I am a former paramedic/firefighter. For about 10 years, I worked for a large metro fire agency that also provided advanced life support and transport. For a couple of years, I worked part-time for a hospital based flight service on my off days. Before landing in the fire service, I worked for a private ambulance service, volunteered for both a rural fire department and a county search and rescue team. I guess you can say I’ve been there, done that…..
Why did I ‘retire’? I was burned out. I had no more to give. A co-worked summed it up by saying my emotional well dried up. At the time, I did not comprehend what “burned out” really meant.
Several years after leaving, I was still having a hard time sleeping. Nightmares were frequent. “Flashbacks” often. Eventually I recognized that something was not right and I sought help.
At first, I had a very hard time finding a therapist that would even talk to me. Eventually I did find someone who admitted this was not her specialty, but she agreed to meet with me. After an hour, I handed over a wad of cash and left with her advice: When the memories and thoughts come back, just think of something else….
I didn’t go back.
Almost a decade later, I have found a therapist who “gets it”. I see her weekly and feel a bit lost when we have to skip a week. She has many tools in her back pocket and always seems to know which one to pull out.
This blog is intended mostly as an avenue for me to vent. To release some of the emotions. To re-hash the conversations I have with myself, with my family, with my therapist.
I do not want to disrespect the unbelievably brave and courageous members of the armed services who also suffer the effects. I do not pretend to understand or comprehend what these people experience during a battle. And for that reason, this blog focuses on First Responders. Something I have first hand experience with…..
- Seven Things Award (ayearinthelifeofptsd.com)