So I made my very first blog post ever close to two years ago and never touched my account after that. I now have totally different reasons for my second blogging attempt, but first a little bit about me and my family.
I am a 39 year old married mother of two teens who happens to be a Paramedic. I have been in EMS for 14 years now, 10 of those as a paramedic. I work as a full time paramedic working 24 hour shifts and also volunteer in my small hometown as a first responder and act as the service director there. My hubby works nights at a factory. We have been together for 19 years, married for 14 years on Halloween! Our daughter is 17 and is now a Senior in high school. Our son is 16 and a Junior in high school. We have 2 doggos and a kitty cat that we thought we would never see again when he went on a 2 month hiatus from us. Annabelle is a 7 year old English Lab with separation anxiety, Ginger is a 15 year old Pomeranian who is blind, and Thunder is a 7 ish long haired kitty with a high pitched meow.
Back to the “why” of the second attempt. You see, I am a paramedic, I love what I do and I love helping people (and I am damn good at it too). Like most other EMS providers I was good at burying all of the “garbage” that we see regularly. I had dealt with the calls that I had been on, buried the garbage and moved on. That is what is expected of us in EMS, fire, police and dispatch. About 2 months ago my small hometown community (~800 people) had 5 very bad car accidents all within about a month. A large interstate runs through our call area, and has the potential to generate some bad calls for us; which it did. Not all 5 of them were interstate calls, but 4/5 were. Now, I am not going to get into all of the details. I am not going to get into some of the details, that is not what this is about.
That’s when it started. The garbage that I had buried wasn’t garbage at all, they were seeds. Seeds that needed the right mix to grow. Those 5 calls (and a couple from my full time gig) were the right mix for those seeds to grow. I started seeing their faces in my dreams, a mother’s screams for me to save her baby (I couldn’t when it happened and still can’t), I started re-living some of the bad calls from my past that I had buried. I started crying non-stop. I lost all will to do things that I once found fun. I got mad at the drop of a hat. I dreaded going to work, I dreaded the sound of my pager going off. On my days off I sat in the recliner in the dark willing the demons to go away. I didn’t really cook anymore and when I did it was quick thrown together food to feed my family. There wasn’t love in it anymore. I stopped reading the books I love; like for a year I stopped reading. I am just now realizing that those seeds started growing about a year ago and finally broke surface two months ago.
The stigma of mental health in this country is absolute bullshit. The stigma of mental health in first responders is even worse. Did you know that line of duty deaths are decreasing in first responders while suicides are increasing? We need to be taking care of our first responders. We have a 911 system in the USA. You can call 911 24/7 and help comes; police, fire and EMS. Who is going to help them? We have been trained that showing emotion in showing weakness, this needs to stop. People need to stop abusing the 911 system – but that is a rant for another day.
I am going to blog my way through PTSD, how I am coping, the good days and the bad days. Hopefully I will get back to the things I love to do and blog about those as well. But, in the mean time, here it is, all raw and open like a nasty wound that just wants to get back to normal. I am seeing someone to help me with this, I know now that I cannot do this alone. For today this is all, I am going to try to post once a week. Maybe more if I can or need to.