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I have always felt lonely, but I have never felt so alone

It has been a very long time since I have been on here. I really miss this. Especially now in this day in age. As some of you on here know me from past posts on the Wall, I serve my community as a firefighter/paramedic. The COVID pandemic has been very strenuous on us as you probably can imagine. Work has been doubled, and It becomes a constant routine of wiping things down and disinfecting equipment, and wearing masks everyday.

I have been doing a good job on my own part being healthy and keeping myself safe in the face of danger in town. My hometown has grown very weary lately, but not just of the pandemic. This year has been a total nightmare. The town has blown up into violent proportions and the virus is spreading fast and we are overwhelmed with patients. I knew the risks taking the job, facing disease and violence is just another risk to it. I USED to love the job. The job USED to be fun. Now its just tiring and the workplace environment has grown hostile towards me, and I am asking myself why???

I have PTSD. I am awkward towards others and I know this. I struggle with this everyday. But nowadays it’s gotten worse. The stress the job brings, the violence I see outside my house, the disease, the deaths I see made the PTSD ‘flare up’. Now its starting to mess up work life. My captain and I have never seen eye-to-eye and now things have come to a halt between us. We are complete opposites. The animosity has reached its peak. The fire service (and pretty much every single job out there nowadays I have seen for myself) the only way you get ahead in life is to be popular. The department has become a ridiculous popularity contest. I am not popular. Now more than ever. My captain is. He is popular because he’s a bully. That is how he got to where he is. He is a drunk. He makes a mockery of me. He threatened me about three times over nonsense. And me on the other hand has only done the task that have been required of me.

I remember back in the military (which also was a popularity contest as well) when I was in basic training the RDCs said something that I will NEVER forget: “Do your job. You do your job, and you will NEVER get in trouble for ANYTHING.” Civilian side doesn’t agree with this apparently. I guess I wasn’t enough for him. Me doing my job to the very best of my ability on the ambulance saving lives, showing up to work on time, never complaining, me doing most of the work while he does little; all of that just wasn’t good enough for him. Me being the way I am, quiet, keep-to-myself, just pisses him off to the point where he takes offense. I decided to confront him after he threatened me and insulted me at my face, and I said that I am gone. So I left his fire station and now I float to others in town. He was pissed and he knew he lost a paramedic on his crew. When I left he didn’t apologize for anything, he just said good luck and we parted ways. I am not a fool, what he really meant was something else. What he REALLY meant was f.u.

I feel so many mixed emotions lately. July has been very difficult and hard. All of this happened quickly in a span of one month with a hefty workload of calls. How am I supposed to focus on my job like this I wondered? I feel like I made a good decision on my part to get away from him and his nonsense. And at the same time I feel angry and bitter and I feel total distrust of authority figures now more than ever. Word has gone around from him and others. So many rumors now. I feel like him and his friends and half of the shift officers are all against me now. This is not okay. If this is what leadership is than I want no part of it in the future, and I even feel like having no more part of any of this right now. I have expressed my thoughts to one of the assistant chiefs on the dept. and have even said that I am THIS close to turning in my two weeks notice and quitting. He told me not to do that, that I am great at what I do and that they don’t want to lose me over a misunderstanding. So we thought It best to have me rove around stations for the time being until something makes sense for me.

I do not feel well at all. I live alone. I feel like I haven’t anyone else at work I can turn to. I have no friends here. I’ve always been a loner, but now I feel very much alone after becoming more self-aware lately. I feel exhausted both physically and mentally. My indiscretions feel like they are just out there for all to see to warrant more hostility in my direction. Is It so wrong to just be the way I am? For being me?

I think not. What is so wrong with being quiet? What is so wrong with being a little upset now and then? I feel so much madness and anger all around me both online and offline. What is It going to take for these feelings to go away? Einstein said that any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. But It takes a touch of genius to turn that around in the opposite direction… Every day I see things that disgust me and just forces my mind to try to comprehend the meaningless hatred that is happening everywhere. I don’t recognize this country anymore. It is turning into something that I don’t want any part of. But like the rest of us, we are trapped due to the circumstances. I want to believe that things will get better, but I fear that for America, there is no touch of genius that can turn things around in the opposite direction, and that we are all trapped in a spiral of hatred that will destroy us all.

As far as myself goes. I understand what It feels like to be unpopular. I know how hard It is when the world hates you. I grew up catholic and I recall that Jesus said that if the world hates you, remember that It hated me first. And that the reason that they hate you, is because of me, and give them no blame. That and the common saying of ‘turning the other cheek’ ‘be the better man and back away’ ‘love your enemies’ ‘pray for them if they scorn you’.

The truth is I grow exhausted of these sayings. It does no good in the end. I am suffering inside even though I am good and they are bad. I watch all of them take joy in my suffering. I hate that they laugh at me, mock me, hate that they win and I lose all the time. Mostly I hate that there is no god that is on my side to avenge me, when I do the right thing. I feel no longer capable of forgiveness after so much suffering. I am tired and exhausted and I am so very much alone.

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Dear Devin

First of all I want to thank you for services for putting your life on the line and try help out in those in need. I’m sorry you have go through this bullshit, and it suck people like me we’re not doing my part keep people safe.

I’m a loner too, that also have hard deal with negativity from people. Mean comment really get to me too and don’t how to handle then. Plus I’m losing my shit too and go to a day program, which not being able to work.

