June marks a decade since I left the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field.
There are aspects of it that I miss; above all else, I miss the adrenaline rush I got when the tones dropped and we were called into action.
Despite how things shook out, I do look back on my decade-plus experience in EMS with fondness and nostalgia.
I find it hard to conceive that a decade has gone by since I last worked in the field.
A lot has happened personally since I left; most for the good, some not so much.
There were times I didn’t think I would get through the last decade; and while I did, I wasn’t left unscathed. I carried a significant amount of trauma from both my past vocation and from life in general.
I haven’t been shy about telling my story; I’ve always believed that if my experiences can help someone else who is struggling with their mental health then maybe everything I have been through has been worth it.
That said, when I reflect on the last year and a half that I have been working full-time with the Black Press I come to realize that mental health and mental illness management have taken up less and less of my time.
I do still see a counsellor; however, unlike when I was at my worst, seeing him every two weeks, we are down to one session every three months and even in between, the few times when I have struggled, I haven’t had the need to reach out to him which is an option which he has left open to me.
Although it is scary being at this point in my mental health recovery, being on the cusp of what could be considered recovered, it is invigorating as well.
It is great being able to focus on continuing education sessions that help improve my writing or my photography instead of having to focus on just day-to-day survival.
One of my goals for 2023 was to do more with my photography, and so far that has been achieved.
I’ve made a few excursions around Paintearth County to work on my wildlife photography, and I’ve also registered for a couple of different continuing education sessions sponsored by Canon Canada, one in-person in Calgary at the beginning of June and one online at the end of May, both to help sharpen my photography skills.
For my writing, I’ve been able to focus, successfully, on some university-level courses working towards my English degree and a variety of work-provided news-specific continuing education opportunities.
Motivational speaker and YouTuber Eric Thomas asks people in his presentations “What’s your why?”
After a decade adrift since leaving EMS, I feel like I have answered that question.
All it required was the willingness to open my mind to new things; when I was a kid, photography and writing were never even on the radar.
The thing is, life is fickle; you can never be sure what journey it is going to lead you on. However, with work, effort and consistency, people will end up where they are supposed to be. Just be aware, life can also throw curve balls at any time.
After a year and a half of relative calm following nearly a decade of turbulence, I feel like I have turned a corner and can loosen my grip on the mental health aspects of my persona, focusing instead on the parts that make me a whole person: the husband, the journalist, the photographer, and the writer.
I can’t promise that mental health won’t pop up in my columns going forward — it is a topic I am passionate about — but I feel it is a topic I can finally start distancing myself from. For those who followed me from the start, thank you; for those who have been with me on this ride for less time, I urge you to stick around, more adventures lie ahead.