Anxiety in the EMS Field

Limes

Forum Crew Member
34
2
8
I've struggled with anxiety all my life, and a couple years ago went into a depressive episode. Now I'm on antidepressants but I do plan on getting off of them very soon.

My issue, similar to others, is screwing up. I don't want to make a fool of myself (probably my biggest issue) although mistakes are bound in any situation, I just don't want it to be... Fatal.

But with that said, when I started working at a local Waterpark, my anxiety was out of control. I would panic at the sight of a minor bleed because everyone was watching me, and I didn't know if I was doing it right. Fast forward to today, I've been able to tone down my anxiety significantly and, in fact, use it to my advantage so I make sure I don't miss anything or freeze on the spot.

Any advice for a newbie with anxiety? I know nobody is perfect, and I know people will screw up; its natural to do so, I just don't want it to be detrimental (I tend to think of the worst in situations, not sure if that's a good thing).
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
1,009
330
83
If your anxiety is mild, and might be called nervousness by others, it doesn't have to be a big deal. A little nervousness is normal and might even help you focus on important tasks.

If your anxiety is paralyzing, or detracts from your quality of life, or leads to other health issues, EMS probably isn't the best choice for you. You're certainly young enough to explore other careers.
 

Limes

Forum Crew Member
34
2
8
I wouldn't say that anxiety is affecting my everyday life, so I'm thankful for that. Perhaps I am just nervous around people. Thanks your response.
 

medicaltransient

Forum Lieutenant
162
32
28
Maybe EMS is not the field for you. I would try to deal with it in a natural way, I'm not a big fan of long term benzodiazapines since they are very addictive and seroius consequences can be had after coming off of benzos. I wish I could help better but good luck.
 

Qulevrius

Nationally Certified Wannabe
839
438
63
I've struggled with anxiety all my life, and a couple years ago went into a depressive episode. Now I'm on antidepressants but I do plan on getting off of them very soon.

My issue, similar to others, is screwing up. I don't want to make a fool of myself (probably my biggest issue) although mistakes are bound in any situation, I just don't want it to be... Fatal.

But with that said, when I started working at a local Waterpark, my anxiety was out of control. I would panic at the sight of a minor bleed because everyone was watching me, and I didn't know if I was doing it right. Fast forward to today, I've been able to tone down my anxiety significantly and, in fact, use it to my advantage so I make sure I don't miss anything or freeze on the spot.

Any advice for a newbie with anxiety? I know nobody is perfect, and I know people will screw up; its natural to do so, I just don't want it to be detrimental (I tend to think of the worst in situations, not sure if that's a good thing).
I'd think there's a difference between worrying about not being laughed at/called out, and worrying about making a fatal mistake. There always will be that one pt that will humble you and make you question your knowledge/competence, and it's natural because we cannot know it all or win it all. Whilst I personally do not have issues with worrying about screwing up badly, when I run into a non-algorythmic situation I take a deep breath, stop and think hard. In 99% of these cases it'll come down to training/knowledge/protocols, in that specific order, and as long as you can control your panic you should be fine. Controlled panic is actually good, because that sudden release of endorphins into your system, helps you to focus. Long story short, if you can accept the fact that you aren't perfect and never will be, are mature enough to look past your shortcomings and learn from your mistakes, you shouldn't need benzos to get you through the day.
 

Limes

Forum Crew Member
34
2
8
I'd think there's a difference between worrying about not being laughed at/called out, and worrying about making a fatal mistake. There always will be that one pt that will humble you and make you question your knowledge/competence, and it's natural because we cannot know it all or win it all. Whilst I personally do not have issues with worrying about screwing up badly, when I run into a non-algorythmic situation I take a deep breath, stop and think hard. In 99% of these cases it'll come down to training/knowledge/protocols, in that specific order, and as long as you can control your panic you should be fine. Controlled panic is actually good, because that sudden release of endorphins into your system, helps you to focus. Long story short, if you can accept the fact that you aren't perfect and never will be, are mature enough to look past your shortcomings and learn from your mistakes, you shouldn't need benzos to get you through the day.
Come to think of it, I believe I'm more concerned about making a fool of myself, which to be honest rarely happens, I just feel embarrassed. I've been lifeguarding for 5 months now, and counting, and in the beginning it was more along the lines of "what if I screw up or forget something, then people might come after me for it (which has never happened, in fact).

I've always pushed myself, but only now do I realize that I have my own limits and like you said, I can't be perfect.

Thanks for your response, really appreciate it.
 

Meursault

Organic Mechanic
759
35
28
Less for the OP at this point, but since no one mentioned it:
If your anxiety is paralyzing, or detracts from your quality of life, or leads to other health issues,
you might have an anxiety disorder. That doesn't mean you can't be a good EMS provider, but you need to be properly evaluated, and if appropriate, treated so working in EMS doesn't make your life hell.
As has been mentioned, EMS can be tremendously anxiety-inducing for anyone. That's not a good environment for people with clinically significant anxiety.
 

arny81991

Forum Probie
10
3
3
I have anxiety as well and one of the best things that has helped me was control of my breathing. I did a martial art called Kendo (japanese swordfighting) and part of our training was breathing control. This helped focus the mind and allow you to make better decisions. Same is applied in everyday life for me and it has helped me quite a lot! People look up to you, but don't worry about them thinking you don't know what to do, you are the one with training and know what to do, not them. Focus on the tasks, fall back on your training and just help others.
 

AcadianExplorer1910

Forum Crew Member
42
4
8
i know how it is . i love my career path I'm on. i have been a explorer for 2 years and i weirdly get anxious i guess because of the high priority of responsibility when a patient's life is in your hands . but for festivals though like wow why i have anxiety i mean the worst that can happen is someone passing out due to overexertion or heat related illness. or being intoxicated.
 

RRTMedic

Forum Crew Member
71
20
8
Long story short, if you can accept the fact that you aren't perfect and never will be, are mature enough to look past your shortcomings and learn from your mistakes, you shouldn't need benzos to get you through the day.
Thank you for this... we live and learn everyday. When you work to the best ability and still don't come out completely right, you just learn from it and move on.
 

Budman

Forum Ride Along
2
1
3
I have to agree with arny81991, breathing control can be a tremendous help with combating anxiety. I haven't tried Kendo but try to regularly practice meditation. Even just 10-15 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Similarly to exercising, it can be tough in the beginning and you can lose your progress pretty quickly if you don't practice consistently but it is pretty amazing once you push through the early learning/training phase. Good luck!!
 

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
754
571
93
This is far more common than most can imagine. Anxiety can be a crippling disorder. Find a treatment program now that deals specifically with providing tools for controlling these feelings. Very commonly, they are several week group programs with a kind of rolling enrollment where you jump on where you are and jump off when you're ready. Extremely effective and covered by some insurance plans.

No reason not to expect the ability for complete control at the end and the option of any career you choose.
 
Top