• This topic has 89 replies, 75 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks ago by Drac.
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  • Confessions of a fun sponge.
  • Drac
    Full Member

    For the last 18 months and more in reality I have been in a really dark place. I kidded myself for up until 7 months ago I could carry on as normal, that I’d rich my planned retirement age within the ambulance service. It to ahead the beginning of October when I was at work one night, didn’t want to be there, was trying to help one of my members of staff and received a call out for a multi casualty RTC. I knew as I travelled there was no one to back me up, that it would likely be upwards of an hour from me setting off to my back up arriving. It was a horrible rainy night, the type that just pours and was coming horizontal. I was in an inadequate vehicle as the normal one was in for service, poor lights awful handing, shocking visibility and just not fit for purpose.

    The location was extremely vague, even with my local knowledge, I queried this several times and was not able to locate any of the locations. I was doing high speeds on flooded A roads, B roads and narrower trying to pinpoint the location. All the time I being told still no back up, unable to contact the police for a better location and that I had passed it, which of course I hadn’t.

    After about 45 minutes I pulled over and refused to move until they could contact the police. A few minutes later they updated me on the location, a complete different road they were minor injuries so the police were taken them home. That was it, I signed off and went home with still about 8 hours of my shift left knowing I would not be back.

    I finally had enough, I could not face the everyday stress we all have, the works stress  all we have, the added politics that I had to deal in shift in shift out with my position and not being given the tools to do it.

    Most of all I could not attend anymore traumatic events, I didn’t want to hear the cries of relative as there loved lay dying while we tried to help, the heartbreak when I had to tell them that was all we could do and they had now died. For those who all they had was their wife/husband/partner you could see the world had ended for them in their eyes.

    I could no longer deal with attending yet another dead teenager out for a drive with their friend who had just passed their test and lost control of a vehicle. I’m haunted by memories, smells, nosies and sights that can be triggered by the smallest of things. A jacket potato the other night as sometimes that’s what I’d take for break.

    I would lie awake at night, during the day between nights thinking it would be easier for me to just end it. I’d drink excessively to silence any voices, when I couldn’t drink I would take over the counter medication to help.

    So, it had to stop I could do that by leaving. I have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, PTSD and burnout. I am on medication for this, I went through months of treatment and use the methods regularly to function on daily tasks.

    Today I officially left the ambulance service, I await to hear if i get my pension early due to my diagnosis. It’s a very emotional mixed bag but overall a huge sense of relief. I won’t have the exposure I was getting at work adding on top of the previous ones. I can now enjoy my life my way and spend time with my family that at times I couldn’t do.

    So please of you are struggling talk to someone, a friend, a relative, your GP just anyone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of we all suffer one way of another as we are human.

    Full Member

    Wow Drac. That’s powerful stuff but well done for getting it out there. It sounds glib (and it’s not meant to be), but enjoy your retirement.

    Hope things improve for you

    Full Member

    First of all, thank you for doing what you’ve done in the ambulance service. I know that I would struggle to do one shift of that sort of work, and can’t imagine the burden that you’ve carried.

    Sounds like it’s time to put yourself first, to take some time to heal and reflect. Look after yourself and maybe, when your pension is sorted, treat yourself to a new iPad.

    Full Member

    That’s was a humbling read Drac.

    It looks like you left just in time my friend, it sounds like you really were at the end of your tether.

    I’m sure there is a lot of healing to do but you’ve taken a huge step towards doing so.

    Thank you for sharing this with the forum, you aren’t the only one struggling behind an anonymous forum name in sure.

    You are a decent guy Drac and though you’ve had to convey some terrible news to some there must be many more that owe their lives to you and people like you.

    We are all here for you matey.

    Full Member

    Tell us you haven’t had to hand in the ipad ??!! 😬

    All very well said, Drac, and I wish you all the best in what I hope is a good recovery and a long & happy retirement

    Full Member

    Goodness that is a hard read. Need to go through it all again.  I hope that one day it unravels enough for you to feel properly relaxed again but I can’t imagine how long that will take.

