This week I sit down with Brian. Brian has been in the Fire Service for a total of 19 years between Volunteer and Career service. He’s currently a Lieutenant in his department. My first contact Brian was about 18 months ago when I reached out to him after a tragedy and he’s been a friend and supporter ever since. Sharing your personal history doesn’t come easy and as You’ll hear in the show, Brian doesn’t enjoy public speaking. I think he was eloquent and very forthcoming throughout. I appreciate the fact he disregarded his fear and joined me for this conversation.
Stack: Thank you for joining me for another episode of the things we all carry this week. I sit down with Brian. Brian has been in the fire service for a total of 19 years between his volunteer and career service. My first contact with Brian was about 18 months ago when I reached out to him after a tragedy. And he’s been a friend and supporter ever since. Sharing your personal history doesn’t come easy. And as you’ll hear in the show, Brian, doesn’t enjoy public speaking, but I think he was eloquent and very forthcoming throughout.
I appreciate the fact that he disregarded his fear and joined me for this conversation. A quick reminder to please help us build a community which not only recognizes, but support each other through the struggles and recovery. Reach out through instagram @thethingsweallcarry or email email@example.com
to offer support and share your story. Please remember to leave a review on iTunes and give a shout out to any first responder. You know, love or care about. Enjoy the show.
So again, without trying to butcher your introduction, we can start and see if I can prevent myself from making a fool of myself. How about that?
Yeah, me too. Ah, you’ll be just fine. Trust me. If I can do it, anybody can do it. All right. Joining us today on the show is Brian he’s out of Virginia. He’s been a firefighter for 19 years, presently at Lieutenant in his department and he’s here to talk about some family history. He’s gonna talk about some, a couple of calls, not too many.
And then he is gonna talk about a friend of his and we’ll get into some of the things he’s experienced how he’s trying to deal with some stuff and where he is right now. So I will let Brian introduce himself, give you a little bit of a family background and we’ll go from there. How you doing Brian?
Brian P: man. Thanks for having me. So yeah, I was born and raised in Centerville, Virginia in 1983. I guess the first thing that kind of happened to me in my childhood my parents divorced at five. But I don’t really, I don’t have a whole lot of recollection of it. I don’t have any memory of my parents fighting.
I don’t have anything, that sticks out. I don’t even recall my mom moving out. It’s like she was just there and then she was gone. The good news was . After the divorce though, my parents stayed pretty close.
She would come and hang out for the holidays and spend the night. And so they tried to make it, as easy for me as possible. Both my parents were law enforcement officers. My dad was federal, my mom was local, so it made more sense after the divorce for me to stay with my dad who worked regular bankers hours, nine to five rather than, with my mom being on shift work.
But because of that, I felt like I had a certain place in public safety and mainly a, as a police officer or some kind of law enforcement and, So from a young age, I knew what I wanted to do. I’m one of those kids that actually, you know I wanna be a firefighter, and here I am.
Growing up, I was always the smallest the runt of the litter, if you will amongst my friends. So I was always the one that got picked on, I was always the one that got made fun of, I was always the one, that, that took the brunt of everything. I learned at a young age to, to almost start internalizing stuff.
And not speaking about it, not talking about it. In my pursuit for public safety when I was in high school I took a criminal justice class. I graduated high school in oh two. But I went after high school. I ended up going to a volunteer fire station in the area and.
And applying as a volunteer that didn’t work out due to some issues. So then I talked to a friend of mine whose brother worked for prince William county. And he sent me over to, to station 11 to Stonewall now Stonehouse. So that worked out for me. I started there in January of oh three and I’ve been in the fire service center since I continued to volunteer at Stonewall until 2016.
And then I got hired by my current department in April of 2008.
Stack: So let’s talk about high school a little bit. Cuz you said you, you learned to internalize in high school, right? And it was because of being picked on what. I’m asking about it’s the internalizing part? What did that look like for
Brian P: you? It’s been a long time, but it, I think I think over the years I’ve developed a complex um, I’ve always felt like
almost like I was never good enough, almost I always had to do something to impress people that I wasn’t I wasn’t cool enough just the way I was I’ve talked with a lisp for years. I, and that’s been a big running joke for a long time that the longest I can remember was back in, I think, seventh grade that it started, Be becoming a joke.
And because of that, like I hate public speaking. I hate standing in front of people talking even guys I know or gals I know, or people I know.
Stack: How did you deal with it in high school? The internalization? I didn’t. Okay, so you didn’t have any outlets?
Brian P: Okay. No, I didn’t deal with it. I just, again, I just put it away and just went on with my life and, if, it wasn’t, nothing was terrible. Okay. It’s not like I was getting beat up on a regular basis. I actually had, all my friends that were, that picked on me, it was in fun and games, but I was just the littlest one.
Gotcha. But if anybody else outside of our circle, tried messing with me or anything like that, then they had my back and it was, so it was just.
Stack: What they thought is of as good fun you were starting to take on board and keep in.
Brian P: My next door neighbor actually growing up, one of the things he used to tell me, I, I’m not trying to be mean.
I’m just trying to toughen you up. Okay. so
Stack: that sounds about right. For the time period.
Brian P: That was, late eighties, early nineties.
Stack: So after high school, you say you get into the volunteer side of the firefighting and you start an oh three at Stonewall Jackson volunteer fire.
Yep. How does that go? How does how do you find that?
Brian P: A friend of mine his mom used to, or was having a Fairfax county police recruit rent outta her basement while she went into the, or while she went through police academy.
Her brother. Turns out her brother was a career guy in prince William. At the time he was stationed 16. This was back in 2002. No, I’m sorry. 2000. Yeah, 2002, late 2002. So he was I went to 16 thinking I was gonna volunteer at 16. I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know anything about the county.
And he told me don’t come here. Like you won’t get any experience. It’s a slow station. Go try going over to 11. And they, they’re a busy company. You’ll learn a lot, you’ll get a lot of experience. So that’s how I ended up there. However, the I ran my first probably my first traumatic call previously at the other department that I was trying to volunteer with.
And it was a motorcycle accident. A guy in a motorcycle crossed a double yellow line and went head on with a, an SUV. And I just remember standing there, I’m just riding as a, as an observer. I’m not, I don’t have any gear, I’m not certified in anything.
So I’m just watching these guys, do CPR on this motorcycle rider , I’ve never seen anybody do CPR. As they’re bagging this guy using a bag valve mask to breathe for him the air’s coming out of his ears and I hear one of the guys say, my fingers just slipped up inside the back of his head.
And to me, that’s, other than that’s the most traumatic thing that I had seen, and I wasn’t even like upfront, I was just off to the sidelines watching. And how about 18 at the time? I was, yeah, I would’ve been 18. Okay. I would’ve been 18. Now, again, back then, nobody.
not that it bothered me a whole lot, but nobody pulled me aside and said, Hey, you okay, you doing this? That, and that’s again, that’s about par for the course for this time, this timeframe what people didn’t know. And next story I’ll tell you, is that on new year’s Eve, I’m sorry, new year’s day 2001.
