‘Unless You Work In The Emergency Services…’ | Guest Blog

“A great deal has been happening in my life recently which has made me reflect on a lot of life’s obstacles, however having spent the past 7.5 years working frontline for the emergency services (6.5 years with the ambulance service and a year with the police) those obstacles aren’t the norm, unless you work in the emergency services.

Over this time, I have been involved in many amazing experiences with plenty of laughs and some amazing memories, however these memories have recently been pushed to the back of my mind with all of the horrible experiences being brought forward.

This is something that happens to every one of us at some point, even the most hardened of people, the experiences, the thoughts and the feelings are pretty much going to be the same as well.

I, like many have my own way of dealing with these situations. For me it was suppressing those bad memories and shutting myself off, creating this front of being emotionally unattached.

It seemed to be working until a recent relationship breakdown.  This particular experience has lead me to reflect on my experiences and how they have affected me.

I’m not going to bleat on about all the families we have had to tell their loved ones have passed away or how many lives we have battled to save but couldn’t, this has an obvious effect on us and I’ve had my fair share of this from telling a parent their child is stillborn to the family of a 100+ year old with quite literally everything in between.

What I do want to mention is all the little jobs we attend, those we go to on a daily basis. For me the hardest of these is the fall non injuries or the social care incidents involving the elderly, although a very simple job to deal with the emotional impact is completely different and one we generally tend to ignore.

I can image what you are saying, why are these the hard jobs emotionally? you pick them up, make them a cuppa, have a chat and that’s the end of it. If only life were that simple.

The bit we generally tend to ignore is the fact you will most likely be the only person they see for a few days if not weeks, yes they have their carers but they are usually in and out in about 10-15 minutes with no real or genuine interaction.

This isn’t a reflection on them, like most of us they are over worked and under paid and they honestly don’t have the time for the ‘niceties’ when they barely have time to deal with the ‘essentials’.

I’ve lost count of the amount of elderly people I’ve met who have no real complex medical or social need but the simple desire to have some human interaction, someone they can talk to about life, someone just to sit there with and watch TV. They have no friends because they have all passed away, they have no family because they live miles away or just aren’t interested.

Unfortunately, the run up to Christmas highlights this more than any other time of the year. The one time of year we should be united with friends and family this small part of society are being pushed away by them because they are to ‘needy’.

As we all know, mental health is a big thing in the emergency services at the moment, and quite honestly something I never thought would affect me.

I’ve just got on with things and always acted like everything is okay, because if you act like everything is okay then it will be right? unfortunately not.

During this recent reflection I have realised a few things;

Don’t bottle things up

Don’t think you never have anyone to talk to

Be open and honest with yourself about your feelings

Take some time for yourself.

These are all things I’ve neglected and this neglect is not good for anyones mental health and wellbeing, mine included.

The one thing I’ve learnt is not to ignore the little things. It is the things we have to see and deal with on a daily basis that have the greatest impact on us long term. Often, we do not realise until it’s too late.

We all know to do this with the big things but those little things sit in the background, they add up and eventually that one big thing will happen, that one paediatric cardiac arrest, that one job which is a bit too close to home and it will break us.

Just don’t forget there is always someone to talk to, you might not know who that person is now but there is always someone just be open and honest with yourself and you will find them.

It is crucial to take time for self-reflection and truly understand your feelings. After all, how can you explain your feelings to someone else if you don’t understand them yourself?”.

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