    Thank you for writing it

    Full Member

    Christ, what a humbling read. Well done on taking the steps needed for your own well being, not everyone has the courage to do that.

    Healing vibes dude.

    Full Member

    but overall a huge sense of relief.

    I can imagine. Good luck with the future.

    Plenty of time for mtbing now, and new hobbies!

    Full Member

    All the best Drac, that sounds truly awful.  Hope brighter days are ahead 🙂

    My mate is a paramedic, and reading this makes me realise I should check in on him more than I do.

    Full Member

    You’re a sponge I’d like to squeeze 😘

    Full Member

    Thank you for all you’ve done and endured. I’ve worked with a lot of proper grafters but nothing comes close to the stuff paramedics put themselves into, to help others, best wishes for your new future.

    (stealth edit: I probably won’t squeeze you but I’ll buy you a beer 😉 )

    Free Member

    Wish you all the best.  Man hugs.

    Free Member

    Thank you for all you’ve done up to here, good for you in what you’re achieving now, and good luck for everything that comes next.

    Full Member

    Very honest write up, you front line guys are so overstretched it’s criminal.

    Well done for prioritising your own health and wellbeing, I imagine it was a massive leap and you should give yourself a pat on the back for managing to do it.

    Hopefully time and self care will help you reset somewhat and get some joy back in life.

    I think I rode with you and a few others one new years day about 20yrs ago near Rothbury, when I moved up to sunny Chopwell.

    When you’re ready, you must plan a group ride in the Grim North.

    Full Member

    I’ll echo what everone else has said.. it sounds like you’ve made the right decision.

    My own experience with emergency responders is limited, on the reciving end, and I know a parmedic personally. I don’t know how they do it and stay sane.

    I know enough to know they have to have super-human levels of stress tollerence to remain cool and effective under the circumstances, and they are huge stresses on top of the normal day to day life stresses that eveyone has.

    All the best.

    Free Member

    Drac you really are a hero. Time to concentrate on yourself.

    Full Member

    The stuff we put our emergency services through shift after shift, with little recognition or support, is ridiculous.

    Thanks Drac. Try to focus on the countless times you did make a difference rather than the horrible situations when there was nothing you could do. There will be an awful lot of people walking around today because of you and your skills.

    Full Member

    That  ^^^^ 100%. Please do look after yourself. Take some time to get stable and into a lighter, more happy place. I do not think that anyone can say you deserve it.

    Full Member

    Well done on a good job Drac.

    Enjoy your well earned retirement and whatever comes next.

    Free Member

    **** me. That hit home reading it.

    You’ve done way more good in a working life than 95% of us ever will.

    You can retire safe in that knowledge. There will be people walking down the street tomorrow who wouldn’t be alive if it hadn’t have been for you. That’s special. Hold on to the good bits, try to let go of the bad.


    Full Member

    Respect. Both for the incredible job you did under the most appalling conditions and for having the courage to say ‘enough is enough’ when it got too much.  I hope retirement allows you time to heal.  Be kind to yourself and all the best for a positive new chapter.

    Full Member

    I can only second what everyone else has said, I have the deepest respect for everyone who is part of the emergency services, I know for a fact that it’s a job that I couldn’t do, I feel too much empathy for those involved, that I just couldn’t function properly. It would be different should I happen across an emergency situation, but not every day.

    Take care and look after yourself, and relearn how to enjoy life with family.

    Full Member


    Only met you once, over 20 years back in Wales on an STW weekend, you patched me up after an accident, and  you made a bit of an impression. The guy I met then is nothing like the picture you’ve painted in your post, and I really feel for you- I think careers like yours while very worthwhile, and obviously it’s been one to which you’ve been devoted, but in the longterm they must be pretty destructive on the staff. All the best to you and your family,  hope you find a bit more joy and happiness in your life.

    Full Member

    Lost for words really Drac. Like the rest of us, I have picked up on recent threads that things aren’t good…but wanted to echo everything said by far wiser people than me up thread.

