Feeling Alone and Need fellow EMS brothers and sisters. (PTSD)

Rob3172

Forum Ride Along
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0
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Hi all my fellow EMS personnel. Soo, No where else to turn so I look towards my EMS brothers and sisters. I started in NJ EMS in 1997 and I am still and EMT today. I have been having a hard time lately with my PTSD and the ****ty part is that even knowing the system as I do I have still hit roadblocks.

Its weird, I feel alone and like no one understands what I go through in my head everyday. I might not look like I am having issues but inside my mind I replay call after call even now 25 years later. I cant sleep good and I know that I cant partake in drinking a lot cause I overdo it. I sit at work now, deskjob, and all I can think about is the city streets at night and what im missing. I wish there was help out there for us EMS providers.

So let me explain how this last week has gone for me, because I didn’t think I was going to make it. After having enough I finally reached out for help. You know that thing we don’t do as EMS providers. What happened was just horrible. First, I inquire with the Leader Program in Massachusetts to see if I can get into therapy and I am told that since Im not active with a municipality I cant get into the program. ( I don’t know what world these people are on but a huge majority of EMS is not municple.) So, I try an explain Im still a certified EMT in NY, NJ and MA but no luck. BTW as of this writing I am still waiting on a response to set up an intake appointment.

Now comes to the fun part, I write HR and my supervisor to request an ADA accommodation to attend therapy and work on my PTSD. I explain I have PTSD from EMS and I am immediately placed on leave because my boss believes that I am a danger to myself and others because I have PTSD. So, he gets my email and calls me, Im like im just looking to go to therapy and I am worried about loosing my job. NO REASSURANCE from my boss and he is even like were no sure you can stay in your position. LIKE WTF…. BTW I work for a large private utility in the US and UK. I get off the phone and just break out crying and just thinking in my head “I finally reached out for help and this is what happened. I should have just keep my mouth shut.”

So now im 48 hours into this adventure no therapist yet, not sure about having a job and I feel like ****. This is not suppose to happen to us, after all those years giving 110% in the back of a bus and I cant get therapy with med management. We wonder why our co-workers turn to substance abuse.

I called HR and explained what happened and I am back at work but now under increased scrutiny from my job all from being in Emergency Services and helping people.

ANYWAY….. I am just feeling very alone and wish I could find therapy that will take me and that is someone that can understand street EMS and what we go through. I miss it so much but I also know I cant do the job like I was 20 again.

Stay safe everyone………We need better mental health for EMS…….I wish I could have a support group or at least therapy without judgement.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Out of curiosity, where in NJ?

a couple points: If you need to take time off, use FMLA, not an ADA accommodation. As long as you have been there for 12 months, you are eligible for FMLA (and you need to fill out paperwork). And you can use FMLA in small increments too. PTSD is covered by the ADA, but I think you need a formal diagnosis first, not just an assumption and then a request for accommodations.

I don't understand why you can't stay at your job due to PTSD... Are you still able to do your job? if so, why wouldn't you be able to stay in your position?

You have a job right? full time with benefits? health insurance? I know you were looking at the Leader Program, but if they say it's for active municipal employees only, than those are their rules. Go find a therapist. doesn't matter which one, they don't need to specialize in public safety, find one that works for you. It also isn't uncommon to try two or three before finding one you mesh with. 48 hours isn't a long time to wait (just being honest with you, so it might be a while before you get an appointment), and mental health a long game, not a quick fix. If you feel like hurting yourself or others, go to an ER, and get immediate treatment, but realize that it's going to take time. And speak to your primary physician, they can often give a referral or prescribe something to get you started.

For full disclosure, I work an office job now, after 20 years in EMS (the bulk of it in NJ), and was the station last night. So I'm not judging you, and I know what you are going through, and I definitely say go find a therapist. Once you complete your initial intake, your therapist can likely refer you to another person, if they feel someone else would be better (it's a ridiculously small community, and people do have their specialties).
 

HardKnocks

Forum Crew Member
98
21
8
Hi all my fellow EMS personnel. Soo, No where else to turn so I look towards my EMS brothers and sisters. I started in NJ EMS in 1997 and I am still and EMT today. I have been having a hard time lately with my PTSD and the ****ty part is that even knowing the system as I do I have still hit roadblocks.

