Kelly was serving as a solider in Afghanistan when she began to experience insomnia and nightmares. Believing these to be normal reactions to military life, she didn’t pay much attention to them. Kelly was still dealing with these effects after she had been back home for almost a year, and things were getting worse. All too often, she would experience feelings of anger—even over trivial things. She felt miserable and struggled for years. Kelly started to pay attention to the signals her body was sending her and began to seek professional assistance. She had taken the first step. Eventually those steps led Kelly onto a path of recovery and she now serves in a new uniform working as a Firefighter.
In a uniformed work environment, people tend to celebrate strength. Being strong physically, and mentally, is an important part of the job. Mental illness would be viewed by some as something negative and as a sign of weakness. People in this type of environment are less likely to seek help, as mental health is still stigmatized. Kelly believes this stigmatization is one of the main hurdles to recovery. Education does not prevent illness, but it does keep it from lasting longer than necessary and having to deal with it in silence. Kelly feels a lot freer now that she has dared to speak up and realizes that other people are going through similar experiences.