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Any Bi-polar firefighters out there?

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by BOSSCURRENCY, Apr 2, 2012.



    Mar 28, 2012
    I want to be a firefighter but I think I'm bipolar, and have a hard time concentrating as well as frequent slight mood swings but I'm just curious are there any "bi-polar" firefighters out there?
  2. nursetim


    Mar 1, 2006
    liberalville N. M.
    I would venture a guess that there are diagnosed and undiagnosed bi-polars in every profession. If diagnosed and treated, it is a manageable problem. That said, some professions would DQ you.



    Mar 28, 2012
    So do you think firefighting is one of those professions?
  4. Wolf Spyder

    Wolf Spyder Gun Activist

    May 26, 2002
    Central Ohio
    I am only a Volunteer Fire Fighter and I would say that it is my own personal opinion that if you suffer from something like this, you have no business being a Fire Fighter.

    However, I don't believe there is such a thing as Bi-polar. This is just like OCD, or ADHD. It is liberal crap to undermine personal responsibility and self discipline. The typical montra from the liberals "it's not my fault..." or "I can't help it" because "...I'm Bi-polar." or "...I'm ADHD."

    So Man-Up! Take responsibility for your own actions.

  5. 17119jfkioe


    Apr 23, 2010
    I agree with you up to a certain point. I believe these disorders are over diagnosed.


    Mar 28, 2012
    Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but I can assure you that "bi-polar" is much more than a mood disorder, you should read about it. If you don't have it, you simply don't understand. It has nothing to do with being a "man", it's a "disorder" that people have trouble working through. But I respect your opinion and the opinion of the other guy.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  7. Wolf Spyder

    Wolf Spyder Gun Activist

    May 26, 2002
    Central Ohio
    Maybe "Man-Up" is not the correct term. However, on the County Special Rescue Team, an all Volunteer force of fire fighters from different fire departments all over the county, we train for many different emergencies that require special equipment and fall outside the normal fire fighting role. We cover water rescue, confined space rescue, and high angle rescue. As a fire fighter you are required to go into hazardous environments in a safe manor. When we have a person who says they want to be a fire fighter and starts training and then we find out that they are afraid of the dark, or can't handle tight spaces, or even worse they start to panic the first time they use SCBA. We tell them to get ahold of those fears, to over come those fears. We tell them to be a Man. We tell them to Man the F*uck Up!! Because when you and I are in the tunnels in total darkness feeling around for a helpless victim, with the air full of thick smoke, and there is no room in this tunnel to turn around... if you start to panic or you want to have a Bi-polar moment you have just become another helpless victim I have to save. You are causing harm, you are risking my life. As a fire fighter we don't have time for that.

    My department has an under ground tunnel system we use to train the fire fighters who join the confined space team. We get grown men who can't handle being in tight spaces in the dark. If they can't Man Up, if they can't control that fear, they're gone. We kick them off the team. So being Bi-polar, is a no-go. You have to be in control of yourself. If your not, then you put other men and women in danger.

    This is easy to see in a special rescue team where we train in these harsh environments but for a small town fire department it might go unnoticed until you get some one hurt or killed.

    So either you are in control of yourself or your not.

  8. 4Rules


    Mar 11, 2012
    It is my opinion that such a diagnosis prior to your employment would figure negatively in your employability. Assuming that you are committed to getting a career job, and assuming you can manage your affairs without medical help, I would do that.

    Once you're employed, and your probationary period has ended, you can seek treatment then. At that point - in most jurisdictions - you would be protected by legislation prohibiting an employee's firing simply on the basis of a (new) disability.
  9. 4Rules


    Mar 11, 2012
    On the other hand, being dead would also figure negatively in your employability. So, if you are or if you become suicidal, seek medical help immediately.

    You can deal with the repercussions of that decision later.
  10. firerescue1231


    Mar 23, 2012
    look if you want to be a firefighter then go for it one of LT from my old dept had mood swings if he in his own words did not take his act right pills take your med's and you will be fine I have been a volunteer firefighter for 11 years and I am legally blind if it is something you want to do don't give up


    Mar 28, 2012
    Yea and I understand what your saying completely man, it's definatley either you are in control of yourself or your not and with bi-polar, it's a see-saw between both of those. I'm giving it a lot of thought, being a firefighter is something that I would love to do regardless of the danger and how scary it is. I love helping people, it's the only job that would truly fit me.


