Hello, Papa Bear,
I think it's been two years since I sent a letter, I'm feel like I'm suffering from chronophobia and gerascophobia, I believe it's a delayed reaction to almost dying earlier this year, a few months back.
Two years ago I was training to be a Forestry Fighter, I fought two fires, I really loved the job, it was hard and very exhausting
This year I did my second season, and this when it happened, I'm not sure if you know about " The Fort McMurray fire " in Canada? it was a major fire that was burning a major city, it was nicknamed " The Beast " 3 weeks after the city was burning I couldn't take the news anymore, knowing I was trained, so I throw my name in and I found a leader who would take me.
We got there literally in the worst conditions, poor water source, Limited air support,windy and one of hottest days, using only axes, shovels, and chainsaws, we had to basically beat any flames down and remove any potential fuels from the fire, we were tasked with making the escape route while the others deal with fire, while making the escape route, I worked with the chainsaw man, I was one of strongest and the chainsaw guy was the fastest, we worked together, he would cut and I'd clear the path while watching over him, making sure nothing surprises him or hurts him, I had a radio on my chest, I was part of communications so our leader told me and my chainsaw guy go head, ahead of us was a danger zone, hottest spot, if the fire on our end should ignite again this would be the spot..... and it did.
You see, our leader literally had his whole family working, the only odd ones that weren't family was me, the chainsaw guy, and our sub leader, so while I was clearing the path the leader stopped me so his son could do it, so I left what I doing and moved farther ahead with my chainsaw guy, the only escape route behind us, after a few minutes, I heard a voice yelling, it was my sub leader, I turned around expecting new orders, in stead only a solid wall of flames blocking my view and my escape route, wasting no time, I ran to chainsaw guy then we forced a path through the tree's running around the fire, we were so close to the flames they blocked the sun, making all the light around us red with thick shadows waves moving through the light, and roaring, the fire actually makes a loud roaring, I felt deaf because I couldn't hear the radio on my chest or hear the branches and twigs snapping as I smashed though them, when we regrouped with the other, other leader ordered we save the equipment, without thinking, I scooped up like 20 pounds of gear while while still running down the line, then leader told me stop and wait for his family who were slow because of the gear he wanted to save, then ordered us hide in the worst possible area, we should've died like 3 times just from his poor decisions.
After a while air support came in and we evacuated, at base I started looking for answers as how we lost control, I found out that our leaders sons wanted videos of flames that they could post on YouTube, so they noticed that the escape route was on fire, and they polled out their phones to record it grow, you can see me standing on the other side, but they comment on fire and become a family moment that almost ended with me burning alive, the chainsaw thanked me, saying I probably saved his life going back for him and at camp I removed my shirt to shower, then I looked in the mirror and my body was covered in bruises and stretches from my desperate escape, I spent 28 days there.
While working it didn't bother me, but after work when I got home, I was hearing voices and having nightmares, I felt like I was losing my mind, it only lasted a few days, but occasionally I still get nightmares, now I get borderline panic attacks at night from chronophobia and gerascophobia being the main causes and another interesting thing, while working, I'll sleep fine, as if nothings wrong, but during days off my phobias hit me hard, I was thinking of possibly seeking professional help or if you had any other options?
Hale (Alberta, Canada)
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First of all, I think you are a hero. What you did was amazing. If they don't pin some kind of medal to your chest, it will be a grave injustice.
Secondly, I would like to meet the people who thought this was a great thing to put on YouTube and kick them and beat them to a pulp and shove those phones up their arses. OMG, disgusting!
Thirdly, I'm not sure how gerascophobia (fear of aging) comes into play here. I get chonophobia (fear of the future), since you cannot be blamed for being anxious about what might happen with a fire in the future, but can you explain further why you fear getting old?
Finally, you clearly are having a PTSD issue here. What you suffered through was a nightmare, and it is completely understandable that you would have nightmares and other issues afterwards. Does your employer offer any counseling benefits? I would be surprised if they did not. Talk to your superior about getting some help with PTSD through your employer (government, correct?) benefits. I mean, you're in Canada, so I would think you could get some help with this.
