I am a dispatcher. That is how I self identify. I am the calm voice on the phone with the frantic caller. I am the calm voice on the radio directing my units. I am a calmer of chaos.
I have a secret…OCD, Depression, and Anxiety. Those three little things that rule my life so wonderfully, taking over my thoughts and hijacking my body. If one is triggered…the other two follow. Like three little pigs…I just want them to find a new home. Somewhere besides my head.
In reality, my mind is full of chaos. I wake up just about every morning wondering how I’m going to pull my shit together long enough to work another shift. I go through the motions, shower, dressing for work, grabbing my bag with my headset and lunch. I tell my cat goodbye. I lock my door…then it starts. The counting and checking. The nervous feeling that I have the entire way to work. I think about the time. Will I have enough time? What if there is an accident on the interstate? What if I get stuck at every red light? What if there isn’t a parking spot. OH GOD, I’m running late. I can’t be late, what is the time. I need to check the time on my watch, my cell phone, my radio. I count on my way to work. I slowly go through the numbers. One by one…
I’m at work….enough time to walk in and get myself ready for my shift. I think about how I really cannot do this another day. I have a goal…get through the shift. I can’t let the anxiety take over AGAIN! I don’t remember the walk in..all I can think about is the numbers. All I can think about is how I have to get that call out in less that 30 second. I think about calls that I am fixing to take.
I’m tense. I try to say Hello to my co workers. I just can’t find my voice. Not yet anyway. Talking is for people who have time to waste. I do not have that luxury.
I get to thinking about what I’m doing. Why am I here? Why am I dispatching these people out to calls? Why is it that I can calm a hysterical mother down but I can’t keep myself in check? I ask myself these questions throughout my day at work. I pray that it’s busy, just so I don’t have to think. I’ll just do my job and continue to do so until it is time for me to leave.
Out of nowhere, the room starts to get unbearably loud. My face is hot. Oh dear lord is my face hot. I can’t cool off. I can’t breathe. My body is defying my thoughts to keep it together. Why am I all clammy feeling? Why do I want to cry? Why are there tears welling up in my eyes? What is WRONG WITH ME??????????
I feel stupid…dear God, do I feel stupid. I’m embarrassed. I just want to hide in a dark corner. I want to quit and go home. I just want to curl up in my bed and not think about anything. I want to stare blindly into the darkness and forget about the world.
I just want this to stop….
– Anonymous Dispatcher