And again I told you that my mom would always come and stay for the holidays to try and make it as normal as possible for me growing up. New year’s Eve 2000 my mom came to stay the night we were gonna do bringing the new year together.
And my mom had been talking about going for a motorcycle ride the next morning and, and I was supposed to go with her. The next morning came new year. New year’s day, January 1st, 2000. And oh, I said 2000 earlier, I meant to say 1999.
Stack: So 1999 into 2000,
Brian P: 2000. Yep. So January 1st, 2000 my mom woke up, woke me up, to go for the motorcycle ride.
And I decided I didn’t feel like going, I was tired. I didn’t, we stayed up late. So she left and about a couple hours later we get a phone call and my dad come downstairs and says that, your mom’s been in a motorcycle accident. I didn’t know a whole lot of details. All I knew was that they were ground transported to, to Mary Washington.
And then so we, me and my dad packed up and we drove down to Mary Washington. Right about the time we got down there from Centerville, Virginia. We got there just in time for them to tell us, Hey we’re flying her up to Fairfax. okay. So we packed the truck up and went back up to Fairfax. Which, that was a, probably about an hour and a half ride.
By the time we got there they weren’t giving us much information. They wouldn’t tell us anything other than that, she was alive. So it was about, it was, if I remember I was probably four or five hours that we’re sitting there waiting and they finally let us back to see her and we start, figuring out and seeing what’s going on.
And it turns out she had paralyzed herself from the neck down. So immediately the guilt set in for me, if I’d had gone on this ride, would this have happened? I don’t think it would, I don’t think it would’ve, and then I also think, my mom probably is thankful that I didn’t go on.
So it’s a kind of a double edged sword. It’s definitely a double edged sword. But my mom had a big, long journey ahead of her. And it was a, obviously a life changing for her life changing event for me. It met, my mom had to retire from her job in law enforcement. She spent two weeks in the ICU at Fairfax.
She then did, and I apologize, my timeframes may not be accurate. She did, I think six months in a rehab facility learned trying to learn to walk in and all that. And thankfully she did learn the walk again. She jokes and calls herself the Crip keeper cuz she walks like a cripple.
But she, she even started riding again. Now she had to ride a trike, she didn’t have the balance for two wheels, but that was some good news, but it’s still, that, that guilt still. eight. What a, I was what I was 16 years old. I’m 38 now. So all these years later that I still have that guilt.
Stack: Yeah. I can see that. It’s almost akin to some survivor’s
Brian P: guilt. Yeah. Survivor, even though she didn’t pass away, obviously. Yeah. Survivor’s guilt. The that first call that first motorcycle accident, brought back some memories, obviously not memories of me being there.
I wasn’t there. I didn’t see it happen, but just the thought, and how it could have been worse. This guy’s, they’re not bringing this guy back.
Stack: It’s quite the connection though. Between what your mom went through and then that being the first thing you witnessed.
Brian P: My first, yeah, my very first traumatic call was, was that that was my first dose reality.
Stack: Then you come to Stonewall in 2003,
Brian P: Explain Stonewall a little bit. So Stonewall Stonewall, Jackson’s a part of the Prince William county system. I guess I should call it Stonehouse.
Now, back then it was Stonewall Jackson. It’s a combination of volunteer career department or yeah, department within, inside, inside the Prince William county department. At the time when I joined Stonewall had a really good reputation a lot of active members one of the busiest stations in the county, and it’s first due. It’s got a very diverse first due. It’s got a tank farm, it’s got, railroad tracks. It’s got commercial, it’s got industrial, it’s got residential. It has a major highway that runs through it. It’s got, rural, it’s got suburban. And then, in the next do over, there’s an airport in Manassas.
So you see a little bit of everything there. Now I sit, I say that, what I will say is that after listening to some of the other podcasts, I consider myself lucky that in 19 years in the fire service, I haven’t had to deal with some of the things that some of these other people have seen.
Which, I had my own traumas but some of their trauma is stuff that I haven’t thankfully had to deal with.
Stack: Yeah. I think and I’m happy you say that because I haven’t addressed that directly on the show. That’s one of the things that I’m trying to get people to realize is that’s so personal.
Yeah. Your trauma is your trauma. Yeah. How it affects you and what you take away from it is what you take away from. And right. And it doesn’t matter. What say Chris out of Utah saw. It doesn’t matter. He had some, he had different cards dealt. But they still affect you somehow.
Sure. And so that’s been, the whole point of the show is being that trauma is your trauma, but let’s bring these stories out because I think the stories, as I’ve said in the, in some of these intros, it’s universal. Sure.
Brian P: And I think it’s important to, to at least tell some of the stories to see how people get to where they, they end up.
Yeah. And then without,
Stack: without glorifying some of these stories. Sure. Yes. And I agree with you. I think it’s very important to get the
Brian P: whys out. But yeah. , over the course of my career again I haven’t had to pull a burn body out of a fire.
I haven’t had to do CPR on a baby. I haven’t had to do some of the things that these other people have done. And I consider myself fortunate. But I haven’t had that. But I know it’s coming. I still have a long time to go and, eventually it’s gonna come around. And I guess now it’s just the point of, knowing ahead of time, how to deal with that , I had a call back in 20, I believe it was 2010 and it was a, we got called for a dis a stoppage of breathing and, we get there and it’s, we walk into a chaotic scene, the whole family’s downstairs in the first level.
And I hear what sounds like an older gentleman screaming his son’s name. And we, so we go upstairs and we come across a 13 year old boy in a bathroom who had hung himself on the back of the bathroom door with a belt. And the whole time that we’re trying to, we’re trying to get people into the bathroom and work on him.
his dad’s sitting there yelling, get up Connor, get up, Connor, wake up, get up Connor. And unfortunately he had, he was passed. There was nothing we could do. I, I remember looking at him and I still remember seeing the ligature marks on his neck, from the web belt, with the metal grommet circles that you know about an inch apart around the belt.
And even to this day, like the name, I can’t hear the name Connor without immediately going right back to that scene where his dad is, and it was over grades, he hung himself over grades over, he got a bad grade and his dad got in on him, and so you can imagine not only us having the right, but how his dad felt , and that’s what we were told that by the family is, after, so that was.
that was tough. That was, and that, that was, that’s fortunately up, up to this point, that’s the youngest suicide victim I’ve had to deal with or come across, I shouldn’t say deal with but we, again, we put it aside and I’m still pretty young in the fire career at that point, and nobody asked me, are you okay?
Nobody, we went back to the firehouse and we continued our day.
Stack: Yeah. It’s, that’s a theme, obviously that we all, we run these calls and then you’re expected to be ready immediately to run
Brian P: the next call. And then even earlier in that, my first really traumatic suicide was a gunshot self-inflicted gunshot to a gentleman.
