Paramedics Our First Defence

Paramedics our first defence

I have been wanting to write a piece about our brave Paramedics, those men, women and those of other identities for a long time. However, I have never been able to work out the best way to do that. Today, I am going to try my best to pay tribute to our Paramedics, our first defence. Fitting, considering we are in the throws of the biggest medical emergency of our time.

Having spent fifteen years in the fire service, I have had the honour of working beside this compassion and very highly skilled group of people. Many of them in fact, love helping so much, that they are also members of the fire service community. So, I have nothing but the deepest admiration and respect for them and their commitment to their communities.

Like what you’re reading? Here’s another You, Me and PTSD, Its hard on love

Why then, are those who are literally on the frontlines, those who seem to get the least amount of recognition? I know, I know, that’s not what being an emergency service worker is about. However, it sure as hell isn’t right to take their dedicated service for granted.

They see entirely too much to have them fade into the background without a so much as a thank you, that’s got to have an impact on a person. Instead of showing compassion, many people seem to be disgruntled because they had to make way as these brave souls scream their way to yet another human tragedy. They do so on empty stomachs, full bladders and in some cases, exhaustion.

My friends, the paramedic’s struggles are real.

When we take the time to look at the sacrifices made on our behalf, it’s impossible not to see just how incredibly difficult their job is. Long hours, all types of weather and endless human suffering. To me, they are modern-day warriors; If this were medieval times, they would fight alongside our bravest knights, as they do today; police officers, firefighters, nurses and emergency room doctors. Like knights, they should enjoy equal admiration for the same battle that they are all fighting together.

One of the most vital professions in the world and it’s reduced to “not important enough?”

I know, you must be thinking, what does this have to do with a mental health blog? The answer is lots! As far as I’m concerned, Paramedics are the most underrated warriors of all first responders. Why exactly? I can’t say but what I do feel is that many, like the rest of us in the emergency services suffer from PTSD, we just don’t hear about it. Those first to handle our medical emergency; shouldn’t be the last medical professionals we support when they need it.

On occasion, I have had the opportunity to speak with people in paramedicine. Firstly, I make sure I thank them for their service; secondly, I listen to them. I have heard stories of their colleagues dying by suicide. Many know more than one person who’s efforts to save lives has cost them their own. As if trying to mitigate the tragic moments of others wasn’t enough, they must live with the loss of their friends; the people they work beside every day.

Remember them. they are the ones who show up on our doorsteps,

One Paramedic shared with me that they have lost six of their colleges by suicide. Thinking about how I’d feel if I had a similar experience in the fire service, their story of loss broke my heart. I simply can’t imagine it. Sadly, his years of sacrifice only compounded my sense of sadness when he went on to tell me that he too was also suffering from the mental health workplace injury, PTSD.

Paramedics our first defence

In criss? go to Crisis Services Canada for help.

In stark contrast, I don’t know of a single case of a firefighter dying by suicide; not in my department or any other in the surrounding areas. With that said, I have little doubt that PTSD is lurking in the shadows of every fire hall across the land. For my former fire service family members, please get the help you need. There is hope

My friends, their struggle is real and we must acknowledge that. Paramedics, our first defence. deserve that much and as far as I’m concerned, much more.

“PTSD cannot be beaten when one suffers in silence. I’m sure there is a correlation between mitigating humanity’s chaos and the mythical oath of, “We don’t talk about it”. John Arenburg.

So, as we find ourselves being emersed deeper and deeper into this pandemic, remember them. They are the ones who show up on our doorsteps, the first to administer life-saving medications and the ones who roll the sick through the doors of the ERs. Simply put, when we are sick, these highly-skilled, professionals are there.

I will leave you with this fact. Because some governments don’t value their worth, they are listed as non-essential staff in some places in Canada. Non-essential? Imagine that! More importantly, think about how that must feel to them. One of the most important, most necessary professionals in the entire world and it’s reduced to “not important enough?” Talk about having a horrible boss.

Despite this, we can change that though, we have it within us to take the time to thank them in our darkest hour. Their contribution to the covid-19 battle is and will continue to be immeasurable. So please, take the time to think about their value to our society. Paramedics, our first defence. Moreover, please try and understand the impact that this noblest of professions has on the hearts and mental health of these wonderful people who will work tirelessly to save lives.

I would like to take the time to acknowledge your hard work, your sacrifice and tireless efforts in this most uncertain and tragic time. Moreover, I wish you all good health both to you and your families. I stand with our Paramedics, our first defence

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Missing Out On Life.

Missing out on life

I am willing to bet that many people with mental illness, have had their own battles with medications. Moreover, it’s very likely that many of you have played the game of trial and error; it can take a while to get the right combination before one starts to see the benefits. This process is necessary but perhaps it’s the biggest drawback is missing out on life.

