We all wear masks to one degree or another – to be someone we’re not, to be someone we wish we could be, to hide the self-perceived flaws that embarrass or make us feel vulnerable. But there’s another insidious mask…the one that hides the pain, anger, depression, and hopelessness of our inner-self but projects a carefree and happy existence to others. By pretending you are fine, you might be trying to fool others, but you are tricking yourself into feeling better – by being super-happy, super-friendly, super-funny, and super-popular. But it’s an exhausting act, and generally a point will come when the mask falls off. Then what?
I know this act all too well as I lived it with my lieutenant before he committed suicide in 2008 – he was a master of the mask. I will never know if I (or my fellow firefighters) could have stopped it, but I wish we could have tried. Reach out… find someone who you can let peek behind the mask – before it’s too late.
STAY FIRED UP, and remember it’s okay to not be okay!
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