Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Muddy Waters' kind of few weeks.

The last 3 weeks or so have been less than stellar. I feel as though my life suddenly decided to go into neutral, for reasons which at first, I could not comprehend.

It actually happened quite suddenly. I woke up one morning a few weeks ago and found myself completely unmotivated. I felt as though there was no point in pursuing the goals I have been for the last year or two, that it was pointless and that I was just spinning my wheels. What worried me was that I had no idea where this came from. As I have already battled depression once before in the past, it scared me a little to think that the "rabbit hole" was beginning to rear its head once again.

It took a few days, but I started to realize that this wasn't quite the same feeling that I had when I was in dire straits back in 2002, and popping Paxil like Pez. This was different. the reason was staring me in the face, and when I finally realized, it was a shock, as I thought it was something I had gotten past some time ago.

In short, I don't feel as though I am making a difference anymore.

When I worked as a paramedic, this was the type of job that, if not daily, at least once a week you always felt as though you were making a difference in the world in some way. I'm sorry if this sounds egotistical, but I was doing things and experiencing things most people couldn't fathom. They may read about it on the TV news, or see it depicted on a show, or even read about it in a newspaper or website, but the actual experience of being a paramedic is something else entirely.

The impact that you can have on people's lives doing that job is nothing short of tremendous. It has been 13 years since I last treated a patient. I was in administration for almost 4 years after that, and while no longer riding the ambulance, I was still "in the business," making a difference in other ways. When I left it all behind in 1999, a piece of me, a big piece, was left behind as well.

In short, I've never had the same kind of mojo that I did while in that world, with one possible exception, when I am acting. Unfortunately, those moments on stage don't come with the same frequency as when I was working in EMS everyday, so I cherish them when they do happen. Perhaps it is foolish of me to expect anything to equal those experiences, but even something like them, with greater frequency, would be very nice.


Peter said...

I can totally relate Mr Nighttime.

Although I never worked in Emergency Medicine like you did, making a difference is what drives the best of us. Making an impact is profoundly rewarding, especially when people's lives are at stake.

And yes, I know how it feels, be it on a different level, having to leave that all behind, rebuilding a life that is alright, but where true moments of validation are few and far between.

Where I'm still struggling to handle a life that offers lots of freedom, but very few opportunities to be truly needed, I wish you lots of fulfilling moments in the theatre.

Jay said...

Mr N - I think an awful lot of people feel like this when they retire from perfectly ordinary, run-of-the-mill jobs. There's a sense of not having a purpose, of not being useful. It's also familiar to mothers whose children have grown and left home.

It's not foolish at all, and I can imagine how much worse that feeling is when you used to do a job that pressured, on which lives depended.

Maybe working from home has something to do with it too, because no-one is expecting you to turn up anywhere?

Whatever it is, I'm sure it will pass. In the meantime, I personally found doing voluntary work has been helpful, though it's not for everyone and you may not be able to fit it into your schedule.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I find myself in the same situation. OG and I have a business that we are in the process of handing on to the younger, more dynamic next generation. Some days I cope OK, some days I'm bored out of my scull.

In the interest of "succession planning" I try not to involve myself in the day to day business issues but passion and nosiness keep drawing me back. At least I can make the choice.

I also let it be known that I was willing to be a general dogs body to any random person that needs a lift anywhere, a child looked after, etc.

Today I picked up my grandson and took him to his "work experience" job and I will take him home again tonight. I also help out my greatgrandson-in-law who has lost his driving licence (another story) and today I have two assignments to take him to.

This keeps me "busy" but it isn't quite the same as being in the thick of things is it? Ah well, no-one ever said that life was going to be easy did they?

Good luck with this one my friend. If you ever find the answer let me know.

Bina said...

I think there are many people in this world who just want to make a difference, but maybe don't know how. I feel so much better when I do something for someone, or help someone, or just get SOMETHING accomplished. It makes me feel better about myself. I can't imagine the tremendous amount of ... what's the word???? Not really accomplishment, but ... anyway, of knowing you made a difference in someone's life. Some of those people might have died if you hadn't been there. I don't think I could EVER make that big of a difference.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ahhh yes, what I call being 'fallow'.

Dig deep within and you'll find that spring...that's what I tell myself over and over when I feel 'fallow'.

Sistertex said...

So sorry I am late on this, but I just read this piece you wrote. You are correct in that I will never know the world you worked in on the level that you did, helping so many people in such dire need. But I can tell you how much I appreciate you doing it and those that do this sort of work. I can see where the adrenalin would just be pumping and you would be totally immersed in the problem at the moment, and how life after it all would just not be the same. Certainly this happened to me and even 5 years after being out of what I did, though it does not compare to what you did by a longshot, I still feel a real let down by the way things are now. Yet on the other hand, healthwise expecially, the calmness and knowing that no lives depend on me today, is a good thing. I try to remember that I did a lot and now is time for me to stand down and take care of myself and those I love. This is important too, Mr. N. I hope you find peace in where your life is now because you deserve to be happy and to feel at ease in doing the things you do now. Thank you for being there for everyone and for being so honest now. This too is helpful to so many to know they are not alone in feeling the way you do. Hugs to you.