Then, there are those like me, stuck in a unique situation of medication purgatory. It seems that I am truly at a medication impasse. This intersection I have reached on the road to mental wellness is just fine with me; to be honest, this pharmaceutical rollercoaster ride is getting to be way too much.

I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

Thankfully, there was one drug that showed some benefit, Sertraline. This med worked the best at keeping the suicidal thoughts at bay; which, in my estimation is a very big help. However, the only true effect I have is when its at max dose. 200mgs of heavy and sleepiness.

Pharmaceuticals, they always consider the risks vs benefits when considering treatment, a little tired over some symptoms is ok by me, especially at this point. But now, there are only two options left, continue to take part in therapy or do nothing.OF course, I will continue therapy but it feels, as time goes on, that I need to be near the functional end of this road to mental wellness.

Am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not!

On the other hand, being at the end of the pharmaceutical leg of my journey isn’t all bad. Its almost been more debilitating than the battle With PTSD and coping with depression. I have spent half the journey missing out on life. Being so sedated I missed out on so much, mainly time with my partner and experiencing quality time with my kids and parents.

The best way I can describe this near-constant sedation is; think back to a time when you had surgery and how you felt afterwards. Remember that tired and groggy feeling? That’s very close to how I felt, constantly. Sadly, I still do and will until I’m completely rid of this last drug.

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So then, do I regret putting myself through the harrowing effects of every non-addictive SSRI going? Well, the short answer is no. A journey isn’t a journey if you remain idle so, I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

What to hear more strories of peope battling their mental illness? go to The Depression Files

My advice to people is this: If the mental illness has taken you, hostage, the first thing you have to do is accept that the road back will not be a pleasant one. So, learn to accept being uncomfortable. More importantly, do use these feelings of being uncomfortable to retreat. Real healing happens when you not only see the barriers in your way, but you actively seek ways to smash them down.

Learn to fight through the discomfort

Missing out on life

So meds don’t work for me, am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not! If for whatever reason, I lose the opportunity to live a normal life, I will go down swinging. I went to war against my mental illness and therefore cam armed for battle. Recently, I have gotten back in the gym and am making improvements to my diet. I know for a fact that optimal health does wonders for mental illness related conditions.

Please, keep fighting and finding ways to win your war, you deserve to live. You are the warrior that can make that a reality. Sometimes, even if it means we are sometimes missing out on life.

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Connection and Recovery

Connection and Recovery

Having a mental illness for as long as I have, you start to think about what caused it. Moreover, I can’t help but wonder why some of us make it through while sadly, others do not. Is there something to connection and recovery

Hear more stories just lik yours at A New Dawn Podcast

One would have to be a fool to think that some of us are stronger than others and that’s why some people make it. While there may be some truth to that; one thing that science knows for sure is that we are wired for connection. Could this be the reason some of us hold on?

I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support I am blessed with.

A study conducted by Harvard University over a span of 80 years has found that people need other people. People with strong ties to the community, to their families and relationships, are more likely to live longer. Essentially, the happier you are, the longer you will live. Find the ted talk on the study here:

Harvards 80 year study on human happniess

Perhaps what’s most fascinating to me is that positive social interaction can help you live longer even if your cholesterol is high. In other words, what factly makes us happy is the bonds we forge; not the jobs we have and certainly not the things we own.

So, why am I bringing this up? Well, is it then possible that people with mental illness who have strong ties to supports and have strong ties to others could also live longer?

Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.

Fortunately, when I read the study, it looks like it could be the case. Although the study doesn’t seem to focus on the mentally ill; it does demonstrate that social connection has a positive impact on mental health outcomes. Therefore, It’s not s leap of faith to suggest that this too applies to us.

Connection and Recovery

Now, I can’t find any good science to suggest this however, I can speak to my own experiences on having good supports in life. and I can say, for me; the social connection and love has literally been a lifesaver.

People have commended me for what appears to them, to be a sort of inner strength. maybe, but I can’t say that’s totally true. I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support of family, friends and a sense of duty to help others.

You May also enjoy: You Me And PTSD

As anyone with a debilitating mental health condition can tell you; one of the hallmark tendencies is to withdraw from any form of social interaction. This may sound counter-intuitive but when the outside world wears down your tolerance, this seems logical to the ill-minded individual

This behaviour, the need to isolate is in fact not the answer, at least not entirely. Should you take time for self-care? Absolutely! Should your self-care extend into weeks or even months? The answer is probably not. Rather, the answer mostly lies in connection and recovery

In short, we need connection and good support. We also must find the strength to integrate ourselves into something meaningful outside of our comfort zone. Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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