Hi everyone. Happy new year. 2014 is here, and I know a lot of people who were happy to see 2013 go, myself included.
Firstly, I want to thank-you, from the bottom of my heart. I honestly did not expect the reaction I received. I guess I expected to hear words of encouragement from friends and co-workers. But even those words have blown me away. For 24 hours after I posted my blog, I literally did not put down either my iPad or iPhone. For the the 24 hours after that, I could actually put them down, but when I picked them up again, it took me a while to catch up. I have been overwhelmed with the amount of comments, Facebook messages, Facebook chats, tweets, private messages, emails, and texts. I NEVER expected my little blog to get so much attention. I have done my best to try to respond to people who have left me such heartfelt words of encouragement. I know I have not responded to everyone, but I am trying my best. But, I can tell you, I have read everything that you have sent. In the next few days, I will try to respond to all of you.
I did not think I would be writing again so soon. That last entry took me about 3 hours to get out. It was mentally exhausting. I think mostly because I was obsessing over HOW I wrote it. I was never very good at writing. I HATED it. But maybe it’s because the subject matter meant nothing.
Anyway, I have been through a whirlwind of emotion. The first comment on my blog was left by a good friend, and Charge nurse (well most of the time) at one of the local hospitals. Her comment made me get a little misty eyed, but I was also emotionally drained. I was OK with that. The first comment made on my FB page made me cry. And it only got worse from there. I kept hiding in different parts of the house, to read the next message that came in, so my family didn’t see me. I was hiding mostly from my girls, as I did not want to explain why I was being emotional.
And it didn’t stop. They just coming and coming. I stopped responding to every single one that come in. I couldn’t keep up. But what I can guarantee you, is that if you mentioned me in a tweet, sent me a message, made a comment, or sent me a text, I read it. And I cannot express my gratitude enough. I plan on responding to all of them. Just give me a bit of time. This has been a roller coaster of emotion over the last 2 days.
I have been contacted by people with as little as 5 years on the road, to well over 30. And not just paramedics. Police and Fire as well. I had just begun to realize how important this issue was, but it appears it is more important to more people then I thought.
I am humbled by you, the people who took a few minutes of their day, to read my rambling thoughts. I have been called a “Hero”, told my blog was a “game changer”, told I am the “new face of Paramedic Mental Health.” And all by people I greatly respect. I don’t know if any of those things are true. I’m just a guy, who wants to get better. A guy who wants to go back to his job. I don’t see myself as any different then any of my colleagues, from any allied service, anywhere in the world. As part of my healing, I wrote a few words, and posted them on the internet. That’s all. But it seems people DO care. And not just those of us who wear a uniform. From the public as well.
A few years ago, I had started a blog, I guess a way of getting things off my chest. I wrote about people with colds calling 911, so they would be seen faster in the ER. I wrote about the Line of Duty Deaths of Ryan Russell, and Garrett Styles. I posted my blog on Facebook, and between the 3 or 4 posts I made, I think all combined they had a few hundreds views. I did it through a site called Posterous. Don’t bother searching for it. It’s gone. Posterous was acquired by Twitter I believe, and emails went out to us to email them to get PDF’s of our postings. I never bothered. No one really read them, so I just let it go. This was earlier this year.
I started journaling maybe about a month ago. For my current counsellor, until I start my treatment with a Psychologist. I was writing about calls that haunt me, calls I have never let go, and the ones I drowned in whiskey. But this was for me, and me only. To help me properly process these events, and start my healing. I’m never going to share what is in my book with anyone other then my counsellor or Psychologist. But I wanted a way to share what I was going through, with my friends and family mostly, so they knew what I was going through. And only have to tell the story once. And my blog was born. In 48 hours, my blog had been viewed 9,467 times, and has been viewed by people in 43 countries. In case you are wondering, WordPress keeps stats, and those are the ones I’m quoting.
So thank-you for reading. Thank-you for caring. This is something we can no longer take lightly. It must be taken seriously. We have to make sure these people are cared for, so we may continue to care for you, when you need us most.
I will continue to blog. It seems there are a few of you who are interested. 🙂 I will blog when it feels right to me. As much as I want to help, I also need to make sure that I’m healing. I did not expect to be thrust into the spotlight like I have. I will take on this role to the best of my ability, but not to the detriment of my healing. All I ask is that you keep the conversation going. Together, we WILL enable change.