For all intents and purposes, he should have been deceased. But when we got there, he was still breathing. And so we had to get him out of this bedroom and we had to, carry him out and we called for a helicopter for him. But as we’re carrying him out on the backboard, his, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to secure him down.
We just threw him on a backboard to get him out. And I was carrying his head and his head rolled over. And the whole right side of his head is missing. His head rolled over and landed on my hand. And, to this day I can still feel the warm, feeling of his brain resting on my hand.
Stack: It’s that’s quite the feeling to have on your hand.
Brian P: Yeah. And especially, I’m 24 years old. Again, I haven’t experienced a whole lot of trauma, or seeing a whole lot of gruesomeness, at this point, but this. This was by far the worst one as of, to date for, for then.
Oh yeah. And, but
Stack: You keep saying, I haven’t seen a whole lot, but if you take it, if you take your experiences and apply it across the board, you have seen compared. And that’s where I’m, that’s where we get into that comparative thing.
Brian P: So yeah. Obviously I’ve dealt with some suicide stuff but never anybody never anybody close to me.
Fast forward a couple years, 2010 I’m 26 years old and my first daughter’s born and at about six months old I started going through a custody battle with her mom. And wasn’t for. For full custody, I just wanted to get, I was trying to get overnights at the time.
And so going through that and, going to court and going, going to see a lawyer and doing all this it played a toll on me. And I started doing a lot of drinking. Now I had already been drinking for a little while. I started drinking when I was 16 years old.
I was still in high school and alcohol soon became a friend even at that young of an age, and now obviously I was limited, being under 21, getting it. But once it seems once I turned 21, it was all bets were off. And I started using alcohol a lot and maybe I didn’t realize at the time.
To, to self-medicate. So you know, now my daughter’s here and we’re trying to, figure out what we’re gonna do for overnights. Her mom’s a dispatcher for a neighboring jurisdiction. So you know her schedule was weird. I was on day work at the time in my in my department.
So I was only working Monday through Friday 10 hour days. And, I would get my daughter every weekend or every other weekend. And I would get her Friday night through Sunday night. Now the problem was is that, and maybe now I look back and I, I can understand why her mom had some reservations, I would get her Friday evening and then her mom would pick her up from her on her way back from work.
And then she’d drop her off again Saturday morning. on her way to work and then pick her up Saturday and night when she got off work. So you O
Stack: you were only seeing her during the day, got
Brian P: you. And then it started to cause some problems, cuz there was a couple times where, she was supposed to drop her off to me in the morning.
So she’d get to work and I overslept or I wa you know and so she ended, there were a couple times she had to take my daughter, take our daughter to work with her. And then I had to get up and be, oh crap, and drive to her work and pick her up from her, which, obviously that could cause some issues for her, so of course, again, I was 26 years old.
I was heavy on the bottle and I was really selfish. I gave up a lot of time with my daughter either being at the firehouse or being out with friends and so like this. So I definitely think that, I also carry some guilt now from that me and my daughter’s relationship.
I think we have a decent relationship, but not as good as it should be. I look at the relationship I have with my 12 year old versus the relationship I have with my four year old, who actually lives at home with me, with my now current wife. And there’s definitely a difference.
Stack: So during this period, you recognize that you’re drinking.
Yep. And you recognize that you’re letting her down. What do you do?
Brian P: So I went to I went to one of lieutenants at work and I, I did an EAP request. I didn’t know anything about therapy. I didn’t know anything, and back then, obviously mental health wasn’t really high on the radar.
It was there cuz obviously we have EAP and stuff, but so he helped me out, we got, I got myself I secured myself an appointment with the EAP therapist and and I had one session and talked a little bit about what was going on in my personal life.
And all he could seem to focus on was the fact that I was in the fire department and he, but he didn’t really ask me anything about what do you guys, what do you deal with in the fire depart? It was more, oh, I know a couple guys are in the fire service. Do you know this guy? Do you know this guy?
Do you know this guy? And I was like, yeah, I’ve heard the name, or no, whatever, like we don’t all know each other. I don’t know Jim in California. So after that session, I. I had a bad taste in my mouth. And I stopped going. I didn’t go back to the EAP. I didn’t, I, I just figured therapy’s not, for me I’ll deal with it my own ways, which was, continuing to drink again, I was working day work.
I was working seven to five, which, got me off right in time for happy hour and working, there were plenty of bars between my house and the firehouse for me to stop at every night or just go home and drink and then get up and go to work the next morning and do it all over again.
Stack: Yeah. That’s quite the cycle. And I’ve, I talked to a couple of guys who claimed that, that same cycle, of course. And it’s a pattern amongst us in the fire department. Or in the fire service. Excuse me. So that was , 2010, correct? That
Brian P: was, yeah, that was, 2010, 2011. It was a timeframe.
So you’re working day work 2010. And I know we’re gonna talk about something that I’ve talked about on a previous issue, or excuse me, that I’ve talked about on a previous episode. And I don’t know if you wanna get into that now with Marcello?
Brian P: Yeah. Just a little background.
I know Marshall, went over Marcello, .
Stack: If you, if listeners want to catch up on the story of Marcello Trejo yeah. Episode seven with Marshall. He gets into some depth with Marcello, cuz Marshall worked with Marcello at, in his fire station when when all this took place.
So episode seven with Marshall is the best place to get the complete background on Marcello. But I’d love to hear your take on it as well.
Brian P: Yeah. So I met Trejo while he was assigned to 11, when I was volunteering there. And, we, we developed a friendship not nearly as close as some of these, some of the other people that, that knew him.
But close enough, we obviously had run some calls together. We hung out with each other at the firehouse. He was a, just a bright, funny charismatic guy. And then he ended up one thing I didn’t mention I was big in the baseball growing up.
I played baseball pretty much my entire life until like my sophomore year of high school. And me and Trey had talked a lot about baseball and he ended. Mentioning that he’s a player coach on a, on an adult league team. And I said, okay that seems cool.
Let me sign up for that. . And he basically recruited me to come play and a couple other county guys on the squad. So I went and played and had a good time. And I, the season, I’m pretty sure it just ended. Or maybe it hadn’t ended yet.
I can’t remember, but July 4th, 2014 I was out and about and I got a phone call from a friend that, that told me, Trejo committed suicide. And at the time I was, I was driving and I told my girlfriend, , I gotta pull over I’m gonna need you to drive.
And, so that was just the shock of that was no way are we sure. But yeah, I got, I ended up getting, more confirmation and the next day I went down to my buddy’s house and was hanging out and he was the one that originally called me now. He didn’t know, he didn’t know Trejo but he knows he had some kind of insider information that, whatever.
But yeah, that was the first friend that I’ve had, that, that had committed suicide. So it and again, there’s obviously some things are changing nowadays. But back then it was, back then it was well. Why would he do that? He’s got this beautiful daughter at home.
