Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Mental health is rarely spoken about in FIRE circles. Rather, it’s regularly discussed as a solution to burnout and dissatisfaction among those in pre-FIRE. However, it seems to be a nearly foregone conclusion that existential struggles disappear at FIRE. How could anyone be dissatisfied after reaching freedom from employment? The consequence is that those who need clinical support may be reluctant to seek it. Also, because it’s not spoken about, services may not emerge to meet their needs.
Caveat: This is not medical advice. If you need medical care, please seek it!
FIRE is an empowerment but also a precipice. It’s a point from which one receives a number of incredible benefits and consequently one does not want to return from it. However, it imposes psychological strain in a number of ways: losing FIRE would be considered failure both personally and publicly, it does not offer solutions to any challenges present pre-FIRE, it does not help to figure out what one’s life’s purposes and goals are, it does not fill the day-to-day with activities, and many others. The existential challenge created by FIRE is quite real. Moreover, the community regularly suggests that FIRE is enough! Those not feeling satisfied are saddled with guilt at the prospect of dissatisfaction post- FIRE.
Assuming that those in the FIRE community who need support will find it is largely predicated on the assumption that they’ll access mental health services. Unfortunately, mental health services are not a panacea. They’re also not readily available for many people in the US. Further, it’s clear that people who are highly focused, goal oriented, and externally successful (like many of those achieving FIRE), are unlikely to seek mental health services. Because those in FIRE are in a unique position to both be expected to be happy already and to have easy access to the appropriate solutions, many are left without the support they need.
It’s safe to say that many people in the FIRE community are struggling. Admitting that one needs help should not be shameful. It should not stigmatized. Finding help should be easier. That being said, help is available. It usually starts with acknowledging two things: 1) seeking help is not shameful or weak and 2) help is available. We’ll discuss more in the future.
Though we don't offer mental health services, here's a link to our personalized coaching site.