During my career of responding to very violent scenes, I developed PTSD. Not knowing I was experiencing PTSD and being told by my ex-wife I needed to seek counseling due to my mood swings, I denied and refused to go to counseling because I felt there was nothing wrong with me. This resulted in my divorce. During my second relationship, I continued to be go through up and downs and be very moody. My girlfriend at the time felt as though she was walking on eggshells every time I came home from work. I was told by my girlfriend I needed counseling and once again I refused. It wasn’t until after being told to leave my house by my girlfriend that I sought counseling.

In my opinion, I feel that most first responders don't seek help because they don't realize they are dealing with PTSD. I also feel that police officers are the #1 in NOT seeking help because we hold ourselves to a higher level -- when in reality we need it the most. Behind the Badge has a team of PTSD first responders who have been there done that and are able to deal with a first responder in need or just someone to talk to.

Richard T. Garcia, Retired Police Officer, Albuquerque Police Dept.