Who’s young. And he was the, one of the happiest guys I’ve ever seen. I just didn’t understand. And it was a hard pill to swallow. Like, how could you do this? Why would you do this? You left everything behind, and I didn’t understand the, I guess the the mentality behind it that I get now that I have a little bit more of a understanding.
Stack: interesting you say that, cuz I’ve had these discussions at work. I’ve talked to people who’ve turned 180 degrees on this subject. Not that they support suicide, obviously nobody really supports suicide. But the subject of why or how could they do it? And it’s interesting to, to talk to people and hear that their take has changed completely because now they understand that it’s this sickness is.
it’s not a greedy act and it’s almost like they feel like they’re doing a favor. And to see that, that, that groupthink kind of start to turn and not be angry about it in a sense, but to be almost understanding that it’s a sickness.
Brian P: Yeah. It doesn’t make it any easier, but, cuz
Stack: no, it definitely doesn’t make it
Brian P: easier.
So that was that was a tough build while I struggled with that for a while I still do. It’s it still, it still sucks and it, and he’s still, fresh in my mind and especially, as we’re getting here four days away from July 4th it, it sucks that.
When something happens, something traumatic, like that happens on a, what’s supposed to be a fun, day and the effect it can have on your feelings for that day. , you almost don’t look forward to it anymore cuz you know, you’re gonna be, thinking about it.
The trauma takes you right back. Like you’ll always remember that day cuz it was the 4th of July, or whatever day that, and it may be just a random day for somebody that, just and we’ll get into another one here shortly. So I was having some trouble with that. So I, I decided to try and give therapy another chance.
And one of the guys at work gave me the name of a therapist that he had been seeing. So I went and saw him and he got me on, he was the one that, that I guess that. What’s the word I’m looking for advised or suggested medication. And I’ve always been one I don’t wanna take medication unless I absolutely need it.
I don’t like to like other than Advil, if I don’t really need it, I don’t wanna take it. But I figured, it can hurt, I’ll give it a shot. Now I went and had a couple sessions with this guy. And then I had to go find, I didn’t have a, he’s not a psychiatrist, so he couldn’t prescribe medication.
So I had to go find a personal, I didn’t have a personal care physician at the time. So I, he was like I need you to go find a personal care physician, someone that can prescribe you the medicine. And I can, give him the recommendation. I said, okay. So I went and did that. And then, I got on the meds and they put me on Lexapro.
And I was taking that for about three years. But I didn’t, I never felt a difference. And I wasn’t sure if it was just because. I didn’t have a basis for comparison, but I didn’t feel like I was getting any better. I didn’t feel like my irritability was changing. I didn’t feel like, my depression or anxiety or anything was changing.
And one thing you should know is that I hate going to the doctor, my, my anxiety takes over and I feel like I’m everything is gonna be wrong. And I’m scared to find out what I’m what they’re gonna tell me. What’s and, up to this date, I’ve been relatively healthy. No thing’s ever really been, so then, 2017 comes, my second daughter was born and my wife and I decided to do what’s called a Medimap for her.
It’s something that the hospital suggested. And so we went ahead and got that done. So Medimap basically is a, they do some blood testing. I think that. That’ll show deficiencies in medication and how they’ll react with her body specifically. So when we got the, when we got the results back, it, it showed that she had a deficiency with Lexapro that Lexapro wouldn’t be effective on her.
So I started putting two to two together. I was like I’ve been on Lexapro for three years and I don’t feel any different, so maybe I should go get a Medimap done. And sure enough, it’s a, it was a a hereditary thing that the Lexapro doesn’t isn’t effective for me either.
So now I’ve been I’m. I started seeing a psychiatrist, another that a buddy, another buddy of mine recommended. So I go see the psychiatrist and I tell her all this and she’s okay. And I bring her the Medimap stuff and all this, and. And she’s let’s change here. Let’s get you on medication.
That’s, something that’s gonna be effective. So she switches me over to Pristiq. And immediately I shouldn’t say immediately, but within a month or two, I started feeling a little different feeling, a little better. But I’m still not happy with the therapy with the, and I’ve never had a time where I’m doing getting, seeing a psychiatrist and seeing a therapist it’s always been one or the other.
And I have not. Maybe that’s part of what I’m missing. But anyway, the psychiatrist, she’s obviously, I’m, she’s an older and I think, what’s the word I wanna dinosaur if you will. So it’s all you’re D you have depression, you have anxiety, you should not be drinking.
I don’t wanna hear that you’re drinking, stop drinking bow. And I’m like, whoa, lady. This is what I do. Coincidentally at one point I did decide that I was gonna take a break from drinking for about a month month or two. I was gonna see how long I could last basically.
And I made it a month or two. And we, and then it was our family beach vacation came up and I was like I’m not gonna not drink at the beach. But when it came back, I never told my psychiatrist that I had started drinking again. So she kept asking me, how’s being off the bottle.
It’s great. I’m good. And complete fabrication, complete lie. And because I just didn’t feel comfortable telling her that I, I didn’t wanna be honest with myself. I didn’t wanna be honest with her. So then I get an email, I don’t know, a week, two weeks that says, Hey I’m retiring.
My psychiatrist is retiring. And I’m like, oh cool. She’s I want you to continue care. I want you to promise me, you’ll continue care. And I said, okay. And she’s so go find someone. And I was like what, .
Stack: So she, she sends you an email to say she’s retiring and she’s retiring in a week
Brian P: or two.
It was a couple weeks. I can’t remember exactly, but I I had one more session with her. Okay. So a short timeframe? Yeah. . And but she didn’t have, she gave me a couple suggestions, but she wasn’t like, I know this person they’re gonna get you in. It was just like, yeah. Call and see what happens.
Maybe they’ll get you in. I don’t know if they’re taking new patients like, and this was
Stack: 2017 or timeframe. This
Brian P: would’ve been yeah. Yeah. Maybe 18, 18. Okay. Ish. Somewhere around there. I looked for a little bit for a new therapist. I wasn’t really fine. And any anybody that was either taking new patients or, but I wasn’t trying really hard.
I wasn’t trying, my hardest part of me was still in the mindset. Like I’m on meds now. Maybe I’m cool. Like I don’t, so I just let it, I just let it ride. I’m still going to work. I’m functioning, I’m on shift work at this point, by the way, I got moved the shift work back in like 2012.
So now I’ve, been on shift work for six years. And we work the 24 48 when the set Kelly. So every three weeks I get a five day break, which is pretty awesome. What I skipped a little bit, 2017, I got married. Had a kid a second kid. And then 20, 20, 21 rolls around, we’ve now made it through COVID and all that stuff.
Stack: When 2021 rolls around for those say those three years, were you still on Pristiq? Yes.
Brian P: I’ve been on Pristiq to date today.
Stack: Okay. So you haven’t broken that? Nope. I’m still on that. Just wanted to get a baseline to see where you’re at yeah. With the medication, but you’re not going to therapy at
Brian P: the time, correct?
