Being an EMT with Mental Illness: what it’s like

Being an EMT is difficult both mentally and physically add multiple diagnosis to the mix (Anorexia, Depression, Anxiety + Panic, PTSD, OCD, and ADD) and things can get even more difficult to handle, it is important to have coping skills in order to handle it.

If I had not been on my medications for five years and have them all adjusted to the right dosages so I am emotionally stable. I wish more people would take the time to learn about psych medication instead of just jumping to conclusions and judging. Other then medication I have found some ways to cope that work for me:

  1. Leave your emotions at the door.
  2. Remember your job is to help people (this is a huge factor in helping my self worth).
  3. Debrief difficult calls or days (luckily me and my boyfriend are both EMTs for the same company and can do this at the end of hard days).
  4. Don’t get too emotionally attached to patients.
  5. Dissociate (this is my major coping mechanism although it isn’t the healthiest it helps me separate myself emotionally and focus on what the patient needs and not about what is making me depressed or anxious,

Being an EMT is extremely physically demanding as well. Being a 98lbs female people tend to judge me before giving me a chance to prove myself. All day long I move and lift patients and all day long I hear comments about my size. Being a recovering anorexic makes these comments dig in slightly deeper and I have to remind myself that it wasn’t meant to hurt me they don’t know my story. Some comments that get to me the most are:

  • “Wow, I didn’t expect you to be able to lift that. You proved me wrong.” This typically comes from a partner I have never worked with, they tend to judge me by size.
  • “Uhm, are you sure you can lift me?”
  • “Did you just lift that whole thing or is it automatic? There’s no way you lifted it.”
  • “Oh my god you need to eat something your so skinny!”
  • “Your too pretty to be doing this why would you choose this job?”

Personally I feel as though what I have gone through and dealing with mental illness makes me better at my job. The feeling I get when I help a patient, it gives me this sense of worth that I had been missing for so long. When I have psych patients I’m able to get to there level and explain what we r doing, where we are going, and answer questions to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t choose any other line of work and only plan to move up in the emergency medical field I plan to go to medic school when i am more financially stable.

One thought on “Being an EMT with Mental Illness: what it’s like

  1. Nice to read this realistic assessment of a misunderstood job. As you know from reading my blog, I was an EMT in central London, for 22 years. I hope that you enjoy reading more of my ambulance stories when you have time, and appreciate you following my blog.
    Best wishes from England, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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