YOU BREAK IT, YOU BUY IT: Owning the Life Behind the Broken Reflection

You Break It, You Buy It is a very personal view of what operational stress injury looks like from the perspective of three veteran first responders. Depression and anxiety disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and are catalysts for broken relationships, broken homes, and tragically, broken lives and suicide. This book was written because of the author’s own mental health issues that arose while living the dream.

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Book Review

By John Armstrong, Community Peace Officer and AACPO Chaplain. 

“Dean’s biographical account of his life to date as a first responder is raw and honest to the point of making the reader at times uncomfortable. Being a multi-disciplined first responder, I found myself identifying with the author’s scenarios and personal struggles to the point of being overcome with emotion.  Dean’s self-deprecating honesty throughout the book is engaging and gives real insight into the professional and personal struggles of being first on scene. 

The opening chapters of the book take the reader through scenarios all too familiar with first responders and follows a couple responders, including the author, from gut wrenching scene realities back to their workplaces and homes. It is here that the book does its real work. “You Break It, You Buy it” is not just another how-to manual on scene logistics, but a get-your-hands-dirty in-the-trenches accounting of the destructive struggle of operational stress on front-liners, coworkers and on those they hold dearest: their friends and families.

The remaining chapters of the book get a little cerebral and the read gets somewhat sluggish as it begins to read more like a text book. But in the author’s defense, there is little value in looking under the bandage if you don’t offer a remedy to what you see. Dean does a good job of breaking down some complicated information into useable doses and leaves no doubt that he is well read and knowledgeable, both intellectually and practically, with the topic at hand. Dean’s book is well worth the read if you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD or is in an occupation where the threat of being “irreparably broken” by mental health issues is a real possibility.

To quote the author’s closing words… “Need help? Get help.”

Dean’s book can help! “