Not going to therapy currently. No. One of the, one of the guys a whole family actually. It’s the Wilson family that I met when I joined Stonewall in oh three. There’s three siblings. Carrie was the oldest, Matt. And then Kevin was the, you. Kevin was at, Kevin was away.
He lived in the outer banks at the time when I joined. So I met Matt and I met Carrie at Stonewall and I had a, an instant connection with the Wilsons. And I learned a lot Matt, of took me under his wing amongst other guys, but Matt took me under his wing. And we ended up, he ended up being a really big mentor in the fire service for me.
And then eventually his brother came back and moved back up here, Kevin and me and Kevin hit it off really well. And the three of us came, became really tight. And we were basically our own crew, as far as duty nights at the volunteer at the volunteer house.
And we were the west end truck crew for a while. Back then there. We didn’t have the other trucks that we had now. We had tower one and truck 11, basically. And I learned a lot from Matt from Kevin, they’re both really smart guys know what they’re doing. We developed a really great friendship.
Matt was a little tough to deal with. Sometimes he had his moments, but, he was our guy and he was great to have on our side. And and then
Stack: I know that when we first talked about Matt, you described him as your asshole.
Brian P: Yes, he was an asshole, but he was our asshole.
And we loved him for it. And so now through, because of COVID and everything, Matt and I grew apart, nothing happened just. Just life, his daughter his daughter was special needs and, required a lot of help and between Matt and and her and his daughter’s mom, they did, they were doing for her what they needed to do.
And, but we would pick up when we could and we’d see each other when we could. And we’d pick up right where we left off. Now Matt also worked for the city for a little while until I think 20, I think 2012 or 2013. And then he left the city and he actually left the fire service altogether.
So January rolls around January, 2021. We had just come through the, all the COVID stuff, and we’re hoping things are getting better. And. That’s the morning of January 26th. And I’m sitting at home, I’m on a, I’m on a a conference call meeting deal. And I get a phone call from one of the guys at work and he, he sounds different.
Hey man, are you sitting down at, what are you doing? I’m just like, dude, just tell me what something’s wrong. What, and he tells me, Matt Wilson killed himself and immediately my world stopped. And I, I remember like asking him, what are you sure.
How do you know this? And he says, yeah. And he he explained the situation and how, why he’s the one calling me telling me this. And , I’m home. My wife’s at work. I’m home alone with our kids. My I guess at what, at the time she would’ve been 10 and 10 and two and I’m trying to hold myself together long enough to call my wife at work.
And then of course I get on the, she answers, she gets on the phone, which is, she worked at a school, so it’s not like I could just call her cell phone or I had to go through the main office of school and say, Hey, I need to talk to, yeah, it’s an ordeal. So it’s a procedure. And so she’s that doesn’t, I don’t typically call her when she’s at school, unless something’s wrong.
And she gets, she answers the phone and I can’t even get the words out. I’m just, I’m umming and numbing. And of course now she’s starting to freak out if something wrong with the kids, what’s going on. Talk to me. And I was finally able to get it out. Matt Wilson killed himself and she immediately on my, my.
I’m on my way home. So she hung up the phone and I was able to go back inside, with the kids and hold myself together until she got home. And I when she got home, I went out in the garage and I lost my mind. Absolutely lost my mind. When you say you lost your mind, what do you mean?
Just I can’t remember the last time I had cried that hard. And I it honestly scared me because I don’t, I’m not much of a crier, every once in a while watching a sappy movie, Titanic gets me. But this was like, and this took me right back because I did the same thing after I found out about Trejo and then I start.
and I compared like I was, looking back I’m like, I was close to Trejo, but Matt and I were, we were inseparable sometimes. Yeah. I think
Stack: you described it as almost like a brother.
Brian P: Yeah. There, and basically, more or less, I used to spend, spend holidays with them.
I’d go over to their family’s, Christmas dinners and Thanksgiving dinners and, we’d cut up. And their mom, the Wilson’s mom, she was also a member at Stonewall and everybody referred to her as mom Wilson. She was everyone’s mom. She was a stationed mom. But the way that had played out was, Matt had gone missing the day before him and his girlfriend had gotten into, an argument and and I didn’t know this, I didn’t know.
So we, the family was able to piece things together and everything, and it ended up coming out a park ranger found Matt in in the, out in the battlefield. And he had shot himself. That quickly became the hardest thing that I’ve dealt with. Of course it did. And again, up until that point mental health wasn’t, for me personally, like I knew about mental health, I’d obviously been trying to get some therapy in and stuff like that, but I did not have a good grasp on what I thought mental health was until after this.
We we did Matt’s service and, I made it a priority to
I made it a priority to go on this advocacy for mental health stuff. So
Stack: before we get to the advocacy, I have a question about Matt’s openness with his mental health. Did he share this with you before cuz you knew him for a number of years 18 years basically, right? Nope. Yeah.
And was he open about his mental health?
No. Did, so nobody was aware of some of the struggles he
Brian P: was going through. People are aware that he had some mental health issues. Okay. But he was too proud to talk about it. He didn’t wanna be vulnerable. Okay. He didn’t wanna be, the same thing that we talk about now and breaking the stigma and it’s okay to not be okay.
And but that just wasn’t Matt. That was, you hold it in and you deal with it, however you feel you need to deal with
Stack: it. So then without the context of knowing that he had some issues, this is even more magnified. Yeah. Not that any, suicide’s not magnified. I don’t mean to cheapen anything, but without even knowing that there was some issues going on, it, it has to be more magnified.
Brian P: Yeah. I nobody expected this. Especially now, he, like I said, he had his daughter and he was a great father. And just, yeah, that was probably the hardest part is coming to terms of the fact that he. he was hurting that bad that he could, he would leave Addison.
Yeah. And that was one of the hardest, obviously the whole situation, hard to swallow pill. But that there, that really was like, holy shit. And that really put into perspective just how bad off he was. But nobody knew it. Some people may have known it. I didn’t.
Stack: , you’re a friend. And you’ve been a friend for 18 years and you didn’t have a knowledge of it. So he hid it pretty well. Yeah.
Brian P: Okay. At least the tendencies. All
Stack: so you use this as a call to advocacy. What does advocacy look like in this case?
Brian P: In.
I hate to sound. I hate to sound cliche. But I, I just touched on it a bit. I want to, I want people to know that there is, there are avenues and and part of the reason that I’m here today, I want people to know that it’s okay to come and talk about these things. We keep hearing break the stigma. We’re not gonna break it. If, we don’t have anybody that’ll talk and be open about it. So if I can help just one person by coming on here and telling my story, then I think I’ve done my job.
It doesn’t mean I wanna stop there. I’ve also I’ve recently just requested to be part of our behavioral health program at work. So we’re getting stuff, going there and getting we just finally got access to a clinician who has a background in public safety.
Mainly police departments were her first fire department, but, and that clinician
Stack: be serving just the fire department for your city.
