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,
Even if you say it’s not a big deal, psychology says otherwise
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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.
Two people for this posts sake that have anxiety as a Fire Wife.
Person one- 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)
Person Two- 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)
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
It’s why being a little anxious about preventing Firefighter Cancer IS a good thing because 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 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.
And obsessively researching everything about Firefighter Cancer that you can get your hands on because your worried.
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.
Using a Journal is a great way to uncover some of these issues- I like to get one that’s bright colored and inspirational so that I can get all the bad thoughts out and replace them with good ones! You can order a journal from Amazon– but I really like to go to Target and pick out one that I can just pour into and then store it when I’m done!
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.
For me, I like paper and pencil so I printed off a cheap ‘home resource’ printables from Etsy. Filling them out and having them on the bookshelf has saved me more than once with smaller things- and if anything bad happens- I know I won’t have to hunt for that information.
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!
Other things you can do include a funny movie, a cute story on your Kindle, or doing a craft project! You could even try audible- they have an option where you can get two free ebooks when you sign up. It’s perfect for those nights when the house is toooo quite but you don’t want to listen to music.
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.