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Shame in First Responders, and what to do about it

Shame. Failure. Overwhelm. Defeat.

These are things that plague our modern society.

But symptoms aren’t only something as significant as getting a new identity. First responders with burnout are “quiet quitting.” Sinking into cynicism, nihilism.

Overworking to avoid home where they keep feeling like they are letting down their family… their spouse.

First responders who feel like failures may lean into these failures by continuing to flirt with disaster. Vices. Self sabotage. Running their mouths to civilians, peers, bosses. Even when they “lose” with discipline they feel like it’s “winning” on their own terms. Finding new identity in being obstinate. Antagonistic. Toxic.

There’s a way around, over, and through. How do you reduce shame? By combatting loneliness. Combatting hopelessness. How do you do that?

Community. Peer support. Talking. Listening. Giving grace, receiving it.

You’re enough. You’ve done some hard stuff, some crazy stuff. Few things in this life are permanent- this feeling does not have to be one of them.

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