Brian P: She does. She does the police department as well. Okay.
Stack: But you’re not a huge, neither one is a huge department, so that she’ll be able to handle
Brian P: that.
Yeah. So that’s good. And so each person will get, eight, eight free sessions every fiscal year, so that, and then people are obviously welcome to, go find their own stuff, that insurance will cover. Again, a little bit just about my struggles, I don’t again I told you earlier I consider myself lucky that I haven’t had to see some of the things.
That other people have seen. And I’ve never, suicide’s never been a on my radar when I say I’ve thought about it. Sure. I think about it, is it, what would it be like, how would I but I’ve never considered it. If that makes sense. I’ve never sat on the floor with a gun in my mouth and, wondered why I couldn’t pull the trigger or anything like that.
I don’t have the suicide ideation. I’ve never visualized myself committing suicide. I deal a lot with irritability anxiety and every once in a while, my, my bucket fills up. Now I’ve also in my to, to. for my own personal care. After Matt’s death I did contact the center of excellence, the IFF center of excellence.
But unfortunately they, I went through all the onboarding stuff and they wanted me to come up do inpatient and UN, unfortunately my wife was eight months pregnant at the time. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, I didn’t feel right leaving her, eight months pregnant, not knowing exactly when she was gonna have our son.
I think that’s completely understandable. Our son came and he was born on July 23rd, 2021. Matt’s birthday was July 22. I was I was hoping in one hand and hoping not in another hand, but I thought it would’ve been cool if he had, but again, that, I don’t know what that would’ve been like for me, if he had actually come on Matt’s birthday, so a day after I’m okay with that.
Stack: Yeah. It’s a little serendipitous. Yeah.
Brian P: But I I deal with little hyper vigilance. And I know what we’ve heard people talk about that before. I don’t like facing walls. I don’t like, sitting with my back to the doors,
Stack: which if everybody could see us right now, he is sitting with his back to a door and he’s facing a wall because I don’t like doing those things either.
So I’m facing a door and my back is to a wall.
Brian P: I get a little anxious every time my wife packs the kids up in the car and takes ’em out for a drive. I sit at home like waiting for that call, wondering when is that call gonna come in?
That, my family is just died in a car accident. So it’s stuff like that. And then, what do you know, you, other than I have not found a therapist that I have been able to oh, let me digress. So center of excellence, I get to do I get to doing virtual therapy.
So I’m doing that once or twice a week. And again, it’s just not something that I feel a connection with the therapist. And I’m, again, I didn’t realize at a time, but now looking back, I was not open with her. I wasn’t open with myself. She would ask me, how are things going? We’d talk about some family stuff.
My son was born and, he’s been sick a little bit and blah, blah, blah. But I didn’t open up about, and we talked a little bit about Matt’s stuff, but I don’t sit there and tell her about, me freaking out on my wife because I come home from a long shift and there’s dishes in the sink.
Why am I yelling at my wife? Because there’s dishes in the sink. Not the fact that she was at home all day with wrangling around three kids, and I slept at night at work, and then came home and there’s dishes in the sink. It’s what? And I like to think of that as like a non-traumatic trigger, right?
It’s , it’s not trauma, but it’s I go to work and we’re so hell bent on keeping the station clean and oh my God, you put a dish in a dishwasher or not in the dishwasher. You put in a sink, put in a dishwasher, like it’s empty, it’s clean, and then I come home and I.
Hey motherfucker. That’s
Stack: a weird transition for most firefighters, I think. Yeah. To leave a shift and come home. Yeah.
Brian P: And then and we hear it time and time again too. It’s I just went to work and I ran a bus full of nuns and babies had died, and then I come home and I’m in a little bit of a funk.
And my wife’s what’s wrong with you? I, how do I tell her that nothing, baby I’m fine. I’m just hanging out like why are you, why do you seem irritable? I’m just tired, or whatever.
Stack: It’s that balance of, I need some space. But you don’t need to know why I need that space.
Brian P: Yeah. So I try to, I’m trying to learn and teach myself different techniques that I can do to, to one of the things I’ve tried to do now is I know I’m gonna do it. And I I try to avoid it is when I come home from work, I just, I go straight, upstairs, drop my bags off, and that way it gives me a little bit of chance rather than just coming right through the door and going AWOL but E even other and I’ve been trying breathing exercises or one of the things that I try to do to center myself is just putting music on going out in the garage and putting music on and just hanging out and just veg.
So I’m working on stuff for myself. And I’m still, hopeful that at some point I’ll find a therapist that, that works for me and that I can connect with and actually open up to you
Stack: relate a story to me April this year oh, about. And you’ve already said, you’re on your medication, but you still drink.
Yep. So what happened in April?
Brian P: So in April I had been at, I believe I was at my part-time job and my wife and a couple friends were all going to one of the breweries out near us. And so I, I told him, go ahead and I’ll meet you guys out there when I get home. And so I, I went home, shower changed and I was in a, I was in a good mood, perfectly fine mood.
But there was some things going, there were some things going on at work. I had just recently been I had recently just been promoted to Lieutenant back in August of 21. There was some stuff going on at work and some stuff was piling up, but I all in all, I. Generally felt okay.
But I get to, I got to the brewery and I had, we had, there was like three different families there of our friends and kids running around and, good time. And I just, I slowly started feeling myself, just the, just darkness creeping in and to a point where, there’s a couple kids that I, we didn’t even know playing soccer and they kicked the ball over towards us and it rolled over my son’s blanket.
My son’s blanket was on the floor, just in the grass, he wasn’t playing on it, the kid rolled the ball over, over the blanket and then he ran across the blanket to get it. And I almost flipped out on him, like just for the lack of, but I’m like he’s 12 or, somewhere like that, but he’s just a kid having a good time.
And so my good mood , just started fading. and I finally, looked at my wife and I pulled her aside and said, I have to go, and she didn’t, this is the first time that I’ve made this realization that that I just need to remove myself from this situation before it gets bad.
So she said what do you mean you need? I said, I need to go I cannot be here anymore. So I, I told everybody out, like I tried to as best I could to just you make your cover. Yeah. Yeah. And I just tried to be like, Hey, y’all, I’m not really feeling well, but I got in my truck and it’s a, from the brewery back to our house.
And mind you I had, I only had one beer in there, so it’s not like I, this wasn’t drunk emotion. Just, this was raw, natural. Just, I don’t know why I feel this way. But it, it’s a 15, 20 minute drive back to the house and I cried my eyes out the entire ride home, and I have no idea why.
Absolutely no idea. It felt good when I got home. And then, the next morning I woke up, got in the shower and it all came right back. That whole darkness thing. Yep. In the shower, just, I started crying in the shower and I was like, and I sat down, I finally sat down and with my wife, after that, and I said, let’s talk about it last night.
And she’s okay. I said, I don’t know what happened. I told her about some of the things that were going on at work and stuff like that, that, and she knew, it was nothing new. But I said, look, last night, I just, I don’t know why. I don’t know what, what happened. I don’t know why that happened.