If you have not already, I would think a formal, written report should be composed by you and given to your boss concerning your sub's incompetence and the digital recording incident. These are gross lapses in judgment and the fire chief should know about them, yes?
Write again if you wish to chat more, and I hope the above helps.
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Thank you so much for the reply and your kind words
PTSD? I've never consider that? And gerascophobia I guess is more of me being worried that, I'd be too old to experience things with my mate, who is only 3 years younger then me, it's seems kinda silly, but it still scares me, my Mate is American, Sometimes I worry that I may never raise enough money to visit or be with him.
I've never thought about asking for counselling, but its a little late to request it, since any benefits expire when we get off work, however, I've heard of there being counselling offered near by, might be worth talking to them about PTSD and Phobias.
As for reporting My Leader and his family, their stupidity didn't just effect me and my co worker, but roughly 30 other people almost died that day, even after we got evacuated, less then an hour, the whole area burned, so everybody had something to say about it, as for the video they recorded was deleted after they realized it was basically evidence against them
Thank you again for taking time to read this ^w^
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1. Try reading about PTSD on the Canadian site http://www.ptsdassociation.com/.
2. Three years difference between you and your mate? That's nothing. There were 9 years separating me and Jim, and I might be starting a relationship soon with a man who is 17 years my senior.
3. The incompetent boobs you worked with fighting the fire: it's never too late to file a report, if you want to. Or, another option, leak the story to the Canadian press. That's up to you. I realize that it might stress you out, but just think if these people keep their jobs they could cause more damage through their negligence.
My enemy heard that I am a furry and now he is going to tell my friends that I am a weirdo. My enemy hates and thinks furries are stupid because he says that they are sex addicts (but I know they're not). Please, can you help me out? I need it, please.
Kit the Wolf (age 12, U.K.)
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Okay, the issue here is gossip. Whether it is gossip about being a furry or anything else for that matter, you can deal with it in the same way. Usually. What is unique here is that this gossip—that you are a furry—is actually true. It's the details that are incorrect. Kind of like if people at the workplace outed you for being homosexual. Here are some things you can do....
I hope that helps. Good luck! Write again if you need more help.
Dear Furry Community,
While not all of you visiting this site are American (and therefore do not celebrate Thanksgiving), I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have visited, posed questions, and perhaps took the time to offer a compliment or two.
Take a little time today to think of things you can be grateful for: friends, family, food on the table, clothes on your back, a bed to sleep in.
And do not envy those who may seem more prosperous and successful than you. There will always be others who have more money, better careers, better physical features than you. Envy just brings you down.
Instead, work on accepting yourself for who you are, and exercise kindness towards those around you at all times.
Take time to appreciate the beauty of nature, the love of a good dog or cat, the flavor of the ice cream melting on your tongue, a kiss on the cheek.
None of us knows why we are really here. Perhaps there is no reason at all. So, do your best to enjoy what you have in the here and now.
I told my mom I was a furry, she accepted it and she let me make paws. a while after I wanted to make feet paws and I showed them to her when I was done, I mentioned that I would want to get or make a head and she mentioned the fetishes, I knew about them but I was surprised she knew, she said in not getting a head because of that reason, how do I try to tell her that a lot of other kids are in the fandom too, and that bad part is a small part of the fandom?
~Pinktail the cat (age 11)
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Sorry for my late reply. Please share this email with your mother.
Dear Pinktail's Mom,
Hi. I write a column for the furry community. I often get letters from people like your daughter. If you don't mind, I would like to speak frankly to you about the furry fandom, okay?
A little about me. I am a professional author, editor, columnist. I am 51 and divorced. No, I am not a pedophile. Yes, I am a furry (not for prurient reasons). I write the column because many young people come to me for a sympathetic ear and some advice. The column is free to write to or to read online. I do not charge people for anything I do there.
First, let me say that I think you must be a good mom. Many parents don't pay attention to what their children are doing, but you must have gone online and looked at what furries are and are concerned about your 11-year-old girl. (Please note, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet, too.)
You are quite correct to be concerned.
You see, the furry fandom was begun in the 1970s by some science fiction and comic book fans who decided to create anthropomorphic animal characters in publications for adults with mature themes. Sometimes this involved sex and sometimes just more violence and adult themes.
