I’ve been an EMT in a busy college town for almost 2 years. I’ve been depressed for far longer. I’d say I was 16 when it first started to hit me, and at 18 I attempted suicide. Cry for help? Perhaps. But I was stuck in a horrible job and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
That was almost 3 years ago. My life has changed so much in that time, and in that time, I discovered my love and passion for the ambulance. But my depression majorly kept me down. I’m still depressed, I can’t lie, but it’s not as bad as it once was thanks to meds. But I hated the thought of “outing” my problems and becoming “the EMT on happy pills”. Eventually, I told a close friend, and she enlightened me to something.
“Look at those two medics, they’re alcoholics. We all know the EMT that snorts coke. That officer tried to kill herself last year, we brought her back. Half of us are on happy pills, and the half that aren’t should be.”
The more people I confessed to confessed back. The EMS world is filled with depression meds, anxiety meds, and alcohol. We all know that the depressed person isn’t necessarily a sad-sack, they wear masks. If you look around at your coworkers, you see the masks, you don’t see the meds.
I’m still depressed. I still take happy pills. I’m going to up my dosage and start counseling, because I still can’t fully cope with life. But the major depressive disorder doesn’t have to destroy the passion that ignited you to start EMS in the first place.
Written by: Anonymous USA EMT, 2 years in EMS.