I’d like to tell my story. I killed myself on Valentines Day, Feb. 14, 2015.
I’ve been a paramedic for 25 years, an RN for 12. During that time, I’ve always burned the candle at both ends. I live for high stress situations, the adrenaline rush, moving fast, saving lives, and I was good at my job. But that was only half of my life. The other half was my days off work, which involved family. While working long hard hours with little sleep, I was frustrated trying to keep up with family life while never feeling appreciated and always being taken for granted. My marriage was hanging by a thread. I guess I just internalized everything until one day I had a total and complete breakdown. I don’t know how else to describe it. I don’t believe in suicide and wouldn’t put my family through that, but on my 21st wedding anniversary, while at work, I killed myself by a lethal injection. All I remember is being in a state of mind that is hard to describe. It was like I turned off my brain, didn’t think about what I was doing or what the outcome would be. I was feeling self destructive, mad at the way my life had turned out. I injected a lethal medication into a vein.
I remember falling and hitting my head, then waking up surrounded by people. My partner had heard me fall and rescued me. He is, without a doubt, the reason I’m alive. As I was coming too, at first I thought it was a bad dream, then I remembered what I had done and knew my life would never be the same. I knew I had thrown away my career and the job I loved. That night I was flown to a hospital, admitted to ICU for a night then self admitted to the acute behavioral health unit. I was actually so shocked at what I had done, I didn’t see it coming. I wanted to figure out how I got to that point and never let it happen again. I spent 5 days in the unit. I felt safe there. The world and all the pressures were locked out of my life, until I discharged. I quickly learned what my biggest stressors in life were. Number one was my marriage of 21 years, which is how this occurred on my 21st anniversary. After discharge, I planned on leaving home to stay with a friend. I was so angry with my husband because my life had gotten to this point. I’d been alone and lonely in my marriage. He never knew how to make me number 1, his other half. I felt like I didn’t matter.
The biggest surprise in my life was when my co-workers completely turned on me. These people were like my second family. I loved them all and would have been completely loyal to each and every one of them forever. That’s usually how ems works. They never contacted me. They decided I must have been sneaking drugs out of the sharps container and shooting up before this, which was absolutely not the case. Needless to say, I was very hurt, but at the same time, it made it easier to move on knowing how they felt about me. I still miss my job and the relationships I had with my coworkers. I lost family I loved. I was terminated immediately.
I personally knew and worked with two flight paramedics who had committed suicide within 4 years of my attempt. They were both a huge shock to the EMS community and it was very sad. I survived and was banished from my Hems career. I’d been an embarrassment to my coworkers.
After my incident, 2 friends, paramedics, contacted me and told me about their own suicide attempts, in confidence. One of them had been a close friend, like a sister, for about 15 years. When she told me what she’d done, I couldn’t imagine how she had survived. She is also a single parent with 2 amazing kids. I never dreamed she would do it. She was always such a strong person. It always seems to come as a shock, unexpected.
I feel like I need to do something to help with the high rate of suicide in EMS and Nursing, but it seems as if I fell off of a pedestal. After all my years of service, all the friends and respect I’d earned, now I’m just a crazy loser in the eyes of the EMS world. And, I never got to tell my story. I’m truly hurt that my life meant nothing to all the people I cared so much about.
– Written by a Paramedic/RN of AirEvac Lifeteam. 25 years in EMS.