I wrote this several years ago and found it in my drafts along with other writings that I didn’t have the courage to post.

So I’m posting them now…..


The pressure to go back to work is suffocating.

Let me backtrack a minute.

I wanted to quit my job before I went to in-patient treatment at the Center of Excellence (COE) in Marlboro, Maryland that is specifically for firefighters.

Quit or disappear all together….off the bridge in my battalion chief truck. That’s where I was at.

So I go get help and begin an incredible journey to, TO,, my overall wellness and the ability to return to my career…the only thing I know.

The very morning I left COE I had an EMDR session about who had my back at work. I named all my Captains, Lieutenants, a few female coworkers, and of course family and friends. So I left there feeling good about returning to work.

While at the center we had to pick 3 of our top traumas. It could be anything. We took written evaluations of all the worst traumas. And they ranked your top 3. It was made clear that those top 3 could change at any time you felt like it.

As I sat in what is called “trauma prep” I scored my traumas and discovered that being treated differently at work and several specific verbal assaults THAT was what was hindering me from returning to the fire service.

Finally standing up for myself ONE time after 20 years of sexist behavior and attitudes that I just let go or ignored just so I could do the job I loved….only to be told I was dramatic.

Before this I had always ignored and denied mistreatment because I’m a woman. Everyone who knows me knows that. So it was a very hard pill to swallow and admit out loud that it happens to me. IT IS A REAL ISSUE. I’ve lived in it for 20+ years.

One day it will all come to light. I’ve got to get through just returning to work first. Maybe after I retire I will share all the things I’ve written down over the years.

I don’t even care if no one reads any of it. Or any of this. It does wonders for my soul just putting it out there…as tactfully as possible.

I will give work another shot and see what happens….


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