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I've been off a truck for about 6 months due to a back injury. I've been thinking about trying to go back part time and I've developed this problem that I'm hoping someone may have some advice for...


I worked full time as a 911 paramedic for 10+ years, during that time I saw some things...normally a few days after a call that got to me I thought I was over it. Just recently I've begun to realize I may have some issues from some calls. I absolutely LOVED my job as a medic, still do. Yet, I can't fathom going back to work as a 911 medic even though I desperately want to.  I get crazy anxiety thinking about tones dropping. I've applied and interviewed for a couple part time jobs, but when it's time for the new hire paperwork my anxiety is so bad that I can't even go do that. 

There isn't really a single call that strikes me as especially traumatic, it's just a feeling that I can't emotionally do it anymore. I've thought about going to a counselor, because this is starting to interfere with my every day life, but I don't know that anyone outside of EMS can possibly understand. Also, I don't want pity, I just want to know how to fix it.

Any advice?

If you know me in real life please don't share this info...

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There is nothing wrong with you.  There is nothing wrong with seeking help.  Sometimes we all need a little extra help with learning new tricks to deal with life.

You're on the right track with finding a counselor.  There are mental health professionals who work primarily with health care providers.  The trick is finding one.  If you still have an in with any of your previous medical directors ask them for a name(s).  Ask your PCP.  You don't have to be asking for you.  "Hey, Doc.  An old partner of mine is having some trouble dealing with life at the moment.  Got any recommendations for a mental health professional who deals with health care providers?"

Sometimes finding the right counselor takes a couple of tries.  Just don't give up on it.

Keep hanging in there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Completely agree with Mike.  It is NOT a sign of weakness to ask for help no matter what some folks in medicine may say.  EMS may not be an option for you but a good counselor will steer you in the right direction.  Mike is also correct that it may take a few counselors to get you straight but don't give up quickly.  Good luck and the City hopes the best for you.


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Hey Medicgirl05~~

Is there anyone from your old squad that you are still friends with? Sometimes it helps to just sit and 'chat' with a co-worker that you feel completely safe with. They know what you've done and seen and how to relate and may even help you deal with some of the anxiety......I do agree with Mike as well, sometimes you have to find just the right counselor to help you learn how to deal with the anxiety. If you are in a larger area, the fire departments usually have a designated "Chaplain" that is available to talk with them and they have much the same experiences and thoughts as we in EMS have and know how to help you. Sometimes it isn't just 'one call' or one scene that gives you problems later, it is a combination of everything you've dealt with in this career. It is more of a 'cumulative' stress than a PTSD which could come on suddenly....


My thoughts are with you, many of us have had to figure our own way thru that path and it can get hard, but it is well worth the effort. Only you can decide if you are meant to get back into EMS or not~~~


Good luck and keep you head above water! You can PM me if you need, but I'm not online a whole lot anymore and may not see it, but if you need, I would give you a personal email just to chat if needed~~

Hugs from one EMS'r to another~~~

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