Intensive therapy in a retreat setting helped heal 20 years of job-related trauma
Laura knew something was wrong when her unit chief, a woman she had known and respected for years, summoned her for a conversation at headquarters. As a single parent, a cancer survivor and a dispatcher for a major California fire department for more than two decades, Laura said she was in a dark place. The summons told her it was starting to show.
“I was on the precipice of jumping off a cliff, figuratively and literally,” she said. “My work life was blowing up. My parental life was blowing up. I was just absolutely failing at both things. I was at that point where suicide would have been just perfect.”
But the chief’s opening line resonated: “where's the smiling Laura?” Just entering her 40s, Laura herself had asked that very question and she agreed to get help from the department’s Employee Assistance Program. “I was at an absolute breaking point,” she said.
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