    Thank you for the shift you’ve put in, and now time to focus on yourself. Fortunately, you’re a massive part of a supportive community here that would never dream of taking the piss when the time is right…

    In all seriousness, be kind to yourself.


    Full Member

    @drac I wish you the very best with your onward journey after what sounds like a really really rough run (sorry I’m not finding the best words here).

    As for this could not agree more.

    So please of you are struggling talk to someone, a friend, a relative, your GP just anyone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of we all suffer one way of another as we are human..

    A family suicide last year and various other reasons.

    It’s encouraging how many more people are talking publicly on these issues now but still much to do.

    Free Member

    Blimey, I’ve been worn out at work but that is something else!

    Well done for prioritising yourself, taking that step and all the best for your future.

    Full Member

    Good luck with everything Drac, hope you can now enjoy a definitely well earned retirement.

    Also thanks for sharing your experience, it was humbling, and like you say hopefully it can help others that are struggling make positive changes.

    The older I get the more it seems to me there are so many people out there barely keeping things together.

    Free Member

    I know I’ve given you shit but honestly, after reading that I can see why you are such a grouchy arse. Anyone would be.

    My dad was much the same with a lot of the same gripes, unfortunately he did decide to end it after one last thing became too much. Unlike you though he never really talked about it and when he did it didn’t seem that big a deal. You have a lot to deal with but it sounds like you’ve taken the first steps to sorting yourself out.

    Whatever happens now, you’re out. No more of that shit, even if you have to work on for a bit it’s still going to be better than that. Best laid plans and all that. Try not to get fixated on what was supposed to happen and just remember you’re better off regardless.

    Free Member

    I know We ain’t always seen eye to eye but fair play to you for both committing your life to doing the best you can for the people and for putting your head above the parapet to let people know it’s not just them suffering. Countless paramedics /police / doctors & nurses are in the same situation and many feel isolated.

    Best of luck in the next chapter.

    Full Member

    Ambulance staff are amazing in my eyes. Thank you for your service drac. Enjoy your retirement.

    Big man hugs.

    Full Member

    You’ve done an amazing job in your career, but it’s taken a huge toll on you.

    You deserve to take a break and get the support you need as you move on to the next phase of your life.

    Full Member

    @Drac -Take care. Time to look after yourself rather than others.

    Free Member

    Try to focus on the countless times you did make a difference

    This. There are folk enjoying their lives right now because of you.

    Full Member

    Right call mate.

    Hopefully you’ll start to decompress!

    Full Member

    Bloody hell folks cheers for the words of support it does help.

    Squirrelking I’m that generation too, we didn’t talk it was a sign of weakness. I pushed staff to talk and seek help but was shit it myself. Sadly I’ve seen colleagues fall victim and ended it, one fairly recently.

    l loved the job, been stopped by random to me people who have thanked me. I’d never tell anyone to not go for it, there is better support now but by Christ it can be hard.

    Free Member

    Mate, thank you so much for everything you did and tried to do. It’s impossible for you to have done that job for as long as you did without doing a lot of good.

    I feel like I constantly see good people in essential roles burnt out and mentally unwell as a result of the chaos and mendacity of our leadership.

    You deserve that pension tenfold. Glad you’re finally getting the support you need, woefully late though it is. Best of luck with whatever comes next.

    Full Member

    Big hug. That’s a massive contribution and way more I could do or have done. Respect. And a hug. You deserve some peace and sunshine.

    Full Member

    Holy shit.
    You’ve made the right decision there.
    Time to look after yourself now.

    Full Member

    Kudos for being so honest – your words really cut through. Hope you enjoy your well-earned retirement and we all owe a debt of gratitude for your service.

    Full Member

    @Drac – enjoy your new life. You’ve earned it

    Just got to Weardale. The driving once we left the A1 near Darlo was mad. Thankfully you don’t have to deal with the fall out of that madness any more

    Best of luck with what lies ahead!


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