From tragedy often comes gratitude for life

Ten years ago I lost my cousin this month  age 27 with two children and a baby due to be born. .all to a rescue he attended the little girl was taken by him in the helicopter to hospital sadly on take off they hit the mountains and all died…colleague’s on the ground watched in dismay as he had just reassured the little girl she would see mom now at the hospital. ..none of it happened, but he would have wanted nothing more than to see her settled and with family getting treatment in hospital as she had a broken hip…
The mother of the child said he treated her daughter like his own child as he attended to her …This is for you Paul. .
Saw like the angels you always remembered by your boys and family -I have much appreciation for rescue worker’s. .thank you to all of them!!

Hi lisa,

I’m Richard, I’m a fireman – and I’ve got a story about my mental health that could really help someone you know. Maybe you could share it?

I joined the fire service in 2001 when I had just turned 18 – I’d always fancied doing it, so one day I took the plunge.

Three years ago my then partner and I lost a baby – we had a miscarriage. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. I told myself these things happen, get on with it.

Then last summer at work I attended a road traffic accident. The casualty trapped in the car was pregnant. As soon as the officer giving the briefing told us that, something just turned.

I had to step away from the job then and there, because the first thing that came into my head was the baby we had lost. What was bizarre for me was why it had taken so long to react to it.

I had some time off work, and went back when I thought I was OK. They took one look at me and sent me straight home.

My bosses knew I wasn’t safe to be there because of the huge fluctuations in my mood. I never knew what triggered it, but I’d go from being fine straight to rock bottom.

There were days when I didn’t know what I was doing, or who I was. I was in a bubble. I could have been in a street full of people but as far as I was concerned it was just me there. When I got to my lowest there were times I didn’t know what was happening to me. It was tough.

I planned to end my life, and I had told my partner at the time that’s what I was going to do. She called the doctor, who rang me straight away and referred me to the psychiatric team to be assessed.

The worst part of it was pushing my family away. I’ve got two small kids and I pushed them and my partner at the time away, which resulted in the relationship ending. That didn’t help things and probably set me back further.

But now its getting better, I’m seeing a lot more of my kids. Things are improving.

I’ve been quite open about all of it with my bosses and colleagues. I’d rather people knew why I was off rather than making assumptions.

They have been really supportive. We are lucky as a service to have a big network of support, from counsellors to what they call staff supporters – people you can just talk to at any time. They were all really helpful, and they never once pushed me to come back.

Since I have spoken out, other colleagues including senior officers have told me how they went through that 20 years ago or whatever it was. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one, that people do get through it and progress.

But although there’s a big welfare network in place at work, there’s nothing specifically for mental health and I’d like to get that in place. I want to get other people talking about it.

The Blue Light Programme has been an excellent campaign and helped me a lot. The information and support they have provided for me, my organisation and managers has been indispensable.

I am back at work now. I still have bad days, but they are manageable. My job is massive to me and I love it, and for them to give that back to me made me feel so appreciated. And now, through this, I could potentially help someone else – and that’s the most important thing.

There are around a quarter of a million emergency service staff and volunteers working in police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services in England who could benefit from Mind’s Blue Light Programme.

Please share my story with someone you know in the emergency services:

Take care,
Richard McGhee
We’re Mind, the mental health charity.

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14 thoughts on “From tragedy often comes gratitude for life”

  1. Hello friend
    Most important is you’re never alone, mental illness takes many forms, often not noticed. You have taken a huge step in healing, you’ve shared your story and the challenges. You were so lucky to have any support system. I’m in the US and we try but have a long way to go.
    We are never alone. I would think PTSD is an issue in you’re profession, other emergency workers as well.
    You are a very strong person, sharing a personal, often misunderstood illness and opened communication in your work place.
    Keep learning about your illness and put one foot in front of the other.
    I’m reblogging to my site for others to read.
    Take care of yourself. I’m here is you need someone to talk to. I Bipolar Disorder and have had my share of falling in the pit. msandorm@verizon.net, I listen well and have a mental illness as well.
    Have a blessed day
    Melinda

    Like

      1. Sorry Lisa for not writing you today. Pretty under the weather. I sent it to an email on your site, maybe your About You page. I plan on addressing a new email tomorrow and just forwarding the original.
        Thank you for staying on top of it.
        🙂
        M

        Like

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