It’s time to get real with my out-of-shape ass, UPDATE…

So this is happening. Lord help me. The Sunny Indoor Cycle Bike. With Amazon Prime it will be here in 2 days.

I’ll let you know if I even survive even putting it together. Ha!

Update…It’s here!! I am still amazed by Amazon Prime every time I use it. A cycling bike shipped in 2 days??? You better believe it! And a HUGE shout out to UPS and USPS for busting their butts getting stuff to the doorstep!

I thought for sure it would be a cuss-fest trying to put it together. But as you can see, #1 my awesome husband tackled it and #2 it came pretty much put together. What you see above is how it came. It only took him about 30 minutes.

I have always been hesitant to buy one of these. I figured it would #1 cost an arm and a leg and #2 the bike would turn into a clothing rack.

But I was super happy with the price. Amazon has financing as well if you want smaller payments. I use Amazon so much that I had a ton of “rewards” AKA dollars to use towards it.

A while back I gave up going to an awesome place… CrossFit Hixson. www.crossfithixson.com I wasn’t able to make it to the scheduled WODs due to our funky life schedule. I truly miss it because of the people and the awesome lessons I learned about myself, my body, and my body image.

Because of our schedule I bought myself a barbell and some weights to use at the house. Another Amazon Prime, got it all in 2 days purchase!

As much as I love dynamic exercise and lifting, I desperately needed to add cardio. Well, anyone who knows me knows that my left ankle has always been a hot mess. And then a week ago I turned my right ankle for the first time. Anyone with ankle issues knows that it’s over for that ankle too. Ha!

And anyone who knows me well knows I only run from cops and bears, because, running is stupid. Hence the spin bike.

So now I’ve got to add my mental health portion…

Somehow I’ve gotten to this place where I’m ready to get back to my old self. The one that took care of her physical self. The one that took time to enjoy her hobbies. The one who found joy in so many things.

That person was gone for a long time thanks to one homegrown terrorist asshole. Or at least that was the tipping point.

So if you think you can’t or you will never be ready, give yourself a break. But at the same time, get up every day, eat something, take a shower, and put one foot in front of the other. Eventually those footsteps won’t be so damn heavy.

And if you even need a neutral ear, I’m here. Sometime a stranger can listen better than anyone. I have a Master’s degree in Counseling, so I understand confidentiality 100%. I’m not license but I can still listen. And that may be all you need to get steppin’. Just send me a message through my email, fieryandflawed@gmail.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Been a minute

It’s been a minute since I’ve published anything. I’ve been writing, just not posting. Some of my writing is too heavy and might worry people in my life so I don’t share it.  I also work in an environment where every word I say is scrutinized or shared and usually twisted. So I have to regulate myself.  

It’s amazing how age and experience can open your eyes to things you have dealt or struggled with your  whole life. My topic of “struggle” today is depression. I’ve been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Moderate. What does that even mean?

I guess it means different things for different people. For me, depression comes in waves. I can go weeks with a good attitude, no napping all day, hitting the gym, staying on top of paperwork, being patient to my kids. Then a bad day or few days will hit. When I get out of it, it is like starting all over. I can’t just pick up where I left off. Then after another undetermined amount of time, I lose it again. It’s a cycle on it’s own time line that I can’t predict.

I still function and get the important things done, like pick up my kids from school. Feed them. Mostly cereal or pb&j, but damn, that’s food!! But these days are filled with guilt over not getting things done. Like walking right by the overwhelming clutter in my house. 

 You know it’s bad when you kick on the heat for the first time in a year, the house immediately fills with smoke, setting off all your smoke detectors, and you refuse to call 911 because you don’t want the firefighters to see your messy house.

 Do I like these days of being so overwhelmed I don’t even start? Or being unmotivated to do anything I used to love doing? Or slacking in the wife and parent departments?  Hell no. But how do you snap out of it?

Not too long ago I realized I didn’t give a damn….I didn’t give a damn about anything. Nothing phased me. I walked around in the strangest, neutral state. To be honest….it was awesome! I didn’t give a crap about what people thought. I didn’t care what I said. And I let some people know what I was really thinking. It felt great!! 

