Gilbert Rios is thankful he's in the process of overcoming many of the battles he fought silently for so long.
KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Kings County Sheriff's Deputy is taking action to offer hope to those in law enforcement struggling with mental health.
Gilbert Rios just published a book called "Breaking the Blue Wall - One Cops Journey to Overcoming Trauma and Helping Others with Mental Health," where he shares his experiences as a first responder and the challenges it brought.
Reading from his book, Rios shared: "I knew something was different about me but I didn't know what I was feeling. It was grief, but at the time I didn't know what grief was."
On October 6, 2019, Rios was on the phone with his friend, co-worker, and Marine Corps brother - Thomas Olson.
On that day, Rios heard Thomas say his last words -- before taking his own life.
"It was the loss of my friend Tom that finally woke me up to the reality of the emotional toll of what could be experienced on the job," he continues to read.
At the time, Rios and Olson were working at the Kings County Sheriff's Office. A therapist was brought in to help the department process the grief, but Rios said he was hesitant to open up.
"Anyone who loses their brother, a family member, or their friend, you're going to be - I would hope that you would be sad - it's completely normal," he said. "To me, I just didn't understand that it was normal, just because of how I was raised professionally."
However, a conversation with his mentor helped Rios break down his blue wall.
From his book, Rios stated: "It wasn't until I was told to talk to someone about Thomas's death that I finally started my journey towards healing."
Part of Rios's healing journey includes being vulnerable.
He has a podcast, in addition to his newly published book.
"It's a lot of emotion," he said. "Then the emotions are done and on paper or out of your mind, and this definitely feels a whole lot better."
Rios is thankful he's in the process of overcoming many of the battles he fought silently for so long. It's allowed him to show up for his wife and child with a better mindset -- as well as his fitness clients, now that he's an online fitness coach.
His book is available online on Amazon.