I was diagnosed with severe PTSD and severe Depression in 2019. I see my battle with PTSD/Depression and suicidal ideation as a gift rather then a curse or burden because it’s forcing me to reinvent myself, rebuild and evolve into a better person then I was before my diagnosis.
I’m a vocal advocate for 1st responder mental health using my lived experience with PTSD, Depression and suicidal ideation to help educate others by telling the story of my mental health journey through my artwork, talks, presentations and writings.
My story includes a deeply personal account of my mental health journey detailing the milestones, mistakes, lessons learned and keys to my success as well as what YOU need to know about PTSD/Depression and its symptoms.
My personal experience with mental health, long time commitment to the fire service and networking with other 1st responders has given me a unique perspective on mental health and its place within the 1st responder community.
I’m also a firefighter with just under 30 years of service and currently holding the rank of Acting Platoon Chief for a mid-sized Fire Department in Ontario, Canada.
Throughout my fire service career I’ve held many different roles and ranks. I started as a volunteer firefighter, got hired into a career fire department starting in fire dispatch as a firefighter/dispatcher. After 2.5 years in dispatch and upon the opening of a new fire station I moved from dispatch onto the “floor” permanently as a firefighter. I worked my way up through the ranks from firefighter, Acting Captain (2 years), Captain (19 years) and finally to the rank of Acting Platoon Chief (8 years).
I also spent almost 10 years in various association roles from Health & Safety Rep, Association Executive member and holding the position of Association President for 2 separate terms.