But when you don’t give a damn about anything, even joy doesn’t exist. And that was a problem.

So I found some joy and some motivation after going to a psychiatrist, Marie Beasley, at Riverview Psychiatry. She added Welbutrin to my “cocktail”. It helps your endorphins, unlike Prozac, which is for cortisol. So it helped even me out. 

I highly suggest if you choose to take anti-depressants, that you seek guidance from a professional….a psychiatrist. Not your OBGYN, your family practitioner, your dentist. A psychiatrist. 

Marie put what my medication was doing in easy terms for me to comprehend. Trust me, when you are a lost ball in high weeds it is imperative to have a professional give you easy-to-follow instructions to help you begin to feel better enough to chop down the weeds.

Seeing a counselor is also a great idea. I lucked out and found Linda Graham who specializes in trauma, traumatic stress, etc. Traumatic stress is a constant in the emergency services whether you run a bad call in a shift or not. You are always waiting for it. I found myself assuming the worst and not engaging with anyone because of the anticipation that something bad would happen. 

I still correlate good things and bad things. For some reason it seems that every time something good happens, something bad is right around the corner. But I’m getting better at seeing these things for what they really are. Just life. Linda is helping me with that as well.

I just want to share some of my experience with depression in hopes that someone will read this and come to some sort of realization about themselves. I hope it is a positive realization and motivation to get help or help others.

Functioning with depression, even major depression, is possible. You just have to see it in yourself and own it. Only then will you accept the idea of help for it.

If you are in the Chattanooga area and need help, please consider the following: 

http://www.riverviewpsychiatry.com/

http://www.compassion-center.com/

July 16, 2015

WARNING: This is going to be a long post. So grab a drink or some ice cream. I haven’t talked much about it since it happened. And I’ve only sat down once before now and written anything down. I don’t know why I haven’t been able to. My role was totally insignificant compared to those who sacrificed their lives and those men who charged in and kill that piece of shit.  

_____________________________

It’s been 2 years since the terrorist attack in Chattanooga. Althought I wasn’t in the gunfight or have direct contact with the victims, that day messed me up. I’ve been different ever since.

 A huge part of me believes that I’m ridiculous for being so torn by it when I wasn’t directly involved with those who died. I didn’t fire a weapon or get shot at. But when you work in emergency services you never really know which call will effect you. So I guess this one got me and now I am trying to give myself a break and share my little piece of that day. 

Some would say that September 11th changed their view of the world. Back then I was 26 years old, single, with no kids. I had only about 4 years under my belt as a firefighter. I was still 10ft tall, bullet-proof, and naive. And although it did have an effect on me, I wasn’t physically there. It had no direct impact on my life.  14 years later I found myself standing in the middle of a highway trying to provide some organized help to chaos and keep account of men and women that weren’t normally under my command. 

Let me sidetrack here a minute and explain some relevant information about myself. If you know me well you can scroll past  this. Haha! For those that don’t know me, I have been certified as a “police officer” since 2003.  But you won’t see me walking around writing tickets or arresting people. Most people don’t even know. 

I attended the local police academy. At that time I was a Lieutenant for the fire department. POST (Police Officer Standard Training) is a requirement in order to be a Fire Investigator on our department. I had applied for and gotten that position. 

Although 5 years as a fire investigator gave me a huge amount of experience in law enforcement, I have NEVER been a patrol officer. And that is where you really become a cop. I have maintained my POST in order to have an extra layer of protection for myself, my family, and my coworkers.

Not too long ago I was talking with a group of cop friends during the yearly police in-service. We were discussing the 16th and how there wasn’t any mention of me in the federal reports….or any reports that we knew of. Although I am grateful I wasn’t mentioned, I know I was there. So do about 100+ law enforcement officers I came in direct contact with that day.

During our lunch break from class, I found myself having an overwhelming need to write stuff down about that day. I hadn’t at all up until that point. I had even been asked by our state fire academy and the local Homeland Security office to write a synopsis of what all we did that day. I didn’t write down a single word. I just simply couldn’t. But that day, after talking with friends, I found myself writing…..

