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  • Ed

Are You Living or (Barely) Surviving?

Editor's Note: This is the perspective of someone who deals with trauma, death, loss, and chaos frequently, if not daily. As you read this, think about: The ways that trauma has affected you. The way trauma has affected the way you look at life. Has it affected your outlook on life negatively or positively? How do you deal with your trauma? Is it healthy? Are you living or (barely) surviving?


My observations of my fellow humans is that many of them have a flawed look at life. I have very little money, but I am extremely content. I don't watch TV, and am capable of being happy. Life is too precious, and if you woke up, you have control as to how to respond to any situation you encounter. I am a volunteer firefighter, so I have plenty of trauma I carry around. I have had too many brothers and sisters end their own lives, most within 5 minutes of hanging up our phone calls. I suffer from survivor's guilt, PTSD, and a nicotine & caffeine dependency. Yes, nicotine and caffeine are addictions.

A lot of people say I'm brave for my career, but I call myself crazy because of scenes I have been at. I live with really traumatic images in my head everyday. I present myself with a facade, but I rarely sleep, because those images haunt me.

Despite having trauma everyday, spending $15,000.00 annually for certification, etc. what keeps me going is me wanting to avoid allowing the trauma to stew in my head. The more I see it the more normal it becomes, but at the same time, the bigger positive impact I have on the grieving people. So, I continue on gearing up, and walk around with a smile on my face, despite being miserable. I can't explain it, other than it helps me heal myself. I hope this reaches someone who needs some comfort.


If you are struggling with mental health, suicide, depression, lost in life, or feeling like complete shit and needing to know a next step, please visit for a wide range of resources (starting points) to push you in the right direction.

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