure to my children, to my husband and to everyone who loved me.

That changed one morning. I awoke determined to make something of my life. I vowed that I would never let anyone suffer alone with depression without offering them my help. Continue reading “‘Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Destiny’: A letter to a friend who is struggling with addiction”

Invisible Wounds

by Anonymous

Author’s Note: I would like to thank this brave officer and their spouse for sharing this article. I know it was not easy to lay out their lives as  they did. If they can help one officer to get help, the mission was accomplished. I encourage all who read this article to please share it with an officer or other first responder you may know. You may be saving a life.

I can’t un-see what I have seen

Ever since I was a little child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a police officer. My parents would listen to my tale over and over again. After graduating from college, I accepted a position as a Director of Finance. My parents questioned me about my career choice knowing finance was not what I aspired to do. At 22, I knew this wasn’t going to be my permanent career as most people who just graduate take a transition job until the right one comes along.

Fast forward 10 years and I thought it was time to live the life I was meant to live…..to finally achieve my dream of being a police officer. I worked in a busy police department and eventually made rank. Continue reading “Invisible Wounds”

In Death and In Life

by Robert Cubby

I am a retired Jersey City police captain. On 12/10/19, yesterday, my blue family of officers faced a hellish onslaught from two individuals hellbent on murdering the citizens of Jersey City. In their path of carnage, they murdered a brother officer and wounded two others. Not satisfied with that, they ran into a store murdering two innocent people before they were finally and fatally stopped by responding officers.

This story is not new. It seems it repeats itself over and over in city after city, town after town, rural and urban. I can’t speak of their losses although I feel them. I can only speak of my story, my personal loss.  Continue reading “In Death and In Life”

When Serving Becomes Surviving: PTSD and Suicide in the Fire Service

by Peggy Sweeney

Author’s Note: This article was previously published on the Grieving Behind the Badge website which has since been closed. Some information has been updated, but the overall article is noteworthy.

While watching a news report about a major apartment fire with many casualties including several children, I became aware of a group of professionals who regularly experience grief and traumatic stress; specifically, the men and women who serve their communities as firefighters. In spite of their dedicated service to their communities, few people in the civilian world are aware of, or seem to be concerned about, their physical, mental, and emotional struggles. Soon after that newscast, I outlined the Grieving Behind the Badge program and set my sights on offering help. I had expertise in grief and loss, but that did not prepare me for the obstacles before me. Continue reading “When Serving Becomes Surviving: PTSD and Suicide in the Fire Service”