I remember the moment I decided to dial the suicide hotline number. I had been on a 5 year bender that ended with an injury and some of the worst truths being uncovered. Not only was my wife cheating on me every single time I left for a 24 hour shift, she was spending all of our money to do it and we were completely broke. Suddenly and without warning I realize that is only half of it.
The list of all the people who had been inappropriate with her got longer.The last name to be mentioned was my partner and best friend. I was shattered. I was an excellent medic. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and I gave every patient a hug because they deserved love and compassion from at least one human on the worst day of their life. I threw myself into that job like I was a damn superman until it all fell apart. I was sitting in a dark house, barely able to move my body and all I had were a bottle of pills and a bottle of whiskey.
“Tell me why you are calling” she said….I paused and began to consider the fact that the police could be knocking on my door based on my answer and I replied, “I’m a little upset.” REALLY!?!?If by “a little upset” I mean spiraling down a completely dark tunnel that leads tithe depth of hell then yes, I was “a little upset.”
The voice on the phone was firm but supportive and she had me destroy the pills while she listened to me cry about my daytime drama of a life. I promised to sober up and get some sleep and check in with my therapist the next day. When I woke up the next morning I made a few choices that would change my life forever. I entered treatment, I walked away from medicine, and I walked away from my relationships. It was a brief chapter in a life full of possibility and luckily, I called and talked instead of the alternative.
Several years later, I can now dream again without terror. I relearned how to interact with the concepts of love and trust. I haven’t touched a pill in years and I now only have a beer occasionally. I still have scars, aches, and pains but I am the best version of myself. They rarely tell you how to handle the parts of life that fall apart when you are out rolling in in it….So, let me assure you. There is life after the aftermath of whatever storms you may wander into. Put yourself first and know that the gloom is temporary. It is okay to walk away. It is okay to restart. It is ok to be your own hero. Keep your head on a swivel.
– Story written by a 34 year old paramedic, 5 years in EMS.