About Me: Why Did I Start This Blog?

 

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 have been diagnosed with PTSD. It seems to me that First Responders are not typically thought of when someone mentions PTSD. It is always military personnel.

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…..

 

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3 responses

  1. Todd, Petra Martin referred me to your blog. I would like to discuss having you share an article in my Grieving Behind the Badge newsletter. Please contact me at your convenience.

    Stay safe
    Peggy

  2. Geoff "Smitty" Smith | Reply

    Todd, THANK YOU! Thank you for being there. Thank you for “Why did I ‘retire’? I was burned out. I had no more to give,” above. As you well know, it gets lonely “out here.” They tell me after that “last call,” I said I needed a few weeks to get myself together again. They also tell me I never came back to work. I don’t remember this at all … but I’m finally working on it with a therapist who specializes in PTSD. Did I mention I waited 35 years to start? THANK YOU, brother. Thank you for being there.

    1. Wow, Smitty. Thanks for your amazing words. I am thrilled beyond words that you found some comfort in my story. I have not posted here in many, many months – mostly because I have been doing so well that I just haven’t had much to say. And I think I’ve been avoiding looking back at some of my issues. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty the last few weeks that I haven’t posted – and also wondered if it really mattered – if anyone would notice, since it has been so long. Well, your comments remind me why I started this in the first place. I need to get back to telling my story – especially the good parts over the last year or so! Thanks for reaching out, Smitty. I got your back brother.

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