Fighting For Pilots' Mental Health

Well, here I sit in my new home. It is much bigger than my old place. My wife is at work now and I start training for my new job this evening. I am going to get my state license to sell insurance. Yes, I am going to be an insurance agent. Everyone I have talked to tells me a person can make a good living selling insurance. I had to do something. Even if I could get my medical back today trying to get a job in this market would be pretty tough.

I have been getting some emails from people seeking answers about pilots with depression. One young woman wrote seeking answers for someone close to her who lost his job with a major airline due to the economy. This particular pilot has expressed feelings of worthlessness since he can no longer provide. He has had some interviews, but the companies turned out to be less than reputable. I know what it feels like to be without an income and being dependent on someone else to provide. I could not have made it through my tough times without my wife.
The main thing to remember is that your worth is not related to what you do for a living. I know pilots have egos and we feel as if we have lost our identity if we are not flying. However, you are no less of a person if you find yourself in a position which you are forced to seek employment outside of aviation.
What truly makes the type of person you are is found within. Look deep within yourself and ask yourself what is truly important. My wife told her parents the other day that she feels that it took a real man to step up to the plate and go on the medications even though I knew it would end my career. I was deeply touched by her words. To her I am not a man because I flew a jet. To her I am a man because I faced my demons and I am now fighting them head on.
Remember, you are much more than a pilot. You are a worthwhile human being. There is much good in the world that you can do without flying. Just look at the time and dedication it took for you to get to the level you are at in your flying. It took someone with motivation and dedication to achieve what many people only dream of doing. Now take that same energy and focus it on something else. Find something that is worthwhile and work hard at it just like you did with your flying. Life does not end simply because we are stuck on the ground.
Keep an eye on the sky!
Prozac Pilot

4 Responses

  1. I know that I suffer from depression. I believe that it has a genetic component because my mom has been on antidepressants for years.

    I have not confronted my problems because I don't want the black mark on my medical record of ever haven taken antidepressants.

    You are not alone. Keep up the fight.

    Anonymous, for now.

  2. Anonymous for now,

    Do not think of it as a black mark on your record. It is simply being treated for a medical need. It should be no different than getting an antibiotic for a viral infection. I hope you have found some words of encouragement in my blog. If you need to meds do it. I wish you well.

    Keep an eye on the sky!

    Prozac Pilot

  3. Congratulations on your new house and in forging ahead in a new career. I understand how difficult it is to give up a career you love and not know if you are ever going to be able to go back. Being a pilot is more than a job, it is an identity. Good luck in your training.

  4. It is a BIG day for you and those in your shoes, my friend! The FAA has lifted its ban on antidepressants for pilots who have successfully controlled their diagnosis using one of four drugs for 12 months:

    I came across your site a few months ago while researching how the FAA ban on certain drugs has affected the lives and medical wellness of people, and your case struck me. I hope you will find your way back to what you love, this time healthy and true to yourself!

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