Its weird, I feel alone and like no one understands what I go through in my head everyday. I might not look like I am having issues but inside my mind I replay call after call even now 25 years later. I cant sleep good and I know that I cant partake in drinking a lot cause I overdo it. I sit at work now, deskjob, and all I can think about is the city streets at night and what im missing. I wish there was help out there for us EMS providers.

So let me explain how this last week has gone for me, because I didn’t think I was going to make it. After having enough I finally reached out for help. You know that thing we don’t do as EMS providers. What happened was just horrible. First, I inquire with the Leader Program in Massachusetts to see if I can get into therapy and I am told that since Im not active with a municipality I cant get into the program. ( I don’t know what world these people are on but a huge majority of EMS is not municple.) So, I try an explain Im still a certified EMT in NY, NJ and MA but no luck. BTW as of this writing I am still waiting on a response to set up an intake appointment.

Now comes to the fun part, I write HR and my supervisor to request an ADA accommodation to attend therapy and work on my PTSD. I explain I have PTSD from EMS and I am immediately placed on leave because my boss believes that I am a danger to myself and others because I have PTSD. So, he gets my email and calls me, Im like im just looking to go to therapy and I am worried about loosing my job. NO REASSURANCE from my boss and he is even like were no sure you can stay in your position. LIKE WTF…. BTW I work for a large private utility in the US and UK. I get off the phone and just break out crying and just thinking in my head “I finally reached out for help and this is what happened. I should have just keep my mouth shut.”

So now im 48 hours into this adventure no therapist yet, not sure about having a job and I feel like ****. This is not suppose to happen to us, after all those years giving 110% in the back of a bus and I cant get therapy with med management. We wonder why our co-workers turn to substance abuse.

I called HR and explained what happened and I am back at work but now under increased scrutiny from my job all from being in Emergency Services and helping people.

ANYWAY….. I am just feeling very alone and wish I could find therapy that will take me and that is someone that can understand street EMS and what we go through. I miss it so much but I also know I cant do the job like I was 20 again.

Stay safe everyone………We need better mental health for EMS…….I wish I could have a support group or at least therapy without judgement.
Imho, From your post this medical issue appears to possibly be a job related illness.

Even though you're not a Member you can also contact the local chapter of other Public Safety Organizations, (i.e. Fraternal Order of Police, etc) and ask them for a name of a Counselor/Clinic that they use for their members, (for treatment of Job Related Stress(PTSD).

As much as I despise attorneys, its may by time to seek legal advise to help you navigate through the administrative processes.

I have no connection to this law firm and only conducted a quick internet search, (i.e. work comp for job related PTSD EMS providers)

This will give you a primer on what an attorney can do for you.
https://www.gerberholderlaw.com/workers-comp-ptsd-by-state/

Looks like Prinston in NJ has a specialize team for treating Public Safety Officers
First Responder Treatment Services
Given the nature of their jobs, first responders face constant exposure to tragedy and stress, which can sometimes transcend into problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Our First Responder Treatment Services are the first in New Jersey to provide inpatient mental health and addiction services to address the unique behavioral health needs of police and corrections officers, military personnel, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs.

Good luck and hang in there.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
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EMS Sucks across the board when it comes to helping their own.

The private service that I worked for when I needed help didn't have anything in place per se, but they were good about supporting me; better than the fire department that I worked for PT (they just took me off the street, and wouldn't let me work until "I got the help I needed", but didn't give me any support).

Where I work now I am afraid to ask for help I see how upper management supports people in crisis with other problems.

Co-workers (and Me) who have had counseling have done it out of pocket (and we have good insurance that would pay for it, but it would get reported) because we are afraid that management would find out and we would be suspend or lose our jobs over it.
 

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
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EMS is weird in that there are vast swathes that are not connected with police/fire departments that have generally come around to understanding well the crucial dynamic of critical incident stress processing. It's becoming part of police and fire culture so that's where the resources are. That resources in private and 3rd service EMS don't exist to the extent they do in fire and police organizations is probably at least in part due to the fact that folks don't stay in those EMS models near as long as their police and fire counterparts.

Start with seeking out a police or fire chaplain. They're not there to get people to go to church (unless they want to). They're there to get the processing rolling and to offer support and resources. The conversations are privileged and constitutionally protected provided they're an ordained minister and sworn chaplain....FWIW
 
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