Anyway, from these roots sprang the furry fandom. I am currently writing a book on the subject, but it won't be out for some time. The fandom is definitely intended, though, for people who are 18 and older. That said, it is definitely NOT true that furries are just about sex and it is NOT a sexual fetish. That is actually just a very very small part of this whole phenomenon, and if you ever go to a furry convention or other furry gathering someday to see for yourself, you'll see it is really pretty G-rated fun like going to a Star Trek convention. It is mostly online that you will see the, well, more kid-unfriendly stuff.
Now, this being said, I can see why furries appeal to young people like your daughter. You see, kids love stuff like Bugs Bunny and Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda and those are all very furry things (fiction about anthropomorphic animals). And they get excited about it and want to perhaps draw furry characters or, like your daughter, make a fursuit. While I will say that you are correct that it is far too early for your daughter to become deeply involved with the fandom, I would like to ask you not to discourage her creative imagination. Just because she wants to make a fursuit head doesn't mean she is going to watch porn online (please do, as all parents should, monitor your daughter's online behavior). Making a costume can be lots of fun, just like making a Halloween costume or dressing up as a hobbit or a Doctor Who character.
Imagination and creativity are good things, I think you will agree. Instead of taking the easy way out and just forbidding your daughter to pursue an interest she has, get more involved with her interest (indeed, often, when parents forbid their kids from doing something it can cause them to be very resentful and hurt your relationship with them). Ask her why she wants to dress up as an animal. Help her to have fun with it. There are many ways to enjoy such things that have absolutely nothing to do with the adult aspects of the fandom. There are a lot of good books for young people (e.g., the Redwall series by Brian Jacques) and fun Disney and Pixar movies you can both enjoy sharing.
Your daughter's interests can also encourage her to develop some artistic and practical skills, such as drawing and sewing and maybe even animation and filmmaking (potentially lucrative careers in the real world). You know, there are even people involved in these things who are not furries. For example, the woman who sewed my bear costume is not a furry; she just likes making costumes. I'm about to wear it at a parade in Pasadena. It's fun!
So, just some friendly advice, and I hope you don't mind. I would not presume to tell you how to parent. I am just sharing my thoughts with you, and thank you for reading all of this.
Good luck to both you and your daughter.
Papabear (Kevin Hile)
What does Papabear recommend as a first job? And what was your first job out of high school?
Failaria (age 18)
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Hmm, interesting question. My first job was actually while I was still in high school. I worked at a burger joint called Boomer's Burgers in Tecumseh, Michigan, and then I worked as a cashier at Meijer's. While in college, I had the good fortune of having a father who could pay for my college while I lived at home, so I didn't really work much. My first job after college was as a factory worker in Ohio at a plastic extrusions company for the auto industry, and then I got my first "real" job as an assistant book editor in Detroit (annual salary $13,500--yikes--but that was back in 1988).
What would I recommend for a first job? The ideal situation would be that you already know what you wish to pursue as a career, and then take an entry-level position or an internship at a related job. If you don't know what career you want but have some special interests, see if you can do something you will enjoy doing. For example, perhaps you like dogs: you could become a self-employed dog walker or dog sitter. If you like kids, you can try babysitting. If you like being outdoors, try gardening or maybe being a lifeguard. Endless possibilities. If that is not something that works for you, the next thing I would say is try to find work with a small, family-operated company rather than a large, heartless, soulless corporation. I would much rather work for a Mom & Pop gift store or ice cream shoppe, for example, than as a fry cook at McDonald's or pizza delivery guy at Papa John's. It's much nicer to work at a place where you know, trust, even like your boss(es). Even if you don't particularly like the job itself, a pleasant work atmosphere goes a long way to making for a happy job experience. The best way to find jobs like this is to talk to friends and family and ask them if anyone they know is hiring.
First jobs are a great way to learn the ropes of a wage-earner. Learning to save money, pay taxes, and the joys of having FICA yank dollars out of your paltry bi-weekly check. More important is that these early jobs help you to learn how to work with other people and to explore what tasks you are good at and which ones you stink at. Always keep a lookout for an occupation you believe you will really enjoy, because if you find a job you enjoy you will never have to work a day in your life. Lucky are those who look forward to their daily jobs.