But. , I that’s why I had to leave because and I told her, I said, you saw it. I was getting irritated with those random kids that were just having a good time playing soccer, she’s yeah. Yeah, that was weird. And I was like, yeah, I know. That’s why I removed my, cuz it was only gonna get worse if I had stayed there.
Stack: I think that one jumps out at me because by nature I’m an introvert , which is strange for me in the job that we’re in. And the fact that I do a show like this, but for me as an introvert, I’ve always had that. I’ve always had a feeling of, I need to go because I’ve had too much.
What I’ve noticed in the recent years is I get that feeling of darkness come over me and it’s a different feeling. And I recognize that when you say that, because I’ve been to been in those situations where a friend or whatever. Look at me and say what just. and I say I’m not sure.
And there’s like a light, a switch just flipped on you. And it’s learning that when that switch flips, it’s learning what to do. And that’s, I’m still learning that and I’ve mastered the art of the Irish exit. Yep. Because I don’t want to explain it to people. But when it happens and you can’t explain it to people.
No. So I’m right there with you. I know exactly what you’re talking about. And even,
Brian P: even, being, you can try to explain it to each other. Cuz we’ve experienced it, but yeah. To, wives, girlfriends, friends, strangers. Whoever what’s wrong with you dude. Nothing. I don’t know.
Stack: I’ve heard verbatim what the fuck. Yeah. And I don’t, I can’t, I cannot explain it. It just happens. And there, there are times when I feel it happens. And I’m able to mitigate some, but there are times where it happens in an instant and there’s no mitigation. There’s just, I gotta go.
So yeah, I recognize that completely. Yeah.
Brian P: But yeah, that brings us up to today, so I’m just, right now my goal is to, again, try to find a therapist that I can connect with. And then, really, dig in and explain all these things that I’ve sheltered or kept in, or haven’t, been open about.
Cuz I, I realize now that I haven’t been doing myself any favors I’ve also gotten into a workout routine and that seemed to help a lifestyle change for me. Yeah. You’ve lost five pounds. Yeah.
Stack: yeah. I saw
Brian P: your post today. I slimed down a lot.
Yeah. I slimed down a lot. I ha I haven’t lost my goal weight obviously is I started at 2 0 5. Okay. And. 2 0, 5 ish. So I’m down about 10 pounds from when I started. Okay. I, my goal weight was 1, 180 5 and I, and now that I realize, oh, I’m not just doing cardio, but I’ve changed my eating habits.
And I’ve been in the gym lifting. So as I’m slimming down, I’m building muscle mass. So it’s, I’m not really losing weight. Like I thought I would, but, and that’s how my coach explained to me, he’s that’s why progress pictures are so important because you may not see the numbers on the scale go down, which can be, disheartening.
But when you see the picture it’s holy crap.
Stack: So not so much losing weight, but transformation.
Brian P: Yeah. Yeah. So if I can give a shout to my boy, John Wood, he was like, he was a guy that I went to. I went to high school with now. We weren’t close friends in high school, but we knew each other.
And and he. It was funny when he started chatting me up through Facebook and this is what I’m about to say is nothing. I haven’t told him to his face. So I don’t want you anybody to think I’m being down on him. But he saw that my, my mental health stuff that I’ve been posting on Facebook and stuff like this had been, and he started talking to me and I’m like, I knew what he did.
And I knew he was like a, fitness coach and life coach, stuff like that. And I was like, this motherfucker is gonna try and gonna try and exploit money outta me knowing that I’m in a dark place right now. And I gave him the, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I let him talk to me and here I am.
I couldn’t be happier, but for my guard was up at first, I was like, no way. So how long you been working with him? We started in April. Okay. We started in April, so a little over two months. Nice and he’s training locally. So no, he they were living up here, but they actually just recently moved down to Wilmington.
Okay. North Carolina. But we do we do a weekly check in, so I, he just, calls me on the phone. Unfortunately, I don’t have the pleasure of just going and hanging out with him at the gym every once in a while, but yeah, it’s working, so
Stack: yeah, that shout out deserve, then I appreciate it. Yeah. I wanted to touch base with you too, about Matt again.
Okay. I wanted to circle back because I think Matt is where we connected that is. I saw the post and I connected with a couple people and I got your name and number and, and I hooked up with you. Yep. I told I was in a therapy session today. Actually right before we met about an hour before we met, I had just left my therapy session and I was asked cuz she knows I do the podcast and she’s actually listened.
And she asked why I do it and I pinpointed.
I’m gonna lose it.
I’m glad I can cut this shit out. I’ve pinpointed Matt, as a turning point,
I knew something was wrong.
Brian P: With you or I hate to say, to make it sound
Stack: like There’s always been something wrong with me. So anybody who knows me, who’s listening to the show knows there’s always been something wrong with me. And I’d say that facetiously but there has been I’ve just now recently started therapy, right?
No I pinpointed Matt as a turning point that I realized something has to be done. Yeah. Cuz Matt was number five in a year. For the area. Yeah, that was the fifth firefighter. in our Metro area. We lost in a year and they ran the gamut from veteran to rookie and it was at that point, we decided, I decided I had to do something differently.
I had to be more open
Stack: The previous stuff I was doing was all funny and jokes and right. And I continued some of that, but it also started to highlight the mental health I guess my point is you talk about Matt
Brian P: and
Stack: The his action of suicide is I dunno, for lack of a better word regrettable, obviously something good’s gotta come from it. So for you to realize that you have to make changes for me to realize that something’s gotta change overall. That’s where the goods gotta come. Sure.
Yeah. I don’t know why they hit me like that. No,
Brian P: that’s what this is all about, man. That’s anyway, anyway but yeah, that’s, like I said, I just, I wanna do whatever I can, and maybe this story will touch one person. Maybe it’ll touch 10. Yeah. Who knows? But, and
Stack: That’s the whole, the reason behind this show is to bring attention to everything.
Sure. And if it’s one person, 10 people, whatever, if I think I’ve relayed the story on the show before our rookie said one day that he thought he should get some therapy and we asked why he said, cuz I listened to you guys. And I think I want to get ahead of it. Yeah. That’s what I want to hear. Yeah. I want that kid.
And I call him a kid. He’s an adult. Obviously. I want him to know a fire service that hasn’t been, that’s always been acceptable to talk. Sure. And if he can do that for 20 years or 25 years. Yep. We succeeded.
Brian P: Yep. And that’s, that’s I wish I had, I wish I knew what I know now 18 years ago when I started, obviously yeah.
The classic saying. Yeah. So hindsight all right. So you’re
Stack: looking for a therapist still. Yep. Yep. How active
Brian P: is that search? So I think I’m gonna, I think I’m gonna start with the new gall work. Okay. And just see how that goes. I’ve talked to her already for a little bit, but that’s not in the name of my own personal struggles.
