1. #1
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    Default History of Mental Disorder

    For the last two years, my dream job was to become a Firefighter. However, there are a few things that could prevent me of becoming one. I have a history of being abused by my father, of having General Anxiety Disorder, and taking prescribed medications. Now let me say this, I have greatly improved myself mentally and physically in the past two years. I've been working out 4 times a week, and have gained more confidence. I'm a lot stronger and more physically fit than I was before. After taking Prozac for 5 years, I finally got off of it. I have been off of my antidepressant for a year and a half now. And I am better in handling my anxiety.

    So here is my problem. The Fire Department is very specific on what type of person they want to hire. The candidate has to have a strong mental and physical statues. I know I can pass the CPAT. But, I'm concerned about the polygraph test, psych exam, and psych interview. After doing some research, I discovered that they don’t hire people with a history of mental disorders. Same thing applies to people who have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety. I currently only take an anti-anxiety, which is Buspirone. The Fire Department has even rejected people who had a history of being abused as children.

    I fully know the risks and challenges involved of being a Firefighter. I know that I will witness people being burned alive, losing limbs, losing homes, and people dying. Many people may think that I can't do it because of my mental conditions and history. But I firmly believe that no one has the right to tell you that you can't fulfill your goal.

    Some Firefighters have had mental breakdowns, and have turned to alcohol or illegal drugs because of the high stress they have in their job. And many of these people had no history of mental disorders. I believe that because I have overcome my conditions, I am capable of handling the stress involved in the job. I know people will say that I could have an anxiety relapse, but I have learned to cope with my mental condition in a way that I can better handle it, even if I were to have a small relapse.

    If the Fire Department asks me if I have any mental disorders, I have two options. I could be honest about my conditions, though there is a chance that they will reject me. Or, I could lie about everything, which is what I will most likely do. I'm currently doing research on how to pass the polygraph test, because they might ask me if I've taken medications for mental disorders, or if I've been diagnosed with a mental condition.

    The reason they don't like to hire people like me is because they see them as being incapable of handling the stress on the job. The cause of my abuse and mental conditions were not my fault and were unpreventable. So, why should I be rejected because of this? In the end, my abuse and conditions have made me a stronger person. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say. I could explain this to the interviewers, but I don't know how they would respond.

    I have a complete clean record. No history of illegal drug use, no arrests, nor DUI. I'm 22 years old by the way. Please tell me your views on my situation. Should I be honest and risk of being disqualified? Or should I lie saying that I grew up with good parents and have no mental disorders?

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    ljm
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    It sounds like you have already made up your mind. I think it's best to be honest about it all and see if you find a department that is a good fit for you.

    Just wondering, but have you volunteered at all? I think you are making a huge assumption in thinking that you KNOW how you will act/react to the situations you might face in the fire service unless you have been in the situation.

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    """The Fire Department has even rejected people who had a history of being abused as children."""

    have not heard that one before???

    I suggest you talk to a good HR person or labor attorney about what you have to tell an employer and what you do not have to tell an employer, there is HIPPA and ADA that protect certain things

    with that said sounds like comes down if you can do the job

    suggest either go through a fire academy or join a volunteer dept, to see what the job is actualy like, and if it is even something you want to do. some people see different jobs different ways, and until they get involved they do not no what goes on.

    I hate to say it, and not one against drugs, but I think some doctors and other professions just use the medince pad as an easy way out, when there may be non drug treatments that will work.

    good luck

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    To begin with it is HIPAA, not hippa.

    If you are applying for a job you have to sign a release for the fd or Doc's to access your medical history. If you refuse, they usually drop you and move along to someone else.

    The fire service is not a place for people that are using drugs. We have enough problems without this.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    "have not heard that one before???"

    Yeah, it was actually posted on this website a few months ago. But, I don't remember the name of the thread.



    "I hate to say it, and not one against drugs, but I think some doctors and other professions just use the medicine pad as an easy way out, when there may be non drug treatments that will work."

    I fully agree with you on that. There are way too many children taking antidepressants today. They are always taught to take medication for their problems. But, rarely do people tell them that they need to solve their personal issues without being dependent on such medication. It took me a while to realize this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
    The Fire Department has even rejected people who had a history of being abused as children.
    If they did, there's a lot more to the story than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
    If the Fire Department asks me if I have any mental disorders, I have two options. I could be honest about my conditions, though there is a chance that they will reject me. Or, I could lie about everything, which is what I will most likely do. I'm currently doing research on how to pass the polygraph test, because they might ask me if I've taken medications for mental disorders, or if I've been diagnosed with a mental condition.
    Honesty and integrity are core to the hiring and employment process in this job. You're admitting that you'll lie to the background investigator and study ways to try to fool the polygraph? At the risk of being blunt, you're not the guy I'd ever want on my shift. Furthermore, you stand a chance of losing your job later should the department ever discover your impropriety in your application or application process. It's just not a good idea.

