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EMS providers: There is no shame in asking for help

My husband decided to seek help for his mental health, and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud

By Wife of a Paramedic

Three years ago, my husband decided to take the next step to become a paramedic. He had been a basic for almost two years. He found a school that would fit into his schedule and signed up.

During this time, we had loads of stress. We bought a house, kid started school, and he was struggling to balance school, work, clinicals, and family. It was a combination that almost broke him. He was convinced that his ADHD was keeping him from being able to understand the cardiology module.

He decided to see a doctor to discuss his “ADHD” and hopefully get some meds to help him through school. When he got to the appointment, he told the doctor everything.

My husband’s father killed his youngest son and then himself when my husband was 19. And now, in his mid-30s, it came back to haunt him, along with a lifetime of other issues. The doctor diagnosed him with PTSD, gave him some Zoloft, and sent him on his way.

My husband wouldn’t take no for an answer, so the same day he sought out a psychiatrist with ADHD as a specialty. The appointment lasted about an hour. Afterwards, he came out with a final diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

The doctor was right. He pinpointed so many things that my husband called me up and said, “It’s bipolar.”

I said “OK.” He didn’t even get mad that I wasn’t shocked because he kind of knew it. Thank goodness he didn’t take that Zoloft, because it would have sent him on an upward spiral that he might not have come back from.

My husband took a medical leave from school. He took time to get a therapist, and began working with the psychiatrist. After a year, he returned to school.

I am proud to say he graduated in August, and passed his national exam in February. When he gets his patches at the end of the month, he will finally realize his dream of being a medic.

If you think you need help, you probably need a hand. Don’t be afraid to seek out help to make your life better. My husband’s family has a long, rich history of using suicide as a solution to problems, and I will be eternally grateful to him for seeking out the help he needed and accepting it. There is no shame in being selfish enough to help yourself. My husband is living proof that you can make it in this field and live a life worth living. I keep you all in my heart and hope that you find the strength and the courage to grab life by the horns and run with it.

The Code Green Campaign calls a ‘code alert’ on the mental health of EMTs and paramedics by breaking the silence about mental illness in EMS by sharing the stories of those who have been there. The Code Green Campaign has selected this story and we are glad to share it with EMS1 readers. Learn more about the Code Green Campaign.