    Mar 28, 2012
    That really means a lot to to me man, thanks. I think it's amazing that your legally blind and your a volunteer firefighter. Keep it up!
  13. centex24


    Mar 16, 2011
    Take it easy Wolf Spyder your just a jippy joe.

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  14. trifecta


    Nov 17, 2008
    Everybody has mood swings to a degree. I don't think bipolar will generally cause them to change moods in the moment.

    If you really think you have it, public safety may not be for you. On the good days, there is nothing better. On the bad days, there is not much that is worse. My key to sanity is keeping to the emotional middle. I think that might be difficult with bipolar and someone might deal poorly with the low points of the job.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  15. Wolf Spyder

    Wolf Spyder Gun Activist

    May 26, 2002
    Central Ohio
    centex24, "Take it easy Wolf Spyder your just a jippy joe."

    I have no idea what a "jippy joe" is.

    If your talking about being a volunteer... 75% of the nation's fire fighters are volunteer. Granted I would love to get paid for this, but that is not why I do it. It is more important to me, to help others. So when I am spending my own money, driving my own truck to the station or to the scene, going on runs in the early morning hours as a Volunteer... I really want to be able to trust the guy with me, 100%. I don't need to worry about him or her being ADHD or Bi-polar or what ever. We need to focus on the victim.

  16. mortpes


    Oct 1, 2006
    You should study DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder. This is true for any mental issue. If you do not meet the official medical description then reconsider medical treatment. Go visit a medical professional board registered in that speciality.
  17. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    Oct 16, 2008
    Missouri, East of KC
    Lack of sleep or irregular sleep pushes a treated bipolar over the edge a lot.

    Being a firefighter means your sleep is irregular - not a good thing.
  18. bmoore


    Jan 15, 2006
    Under a regime.
    A career in the Fire service is the last place someone with Bi-polar needs to be. We work 24's together and 72's all the time. Call volume, types of call, high stress calls, training, testing, continuing education, lack of sleep, grumpy docs and nurses, grumpy deputies/PD officers, rig change outs, meth heads, crack heads, bums, frequent fliers, station chores, projects, school show and tells, station tours, public education is enough to deal with in a shift.

    No reason to have someone around the station who you have to always wonder about. Thats my opinion. I get dizzy on roller coasters, that ruled me out of being a fighter pilot a long time ago. A firefighter/medic bi-polar? Come on.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  19. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    So you're self-diagnosed? Maybe you're just a hypochondriac or a teenager.
  20. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Bosscurrency, as Bren asked, are you "self diagnosed"? If so, my first thought is that you are not bipolar. "Frequent slight mood swings" is not bipolar. Just because you get moody that doesn't mean you have a problem, just means you are like everyone else. Bipolar is usually diagnosed at a young age, and there is usually a lot of teachers and psych people involved. If you are old enough to be seriously considering a career as a firefighter, I would think you would have had an official diagnosis long ago.

    A lot (in my mind, most) of people who "think" they are bipolar, are not. Same with ADD and similar issues. A friend of my son has real ADD... there is no confusion about someone who actually has that. My son has been diagnosed as bipolar since he was in kindergarten (17 years old now). I have learned a lot about bipolar, asbergers, and similar issues. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and a lot of people "using" these issues for various reasons. Which has lead to many other people downplaying these issues, and not entirely without merit, unfortunately for those who actually have to live with these issues.

    Go for it. Find out about firefighting opportunities in your area. Ask. Contact firehouses around you and ask questions. You might be able to do "ride alongs", where you can actually go to calls as an observer. Get an idea of what it is like. Becoming a career firefighter requires a lot of learning, including for many fire departments today becoming at least an EMT, and preferably a Paramedic, before even being hired. It is possible that being a career firefighter will not be for you, but you won't know until you try.