Without going into the nitty-gritty details of stats and numbers, we know that Firefighting can be a dangerous career.
Because we live it.
And there’s something to be said about this type of anxiety that you feel, similar to how someone might feel married to a LEO or military member, there’s a heightened sense of,
because you know that at any shift or any training, there’s the possibility that your Firefighter could be injured.
Even if you say it’s not a big deal, psychology says otherwise
Why do we have LODD anxiety?
There are two kinds of people, the ones that know they have anxiety and the ones that pretend it doesn’t exist.
And before we go any further and you crucify me for my basic language, just know that there are way more complexities, but you can talk to a shrink about those if you want the dirty details.
Back to this.
Here’s the thing- if you know you have anxiety- you are aware of it, and then you can either embrace it (like, ya know, work through it, make the darkness your friend, take a prozac)
you totally ignore it, say it’s not a big deal, and you don’t have any anxiety (this is the one that’s not that healthy because it WILL sneak up on you one day and it’s part of the reason most people hate this course)
But why do we have this? Because we have a subconscious mind that desperately wants to keep us alive, so it tells us when things are dangerous.
Even if it’s not a thought, our body reacts to situations that threaten our life.
Like when you notice that the same car has followed you for the last few turns and your spidey senses go off- or when you notice a new strange smell at your job.
Anxiety CAN be a good thing when it’s moderated as it helps us stay alive
When is Anxiety not a good thing?
For anyone that’s lived with anxiety (and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had my fair share of that dirty damsel) we know… it’s sneaky.
You could be stressed out, or worried and not even show it on the outside.
Those shitty thoughts (and sometimes physical responses like poor sleep, having trouble remembering things, and being overly cautious) can take over your life.
That’s when it’s not a good thing- when it’s making you do things because of fear.
Like sitting next to the scanner when your Firefighter is at work
Or checking the local news and facebook groups to make sure that there isn’t a fire or bad accident and that no firefighters made it on the news
Maybe insisting that they check in with you on a rigid schedule and then being concerned if they are late.
5 ways to beat LODD anxiety for Firefighter Spouses
1- Pay the Piper
You’ve got to admit that it’s bothering you- and get specific.
Sure, you could ignore it. But that will get you nowhere.
2- trust the training and be a bear if the training isn’t there
There’s a phrase “trust the training” and it’s a good phrase because it’s true. Your Firefighter didn’t just stumble into the firelife, there was a lot of training involved.
But if the training isn’t there. Talk about it. It’s 2020 and there’s no excuse for a firefighter that isn’t prepared.
3- Have some backup plans (phone numbers, addresses, life insurance)
This is one of those things that’s SO important. Having some peace of mind IF (not jinxing you here) things do go south is always a good idea.
4- Find a support group
Which, if you don’t have the right one can be a big problem.
See, you need people that understand you and that can help you work through your fears. Not add to them. Find a group that is real, but also positive.
5- Make your home a safe place
Because if you can’t feel safe at home, where can you feel safe at? This means turning off the news, turning off the pager so you aren’t listening all night, and seriously, please get some sleep!
LODD anxiety sucks. I’ve fought it, and I know sometimes it sneaks up on me too.
You aren’t alone with this, just remember, you are going to be ok, no matter what happens. The information you need it out there.