Recipient

Kyle W.

Maryland, United States

First Responder Reaching for Help

I have been a first responder for about 8 years and I am proud of the difference I've made. At the beginning of my career I went through a very traumatic event but I was about to power through it. Over the years, like many other first responders, I began to accumulate more and more stress through each shift. It made me question my career many times, but making a difference made it all feel worth it anyway. I did things to combat stress like volunteering at a local horse farm to help individuals with disabilities, camping and woodworking. Unfortunately, stress has a way of catching up with us no matter how much we try to fight it off. One day I suddenly began having a panic attack that lasted nearly an hour. I had experienced anxiety many times but never experienced something like this. I hoped maybe it was just a one time thing, but then over the weeks the attacks continued to happen. I couldn't even go out in public without shaking. I thought that my career was over and constantly worried about how I was going to support my family. I learned how difficult navigating the mental health system in my area was and felt like I had to fight to get help. Through the days, weeks and months I was able to find the support I needed to begin getting myself back on track and decrease my symptoms. My therapist encouraged exercise, specifically on a Peloton bike and yoga exercises on the app since it had personally helped her so much. I wanted to give it a try but a Peloton bike was way out of my budget. I purchased a low priced, cheap exercise bike and linked it up with the Peloton app. I look forward to my bike exercises everyday and it definitely seems to be helping both physically and mentally. One day I hope to purchase an actual Peloton bike but I'm also hoping Peloton will help a first responder reaching for help.

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