    The reason they don't like to hire people like me is because they see them as being incapable of handling the stress on the job. The cause of my abuse and mental conditions were not my fault and were unpreventable. So, why should I be rejected because of this? In the end, my abuse and conditions have made me a stronger person. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say. I could explain this to the interviewers, but I don't know how they would respond.
    Several thoughts:
    1. Where are you getting all this information from?
    2. Even if the abuse wasn't your fault, it has had an effect on you. I'm not going to debate whether is was positive or negative, but it did have an effect. The local jurisdictions likely have people on staff that are experts in hiring, laws, and practices, so they likely have already encountered situations like this before.
    3. Do you think you might be over-thinking this?

    Or should I lie...
    No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Honesty and integrity are core to the hiring and employment process in this job. You're admitting that you'll lie to the background investigator and study ways to try to fool the polygraph? At the risk of being blunt, you're not the guy I'd ever want on my shift. Furthermore, you stand a chance of losing your job later should the department ever discover your impropriety in your application or application process. It's just not a good idea.


    I would only lie because the Fire Department tends to act judgmental towards people with minor mental conditions, such as myself. It's not like that I'm lying about a felony I committed, which I never did. For all I know, they could disqualify me instantly as soon as they heard about my history about having an anxiety disorder. Lying about that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you met me and got to know me, you would never know that I had a history with anxiety. I have always been good in hiding my condition from others. Even my best friends didn't know about my anxiety.

    Would YOU hire someone who had a history of General Anxiety Disorder? Even if that person had fully overcome his fears and worked for years to make himself a better person?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syrus View Post
    I would only lie because the Fire Department tends to act judgmental towards people with minor mental conditions, such as myself.
    How do you know this? Are you assuming, "heard from some guy," hear it directly from the department's recruitment officer, or read it here on the forums?

    For all I know, they could disqualify me instantly as soon as they heard about my history about having an anxiety disorder.
    Or for all you know, they could be very understanding and not hold your history against you.

    Lying about that is not necessarily a bad thing.
    You've convinced yourself that lying is okay. Nothing we'll say here will convince you otherwise it appears. There's a saying at work: "Want to get fired? All you have to do is lie, steal, or be late."

    Would YOU hire someone who had a history of General Anxiety Disorder? Even if that person had fully overcome his fears and worked for years to make himself a better person?
    I'm not willing to speculate if I would or not, as there are too many variables. Even if I said I would or wouldn't, my opinion wouldn't have any effect on the department(s) you'll apply for.

    I said it in my earlier post, and I'll say it again. I think you're making too much out of this...relax.
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    You make it sound like they've already denied you the position? Hipaa does offer you some protection -- consult a local attorney. They may not even care either way about your anxiety.

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    If there is going to be a psych evaluation in the hiring process and you include the information you have provided here your chances are not good of being considered.
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    Find out what your legal rights are

    Yes if there is any kind of question on the application that pertains to your condition answer it truthfully

    Sorry just not a hippa hippo whatever fan

    Look into an academy or volunteer dept once again to see if it is a job you want and to see if you are up to the demand of the job

    Hate to say it you may have seen to many doctors and as they say it may all be in your head

    Yes have seen people change as they mature

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Find out what your legal rights are.
    That's what I plan to do. I'm trying to contact an attorney who specializes in Disability Rights.



    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Look into an academy or volunteer dept once again to see if it is a job you want and to see if you are up to the demand of the job.
    I did wanted to volunteer a year ago. But, I didn't have my own transportation. I couldn't afford a vehicle because of financial issues. I've been using the city bus since then. However, I just saved up enough money to buy a used car. Once I have my own personal transportation again, I will apply to be volunteer at the Fire Department.

    I also applied at Fire Division.com. It's an online course that has a two week boot camp. I know that the quality of their training is not as good as a State Fire Academy, but it's better than nothing.

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    To get Texas state ff cert Trainingdivision.com is a very good school.

    In tx you have to get the tx cert before you apply, unless the city has thier own academy
    There are people from other countries that come to training.com for academy

    You just have to relise that once you get hired, that is when the real academy starts.
    Just get the cert

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    "Would YOU hire someone who had a history of General Anxiety Disorder? Even if that person had fully overcome his fears and worked for years to make himself a better person?"

    Varies by situation. If you had a few years under your belt on a volunteer department, working as an EMT on a 911 ambulance or as a tech in the hospital, I would probably take a shot. It would seem as though you've overcome your problem.

    You also need to understand how the hiring process works at most departments. All this stuff about talking to your attorney and blah blah blah...If the department doesn't want you, they will find a reason not to hire you. Unfortunately, it's often black and white. You're not sitting down talking with the person who is making the final decision on you getting hired. You may go through third party for a poly and psych. That said, these people have no vested interest in you. All they do is give the department your "score" (if you will) and that's it. They're not going to try and work with you and tell the powers that be that you're a great guy etc etc etc...

    The cards are stacked against you.

    That said, if it's for you, you'll make it happen. Keep plugging away. Do your research. Test as often as possible. Get on a volunteer department. You might not even like this job.

    Good luck. And keep us posted.

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