What a proud moment it is to watch the person you love more than anything take the oath to serve and protect the community. It’s quite exciting being married to a first responder, isn’t it? With the thrilling stories they bring home, the honorable mentions and lifesaving awards they earn, and the many friends they introduce you to who quickly become your second family. Every day, your husband or wife and all of their colleagues that you have grown to care about so much, go to work not knowing whether or not they will make it back home to their families. You kiss them goodbye and say “see you later!” with a smile on your face. You don’t let them hear the break in your voice or see the tear in your eye when they leave for their 12-hour shift for the 13th day in a row. Through it all, they have been so strong. They have gone to work amidst a global pandemic where they were so often in difficult circumstances, all while being overworked and exhausted. It hurts you that their hard work and dedication to health and safety goes unnoticed, but what about your support and commitment to them? You are not in an easy position either. You deserve to be recognized, heard and supported.
It can be easy to put your mental health on the back burner. Perhaps you are seeing all of the difficulties that your spouse endures on social media and the news, and you don’t have an outlet or anywhere to express how that makes you feel. Seeking out therapy can be intimidating, and you might be hesitant to open up to a complete stranger. That’s okay, and you’re not alone in that regard. The thought of therapy can often be scary, but who wouldn’t benefit from talking through the challenges they are facing with someone willing to listen and offer up support? Book an appointment at Counseling Works, so you can have a safe place to process and express your feelings and life’s stressful situations, all while being supported by someone who genuinely cares. Taking the first step can be very difficult. However, the reward is worth it when you are able to transform your life and your ability to manage life’s many challenges.
Join a Support Group and Stay Connected
Along with therapy, support groups are wonderful ways to make connections with others under similar circumstances. Maybe you have a very supportive and loving group of friends and family. But, if they don’t fully understand what you are going through as a spouse of a first responder, why not expand your circle of support to include those who do understand? It can be very healing to hear the stories and challenges that those who have walked in your shoes have faced and more importantly, have overcome. Support groups offer up a sense of universality and connectedness that can be so powerful. Being married to a first responder is a lifelong commitment and often feels like a roller coaster of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. Throughout all of it, it is so important to have a strong community around you that you can not only lean on during the difficult times but also celebrate with during the wonderful and exciting times.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Do not forget that through it all, you too, have been so strong. You have watched your loved one leave for work through a global pandemic and waved from the window while they were on their way to do their difficult work. You kept your phone on loud and waited up for them, all while keeping up with your obligations and responsibilities. You wish everyone else could see your amazing spouse and all they do for the community from your eyes and truly appreciate their hard work. You keep them going and you matter. Your mental health matters, and in order for you to be strong for them, you need to tend to your wounds first. Counseling Works is here for you! A Massachusetts police officer once said that every great support system deserves a little bit of recognition. You deserve this.