These are the jobs that rush through your brain at 0300 in the morning,
The ones that perpetuate nightmares you physically wake yourself up from to stop yourself from sweating.
0300 is a lonely hour when your heart is racing as fast as someone that’s septic, you feel sweat running down your back and no matter how hard you try to control your thoughts they just spiral, you can feel your prefrontal cortex trying to compartmentalise and make sense of the trauma you’ve seen.
During the initial phase of sleep, the REM cycle, the brain begins to process the memories of your day, when your sleep is interrupted or broken, the brain doesn’t get a chance to file away these memories,
So where do they go?
They come to you at 0300, your brain pleads with you to work through it, instead of allowing the memories to process during the early stages of sleep, I’m going to write them out for you.
A 40 yo male post divorce,
found hanging in his back shed,
he was wearing some sort of work uniform but I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing,
he was hanging from a timber beam, he used a rope, he was wearing shoes, tied up.
He was so still, I thought he was a Halloween prop. He had set his laptop up on a bench and there was a youtube compilation of bring me the horizon playing,
I never want to hear that song again.
The room was so dark and it was so cold, there was smashed glass all over the floor from when the police broke in, I can still hear the crunching of my boots over the glass.
When the job flashes through my head I can physically feel the ache in my heart of the sadness in that room, it honestly felt broken, like his soul was still searching for some type of relief but it was trapped in the room?
- we walked back out to the ambulance, my partner smacked the airway kit along the side of the shed it made a loud noise,
the walkway was narrow,
we were both in shock.
It was a freezing day (-3) that day but we had our PPE and gowns on anyway.
As we made our way back to the ambulance,
We realised his parents were sitting in their car in the driveway,
The police were so quite casual about the event, like they’d seen it one thousand times before.
His parents were sitting there, white as ghosts, sitting there in their car watching us all work around them, none of them got out, I think they were in shock too, they didn’t have the heart to step out of the car.
We went to debrief the parents, I stood to the side, took my beanie off and listened as my colleague ushered his condolences to the patients parents,
What do you say to two 60 year old parents after their 40 year old son, with children, killed himself in his shed?
After they’d spent the last 40 years with him?
What can you possibly say that would make that any better.
The thoughts that still circle in my head:
I knew looking at my boots as I was walking
that this one was going to fuck me up
the smashed glass on the floor of the shed
the body, so still
the look on the parents faces when we told them their son had killed himself.
0300 is a lonely hour, when your heart is racing and you can feel the beads of sweat running down your back, the memories that try to surface at this hour are painful,
But I don’t mind being the bearer of these memories, I’m used to being up at that hour now anyway..
About the Author:
Georgia is a graduate paramedic that enjoys continual learning and exploring health and well-being during her time off.
Connect with her on Instagram: @lifeofaparamedic