That’s just trying to get things set up with her and coming in to meet all the crews at work and stuff like that. But, she seems real down to earth. She curses like a sailor. So that’s, relatable obviously. Like I said her husband is law enforcement, so she’s got and she, even, she even she impressed me when she told me that, when I was trying to say here’s, my plan and the battalion chief, the health and safety battalion chief, we came together with this plan.
We’ll bring in, we’ll have everybody come down to the one station we’ll, and you can sit there and you can deliver your message, however you want PowerPoint, blah, blah. And she’s stop. She said, I’m not gonna come there where everybody feels forced to be there and bore everybody by PowerPoint.
I said, because the second I walk into that building, when people know that it’s happening, no longer gonna have firemen in that building. You’re gonna have cockroaches. Yep. And they’re gonna scatter. Yep. And so she, that, that was, I was like, okay. She at least has some. Knowledge or background in and how we operate and how our, our Mo if you will, it’s a, those are very
Stack: wise words on her part.
Yeah. And she gains respect just by saying that. Yeah. Yeah. So you’ll start there and then how are things at
Brian P: home now? We’re working on it, we’re working on it. I Obviously, I typical marriage, I we’re not perfect and I love my wife and, I hope to see it through, to the end.
I’m working on me and so it’s a work in progress.
Stack: All right. And we talked before, before we started, you told me that you, weren’t gonna have an answer for one of my questions, but I’m gonna mention it anyway, because normally this is the point in the show that I ask about an everyday carry.
Yep. And I just, you don’t have one that’s. Okay. I want to explain why I ask it. Yeah. And it’s the same thing. I say, every show we, we carry something into, to our calls. Aid bag, the irons, a hose line. Whatever you carry into a fire, we all carry something in, but we all carry something out. And it’s what we carry out.
Is that what we’re concerned with? Some people have an everyday carry, some people don’t and I respect that you don’t. Yeah.
Brian P: If I had to, if I had to pick something it’s very rare that you’ll see me without hat.
Stack: I was gonna say, I almost took a picture while you were talking and I was gonna post the rare time.
I’ve seen him without a hat. There you go. I That’s all right. I’ll take that because every picture anybody’s seen me and I have a hat on as well, so I will take that. All right. So let’s talk about books.
Brian P: Where do you wanna start with that? I’ve recently gotten into I suck at reading. .
I don’t, I have a, one of two things happens. I get bored or I fall asleep. So I, within the last like year and a half, two years ago, I started trying to do audible and listening the books. I love I love the idea of reading. I love buying books. But I that’s, the thing is I have a whole bookshelf at home of books that I haven’t touched, but then I’ve listened to them on audible.
And but I’ve been I’m more into non-fiction but I’ll tell you what and nobody else I’m surprised nobody else has brought it up. When I found out that Travis house was coming to Princeton county I had no idea who he was and a couple of the guys at work were, Hey, we should go to this, good program, good.
Good thing. And I said, who is that? And and I actually talked to Travis at one point and I told him the story said, who is that? And they said he’s a, he was a Charleston fireman. He was a police officer Marine, blah, blah, blah. And he does this whole thing about PTSD and mental health.
And I was like, okay. Yeah I’m down. Let’s go, and I didn’t know what I was getting into. So before I, luckily it was, I had time I downloaded his book on audible and I listened to it and I think about two days and that I didn’t wanna jump the gun out. I wanted to bring this up earlier.
That book sparked something in me. I finally found. Something or someone who maybe not well, but could articulate all the feelings that I have been feeling for years, but I didn’t know it. And that book resonated so hard with me and turned me onto so many like ideas and holy shit. It was like the second coming of Christ for me.
I listened to the book and then I went and saw him live when he was at the police association hall. And, it was just like, I wish I would’ve known it was okay to bring my wife, cuz I would’ve loved to, to have her come and listen. Cause there’s a lot of stuff in there that mean he’ll tell you a lot of stuff in there for is good for spouses to hear and stuff like that.
His book finding your own light. I definitely recommend that one. It may, again, one book may be good for one person or not for another that book was stellar for me. I, then I went back and listened to all his podcasts. And like I said I find that I relate, there was a lot of relation in that to me and some of the things that he feels and talks about.
Stack: I was gifted his book. , I wanna say November of last year a friend of mine, AJ at work, he gifted, I sat down, oh, I don’t know. I sat down one evening and opened it up, started reading the next thing I know I’m halfway through it. And I was like, oh shit, I gotta go to bed. Yeah. So I went to bed, got up, I think the next afternoon I was like, all right fuck it.
I pick it back up by dinner time I was done with the book and he had a way of telling a story, had a way of relating those experiences, which is powerful, but yet simple I also was at the presentation with right, and I would definitely suggest that book to people.
Yeah. And what I did was I took that book. I bought a copy for every young guy in the firehouse and I gave them for Christmas. I gave them a copy of that book. I see. I think it’s that impactful. Yeah, absolutely.
Brian P: And like I said, when I usually do the, the audibles I’ll play in my car driving to, and from work or driving, I was listening to another book on my way here today.
But that book, yeah, I was like I said, I think I finished it in two days. And the, like I left work, the one the second day or whatever. And I left work and I was going home and I had 45 minutes of the book left. My, my commute only no, I think it was longer than, I think it was like an hour and 15, cuz my commute’s about 40 minutes.
And I I purposely took the longest route I could passed my house, circled back around. Cuz I was like, I don’t wanna get home with five minutes of this book left. No. So
Stack: yeah. That’s a good choice. What I’ll do is I will I’ll link to the book, but I’m also gonna link to the Charleston nine story.
Yeah. Because I if people don’t know it for the people who aren’t familiar with the fire service, the Charleston nine, yeah. Is a powerful story. And it was a learning experience for the
Brian P: whole fire service. Yeah. That was another good. I had the opportunity a couple years ago I went to the Virginia fire officer of the academy.
And it’s not part of the program, but we had a special guest speaker and it was Dr. Dr. Dave. Okay. From char, I can’t remember his last name’s escaping me. But he was the engine driver, the wagon driver, the first and engine. And so he gave a, mu much like Travis he went, he tells his story about, this is just the way we’ve always done it.
And I didn’t do training. And I was the first in wagon driver and I failed those guys and blah, blah, blah. And in all his struggles and you know how he’s become, and now he’s a PhD battalion chief with still with Charleston. So nice.
Stack: Yeah. I’ll try to link something about him as well then and get the word out right on.
All right, man. I appreciate it. I appreciate it’s a good conversation for having me. Yes, sir. So hopefully you’re relaxed and you enjoyed it. So yeah.
Brian P: Yeah. Like I said, a little bit outta my comfort zone, but here I am. So that’s
Stack: all this whole process has been outta my comfort zone. So I’m good with that.
It’s not supposed to be comfortable. No, exactly. But it’s important and I appreciate you coming on. Absolutely. All right, man. Thanks. Yep.