This story was sent into us via email. We share stories such as these in order to highlight the need for better mental health services for our colleagues. It is something we are passionate about.
Being exposed to traumatic incidents on a constant basis, year-after-year, can take its toll even on the most strong-minded of people.
We each deal with the stresses associated with being on the front line in our own way.
Remember: Its ok, to not be ok:
“Becoming a paramedic for me was the best achievement ever, it was tough, I had not wrote a letter for years then suddenly writing academic assignments.
“I loved my job I lived for it. Had an amazing family and supportive wife but suddenly things went wrong.
“I went through a divorce which destroyed me, my divorce was quite messy and lasted about 3 years.
“I struggled to handle the pressure and with a financial burden the only way I could get through it was by working. I worked as much overtime as possible, some month in excess of 100 hours of overtime the most I think was 140 hours some was the usual lates offs, I complained about, but actually didn’t mind.
“I seemed to have a run of “bad jobs” a couple that still haunt me and probably always will.
“All this time no one actually asked if I was ok I wanted them I wanted to say no I’m not, I worked on a RRV so was always alone. I stayed out, lost the will to battle with coms for comfort breaks so hardy went back to station in the 12 hour shift.
“Things went bad to worse and I seemed to hit a self destruct button.
“A few years earlier I was working on a ambulance and my colleague and I suffered an assault, fortunately not seriously injured.
“The trust showed no interest in support, didn’t even turn up to the court hearing. One of my colleagues blamed me for not protecting the female colleague I was with. I ended up In the floor and being stamped on.
“From here on I hardly waited for police back up I just went in. I didn’t care if I didn’t come out. I suppose this was my way of self harm.
“I eventually tried to reach out for help I new now I was ill.
“I approached one of my line managers, this was after a long hard day exhausted just completed another round of unsuccessful CPR I recollect my voice breaking and having to fight back breaking down in his office. He brushed this off and said you need to ‘man up’
“We all have S@?t to deal with, and that was it. Was was the point, I wrote and letters left my bank details sat in the RRV.
“I had access to drugs I cannulated myself.
“It was fairly quiet so it would be a long while until someone found me. At that point one of my colleagues rang.
“Probably never knew he saved me.
“Unfortunately this colleague took his own life a few months after. This was followed my one of my other colleagues and friends. Two suicides from one station and still no management input!
“I deepened again into a dark place. Again I went to see another manager.
“I had been diagnosed with shingles at this time and was also waiting for a biopsy on a lump I found.
“I started a new relationship but this ended, a sale of a house from my previous marriage had fallen through, the bad jobs continued, this felt like a whole new rock bottom. I built the courage to speak out but again I was told if I could hack it leave.
“Things went from bad to worse the following months, I had been hammering the overtime for three years now.
“And also took on some private work, as pointed out by a HR manager no one forced me, but this was my way of escaping.
“No one checked in in my mental health all this time I was just known as good for the overtime, that’s all that mattered, bums on seats.
“I made a huge mistake one that will haunt me until I die.
“I didn’t kill anyone or steal. I was suspended I remember to this day being told. My life was over. Months went on I was assigned a welfare office.
“But only had contact from the twice in 4 months and once after when I was dismissed, he hadn’t been told so was checking to see how I was.
“Then the day of the final hearing. It’s still a blur doesn’t seem real, I remember the room being full but don’t remember how many people were present.
“I was dismissed.
“I had a lease car they took it off me there and then and left me stranded in the car park and in an emotional state, I recollect saying I just wanted to die.
“I hated my life, what hurt is that no-one said anything I didn’t want sympathy I needed help.
“In the hearing there was a senior HR manager, a medical director (Doctor) and at least one Paramedic and a nurse.
“I could see a point of life, I had messed up, I was ashamed of everything I had done. I could see a way out.
“I was home alone almost in a state of panic. I went into the loft tied a rope to a been and the other end around my neck.
“I’ve lost count how many hangings I’ve been to, it’s one of the worst sights anyone can witness, to see someone so alone and now cold. Their loved ones breaking in upset.
“My mobile rang it was my mum!
“For a split second I could see my partners face in discovering me, my parents wouldn’t cope very well. It will also destroy our home.
“I doubt my Mum will ever know she saved my life that day.
“My battle still continues everyday I had counselling and currently still waiting for some more (since June 2018).
“I miss my job and always will. But I miss the older days when colleagues looked out for each other, when ambulance staff had compassion.
“I would do anything to go back and start again.
“Help is needed for the careers but a phone number pinned to a wall or someone saying my door is always open doesn’t work.
“You need to look out for each other see the signs and approach each other at a suitable time and check on each other.
“I now teach mental health first aid and always happy to share my story.
“I’m sorry it’s long please feel free to use it on your page I would like to stay anonymous but please feel free to contact me for any other details.”
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