Hello, Papa Bear!
I'm in my late twenties, and only started going to furry events earlier this year. Before I started hanging out with furs, my peer group was with nerdy gaming folk, and we mostly hung out to play pen and paper games and stuff like that. Lots of rules to follow and number crunching and stuff. And I always needed my wits about me, so "substances" were never even a consideration.
But now that I've been spending time around furs, I've learned to like liquor in the past few months. I've learned to like it a lot. I drink solely to get intoxicated, and once I hit that sweet spot, the feeling is almost transformative. I'm far less self-conscious, any social anxiety I have melts away, and I always seem to know what to say. I don't second guess myself, or hesitate when talking about touchy subjects, or overanalyze things. When I've got a good buzz going, and I'm in a social situation, the right words just flow out of me effortlessly. I've forged friendships and made connections that I can't imagine would have happened had I not been drinking. And with multiple (!) furry-friendly bar meetups in the area, it's easy to put myself in a situation where drinking is very much acceptable.
According to other furs, I've never been "drunk." Never slurred, never staggered, never had issues with my coordination. I respect the BAC chart, and I set timers for how long I need to wait before I can drive safely. I try to be as responsible as possible. And I've been told by furs that I should only experiment with my limits at home, in a safe setting, which sounds reasonable enough to me. If I make myself sick, I can just sleep it off—and make a note of it in my drinking journal, which is (believe it not) a thing I actually keep.
But where my responsibility falters is where drinking at home is concerned. When I've got an evening with nothing planned, I love to knock back a couple drinks, and keep feeding that buzz with more liquor when I feel the effects waver. I'm able to hop in chats with other furs, either local or global, and talk about naughty stuff that would normally make me uncomfortable. And once I start drinking, I don't stop until it's time for me to get some sleep. Even though it's what I'd consider light drinking (usually within the legal limits for driving, actually—I’m a lightweight, and my alcohol tolerance is exceptionally low,) I end up consuming a lot of alcohol over many hours in an evening. And when I empty a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka in less than a week, I'm inclined to believe there's a problem.
So, where do I go from here? I feel like I'm on the road to a substance abuse problem. I've tried cutting myself off the liquor temporarily, and though I've been successful in meeting the sobriety goals I occasionally set for myself, it doesn't stop me from getting cravings. I've got this real dangerous complex where I like myself more when I've got booze in me. But I also don't feel like I'm a heavy enough drinker where I should be looking into something so extreme as rehab, especially since I just "discovered" alcohol about 3 months ago. It feels like one of those things that most people figure out for themselves in their teens ... but because I totally missed out on that experience, I'm just now working things out, and the adult in me has a lot of concerns.
Thanks, Papa Bear. It feels weird having all these questions and concerns so late in my life, but maybe you can shed some light.
Anonymous (Riverside County, CA)
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The easiest way to figure out whether or not you have a problem with an addiction (any kind of addiction) is to answer the following honestly:
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then that is a sign you have a problem, indeed. Based on what you have written, I think you probably have said yes to a couple of these, at least. And you clearly sense you might have a problem. It doesn’t matter if it has only been a few months since you started drinking heavily. Addiction can arise very quickly.
The effects you’ve been feeling once you get that buzz going (less self-conscious, more confidence) is the result of one of alcohol’s known effects: lowering of inhibitions. This might feel really great, but it can also be dangerous and lead to poor judgment as a result of being more inclined to take risks. The “friendships” you are making with other drinkers probably aren’t the real friendships you need. It makes this bear rather sad that hanging out with furries has influenced you in this way.
Then there is the sitting at home and drinking heavily by yourself: also a very strong sign of addiction.
Furiend, you have a problem. Non-alcoholics do not exhibit the behaviors you have described to me. I’m glad that you have written to me. The first step is to recognize you have a problem. You do. Do you acknowledge that? It sounds like you do.
Next step is to stop drinking booze. Combine that with getting some support. I recommend you contact this site: http://www.addicted.org/riverside-addiction-treatment-services.html to get some phone support and to get your questions answered.
Please take care, and please contact the link above.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.