When the Backpack Is Too Full
Published on August 10, 2020
My name is Ryan Patton and I’ve been in the fire service for over 25 years, between the military and Bowling Green Fire Division. I have 4 children and am recently divorced. I enjoy outside activities and volunteering.
My interest in becoming a PEER supporter started out of necessity when one of our members committed suicide in 2017. It wasn’t until then that I realized how the stigma of asking for help could impact a person, family, department and community. I understand reaching out for help can be difficult as I hid my struggles with anxiety, depression, panic attacks and bad calls, for close to 10 years. I felt it was a sign of weakness and embarrassment. IT’S NOT!! Since I started to talking with peers and clinicians, I have a much better understanding on how to deal with issues, struggles and challenges. What I have learned the most, is that I am not alone in dealing with these issues. We all have something we’re going through and or dealing with. For me, getting things off my chest was a massive first step on my way to a better life, both at home and work.
One of my goals is to help others break through the stigma of asking for help is a sign of weakness. I understand the challenges faced with our job, raising a family, divorce and the difficulty of making that first call. If you have any questions, just need to talk or need help finding a clinician, feel free to contact me and we’ll get through this together. I understand the need for confidentiality and will always be respectful of that trust.