I actually took the Brady crisis intervention course, like they give dispatchers, hotline workers, etc; just to better help patients. I was probably hours from taking my life before I was told we were having a board meeting. I was at home, and a friend that is a state trooper pulled in, like usual; either to BS or use the bathroom. He says, “heard you got a new gun?”
Hmmm…strange way to start a conversation.
“Yeah, a Ruger Judge.”
“Oh, cool, is that the one that takes shotgun shells?”
“I don’t know, maybe, I don’t have any ammo yet. I just picked it up.”
“Can I see it? Yeah, it’s on the seat – you grab it, I’m not grabbing a gun in front of a cop, besties or not.”
He picks it up, walks over, opens his trunk, and tosses it in, slams it shut. Comes over, closes my car, locks the doors, and points to his car. Like WTF is going on? Lets me in the front seat. Says “let’s go to the range!”
“Ok, but I don’t have ammo.”
We pull up to the fire station, says he has to take a leak. Ok. But I have to code him in. Okayyyy……. No vehicles outside. Walk in, and it ended up being my peers. I turn around, and my trooper hero grabs my arm, and hugs me, and says, “we need you, but now, you need us.”
Walks me to a chair, and they start telling me they see something is wrong.. and I just…all the years of bottling it up, just burst out like a flash flood. I didn’t notice depression, I didn’t feel my depression, I just thought that it was a normal process of being human, and being in EMS for a long time. Then, they asked me why I bought the gun. I sat silent for about twenty minutes and told them it was to kill myself. Never saw the gun again. Any of them, they came and took all of my guns, had me sign some papers, sold them, and gave me the cash.
They DID NOT 302 me. They had a freakin’ warrant to commit me, in hand, signed three days prior, the witness being the guy who sold me the gun. He stated “I seemed distant”, “Not himself”. Never felt it. I was driven to an appointment, which was already set up, and paid for; and they all sat there with me, 302 warrant in hand until I talked.
We’re talking like thousands of dollars in hours. Covered by VFIS. Diagnosed with “acute depressive state” and PTSD. Got some meds, some hobbies, some routine follow-ups; and if I strayed, or showed one red flag, I’d be put in protective custody and committed. I had to sign this deal, which they had notarized and is in an actual police file. I had to tell people where I was going, what I was doing when I was doing it. They would check on me, all day, all night, for months. It was like a continuous suicide watch.
We had a storm one night and I lost cell service. I’m sitting in the fire station watching TV, and the tones go off for me to call the center ASAP. So, I did, they said another officer advised me to turn my cell phone on. It is on, there’s no power, generators on, no cell service. Oh, ok. Cell service comes back, I have a dozen missed calls, one is from the state police; texts, messages on FB, etc.. I wondered for so long, who did this? I was at the scene of an infant that had been beaten to death and raped; and I said to the coroner, who had to touch my arm to get my attention, that this was killing me inside, I feel like I’m going to explode. Two days later. Boom. It all went down.
– Story written by Kip, PA EMT. 22 years in EMS.