Thursday, 5 June 2014


There are several posts, in fact dozens of them, sitting in the drafts folder, waiting to see the light of day. At times, I sit at the keyboard and, just like the ad for Yellow Pages used to say, let my fingers do the walking. Or, as in this case, talking. I wrote most of this post over two years ago, but wasn't ready to share it. Everything within it is still true today. 

There are times where I don't write the posts, don't compose the stories, they just magic themselves from memory to fingertips, skipping out any thought processes along the way. Sometimes, the opposite is true. There is a tale I wish to tell, if only I could find the way; if only confidentiality issues, or lack of descriptive skill, or plain and simple fear weren't preventing me from doing so. For me, writing is often a type of therapy, giving voice to the sights and sounds that sometimes torment or trouble or even tickle my thoughts.

I've never been one to talk about how I feel. I find it uncomfortable and always worry that the skeletons I keep hidden behind lock and key will be too much of a burden to anyone else, be they family, friends or total strangers. It takes a certain amount of bravery to open up and bare one's soul. Over the years, I've watched colleagues who seem to take everything in their stride, who never appear to be bothered or upset by even the most gruesome of scenes. I've wondered if perhaps I am the odd one out. 

Perhaps I'm the only one who's affected by the horrors of the scenes we see. Perhaps I just had an overload of them. If you've read my writings for any length of time, you'll know that I tend to attract more of the serious calls than would be a fair average. My colleagues look at me and wonder if the black cloud that follows me will be blown away on the winds, leaving a clear sky, or whether it's planning on raining down with a particularly torrential downpour. I've never asked or prayed for that to change. All I can do is face up to the challenges as and when they present themselves and hope that I deal with them to the best of my ability. 

This blog has been, and continues to be, a revelation to me. Despite the fact that I'd kept an old-fashioned (and now destroyed) diary for years before starting to write here, the realisation that there was someone, anyone, out there who would want to read about my thoughts and experiences was astonishing. As I head towards half a million readers, that realisation is all the more powerful. It is also daunting in the extreme.

MrsInsomniac has spent years trying to get me to open up, to be less afraid to trust others. Trust someone enough to reveal what I'm really going through. To talk. Not the babbling gibberish and hyperactive nonsense that I talk most of the time, but really talk. Express what I was going through. Describe the scenes, the experiences, the thoughts, the fears, the triumphs and tribulations. 

On the one hand, to talk about what it feels like when all I want is not to feel anything. To talk about what it feels like when despite all the knowledge, despite all the learning, despite all the experience, to turn up to a scene and realise with cool composure that there is nothing left to do. 

On the other hand, to talk about the scene that is so chaotic and confused and unusual when we arrive, with instructions and treatments and decisions flying in all directions, yet by the time we leave, all is much calmer, and there is warmth and a smile and appreciation and thanks.  

And in both of these possibilities, when we have either done good or when we have done nothing, is it right that sometimes I feel something when I shouldn't, yet at other times I feel nothing at all when perhaps I really should?


Lentils said...

It is completely right to sometimes feel too much and sometimes not understand why you feel nothing at all. The brain can only cope with so much and you are human after all.

Simon Skinner said...

I know this may not help you, but, the blogs you write, especially the one written on the 1st of january regarding the baby are what inspires me to follow my dream to become a paramedic.

You can only take the rough with the smooth in life, unfortunately at times there is more rough than smooth.

TomVee said...

Yes, yes it is right. When we say that we control our feelings, we really mean that we control how much our feelings affect out behaviour. Our emotions themselves do whatever they want.

And to be in a position like yours, where you really switch between extremes - boredom one minute, mayhem the next, or the joy of a life saved contrasted with tragic loss of of another - with literally nothing in between those extremes, no transition, well, that is bound to play merry hell with anybody's feelings.

And so, I don't think that many of your colleagues who show no ouward wavering are internally calm as well. They play the popular game of 'saving face', keep the mask up, and/or find another outlet. You blog, they might delve into a hobby. Build wood figurines or something. Some (too many) take a bottle.

So please, do talk. Blog, or write a book, or visit a therapist (which your service will provide if they're smart, and these guys are also very good at keeping mum about things being confessed to them), but to talk. That chaos that you talk about must out. There is nothing to win in keeping it to yourself, then it will just eat you up from the inside.