Not writing what we did, but writing about how ANGRY I was. I was pissed off over just about anything and everything. I had gone from a “realist” to a “pessimist”. And despite all I had seen and done in my career, I had remained a realist until that day. Afterwards I was nothing but short tempered, paranoid, and negative.

After a long time and some counseling through our Employee Assistance Program, here is what I determined to be a huge factor in why this anger I had was so overwhelming….

With all my experience of law enforcement meshed with fire service, I began to ask for some sort of cross-training between our fire and police departments YEARS before this event. Even if it was just simple “awareness” training for our firefighters on what to watch for on medical calls. Something. Anything. Because I had this overwhelming feeling that something shitty would happen.

You want to know what I got from our training chief at that time? “This is Chattanooga. Nothing is going it happen here.” I also got told by another chief “We can’t be letting them use our trucks in those situations (situations like Columbine High School). What if they get bullet holes in them? We would have to pay to get them fixed.” We spend our careers training for shit we hope never happens. How is was this any different??

Well, at that point I said “Forget you”.  Not literally. Just in my head. Because at that time I still had a filter.  I contacted the person who was over the SWAT team at the time. I let them come to one of my firehalls and look at all the rescue equipment we had. I let them ride up in the platform (bucket on the end of an aerial firetruck). I let them see how we crank the trucks…just in case they needed to use one. Just opening up a line of communication with the guys who would be there for my people. 

I’m not stupid. And they aren’t either. We all know that using our equipment to do something miniscule is out of the question. But I told them if they’ve got a downed officer in the middle of a shit storm or victims bailing out second-story windows and I’m there, take one of my trucks. Or hell I’d drive it for them.

Of course adminstrations changed and little was done with my proposal. Following adminstrations did not give  a shit either. Again…. “That sort of thing won’t happen here”.  Well here we are several years later with a local kid going radical and killing 5 of our military personnel. Terrorism right in the middle of our fucking yard.

NOW they want to get together and have some training with each other. And apparently have a committee working on it. So I guess that is a positive. But it should have been started ages ago. 

    The entire time I stood in that road I was protected. Protected by men and women that lay their lives down every time they go to work. Multiple local and regional departments, state troopers, ATF, FBI, DEA, Sheriff’s Department….all surrounding me. Patient, calm, and very respectfully. 

    As a Battalion Chief I live, eat, breathe Incident Command. Form a plan. Provide resources. Keep accountability. And that is all I did on July 16th.
    I remember thinking that at some point one or more of those cops would ask what in the hell a fire chief was doing telling them where to go….why in the hell they had to give me their name…why in the hell they had to report back to me when they left the hot zone… 

    But never once did that happen. They were nothing but respectful.

    I knew over half the faces. Some where people I consider friends. Some I have a huge amount of respect for. ALL of them I was proud of. What hit me most about that day was not the killings. It was watching those men and women run forward to save others. 

    All I can really think of to describe what I witnessed is “Awe”. I love my local law enforcement. I wish everyone would take time to really, truly get to know them. Cops are humans like the rest of us.

     That day I witnessed them go above and beyond to save countless lives. Far and above anything I had witnessed before. And it makes me angry that there are people out there that refuse to treat them with the respect that they deserve. 

    We live in an incredible country. We have freedoms and opportunities that majority of the world never know. We have people all around us that sign up to be there on our worst day.

    Yet we take complete and total advantage…and then ask for more. And we want to buck and defy a system in place that is trained to respond to situations like this. A terrorist attack. By a local. In our city. 

    I was not looking forward to being on duty today because it is the second anniversary. I said “it is a shitty day to be on duty”. But a friend of mine said 

    “It’s not a shitty day. It’s a day to remember what they sacrificed. To bring to light the things that need to change.”

    Words that struck me to the core. “To bring to light the things that need to change”. We all need to remember what these men and their families and friends sacrificed. And what those who are still living sacrifice every day. 

    Remember, respect, and make changes.