You don’t need god to tell your a good person. I may never had met you in person. But I can tell your great human being. Again the fact your saving life and doing the best you can it show true character. However, you have right to feel human, let be real person pls not fictional super that save the day all the time, actually super movies show that. I’m opinion, everyone expect health care workers to super hero and never be a lot to human. It fuck up. You have a human right for a normal life and being to enjoy that life.

Sadly bad stuff happen to everyone, even good heart warming people and it sucks that your boss is meathead. It bullshit crew turning against you and it not fair. I hope you feel better. Stay strong!

Hey @Devin, thank you so much for being here, sharing how life has been treating you these days, and for all the things you do as a firefighter/paramedic. I truly respect this life decision of serving others as you do, and I can only imagine how your work environment has been since this battle w/ Covid. This new routine that you have to get used to, the increasing activity and people who need your help on a daily basis. That’s indeed a lot to handle, unexpectedly.

I USED to love the job. The job USED to be fun. Now its just tiring and the workplace environment has grown hostile towards me, and I am asking myself why???

This sounds to be a red flag, friend. Especially if we add your captain’s attitude in the picture. Based on all the things you described: this is objectively a lot to handle at the same time. It makes sense to feel overwhelmed by your work right now, and even life in general. There’s so much going on at the same time, and not feeling like you can rely on your superior certainly doesn’t help.

This is not okay. If this is what leadership is than I want no part of it in the future, and I even feel like having no more part of any of this right now.

You’re right, this is not okay. There are ways to be a good leader and it sounds that your captain isn’t being righteous at all. You’re part of a team. You’re supposed to be all working on trying to make it safe for everyone. I guess, unfortunately, that this kind of bullying attitude coming from someone who has some authority at the workplace is more common than we think… Fortunately, there are some really good leaders out there, but it sounds that your captain needs to work on himself. At this point, the communication between you two sounds to be really affected (I mean, if even your silence is interpreted in certain ways, it’s likely that anything that comes from you could be seen as negative).

So I don’t know him, your relationship or for how long its been like this, I don’t know why he’s behaving like this, but your intuition is right when it’s telling you that this situation is not okay. You’re doing a job of passion. It sucks when there’s black sheeps preventing you to do it in the right conditions, especially since works based on serving others already have their share of environmental difficulties. In the past, at my workplace and even through volunteering, there was always this person putting their ego and negative behaviors in their work - which was affecting everyone. I especially remember a woman at my last job who was really good at manipulating others, make you feel like she was awesome but was a real bully everytime she had the opportunity to diminish others. When it started to affect people who trusted us because it became sometimes a matter of profesionnal secrecy violation, I started to see her very differently. She became more and more aggressive and manipulative but was really good at hiding it. She was very insecure, like lots of people who are mean to others, and trying to talk openly with her didn’t change anything. Though, this started to affect my colleagues - while they were usually like litteral sunshines, always smiling and full of positive energy. I reached out to my superior to inform them that there was a problem. But our hierarchy was too afraid to make any decision and this frustrated me so much. I don’t work there anymore (wasn’t my decision at first, and for different reasons). It took me some time to realize that it was probably better not to be there anyway. But it was disappointing, and I questioned my capacity to hold a job based on a passion. Because I thought I would always have to erase a part of myself to “fit” in. But after a couple of months, I’m only realizing now how much I don’t want to let 1, 2 or 10 people interfering with my heart. There will always be wrong leaders, colleagues, workers. People who are at a function they don’t invest rightly, for one reason or another. And I’m really not talking about personal skills but intention and purpose. People who put their own interest - or popularity - before others, or at the expense of some. People who’ll be more driven by how they are peceived, by being validated by others than what they’re actually doing and the main purpose of their job. People who use their power in a wrong way. And yes, it’s incredibly frustrating when it’s in places where you’re working with people and not objects. Just because our personal requirements, especially regarding ethics, have to be high - at least in my opinion. On a positive note: those people helped me learn who I really don’t want to be as a worker.

I hear you, Devin. And I want to remind you that this situation, as much as it sucks, doesn’t erase what’s in your heart. The environment you’re working in is wrong. And sometimes it’s just a matter of one person to feel like everything else is affected by them. But you are not wrong. I have no doubt that you’ve been doing your best despite all of this, and that deserves respect. The assistant chief you talked with even emphasized that. It’s seen. Your efforts are known. Your disappointment right now shows how much you’re willing to do your job. But I understand that this may not be enough to you right now.

The truth is I grow exhausted of these sayings. It does no good in the end. I am suffering inside even though I am good and they are bad.

You’re experiencing a huge gap between what’s in your heart and the state of the world right now - at a large scale, but also in your life. For what it’s worth, I think there’s a part of grief in what you are experiencing. With what I just shared before, I remember that’s what I was telling my ex-colleagues even recently: the hardest part is not to leave a job and try to find another one, it’s to feel this huge disappointment in your heart because of how an unfair situation was addressed (well, to be more accurate, not handled at all). And being afraid that this could be the same anywhere else. Like: f*ck, things are not supposed to be like this. Period. That’s not fair, that’s not justice.

I personally don’t believe that people are fundamentally good or bad. We’re just all human. But there are, indeed, wrong and unfair situations. It’s not fair, friend. The situation at your workplace, the violence everywhere, this craziness on the news all the time. You’re right. And this eager to wish that things could be different is your strength, Devin. But you’ll have to find your ways to handle it in a healthy way for yourself now, especially since you are facing another battle with PTSD. You have a deep sense of righteousness in your heart, and as much as it can feel like a curse sometimes, this shows how much you are willing to do things rightly. And there is still so much goodness out there, friend. It’s just more silent, humble, it’s often happening in the shadows where no one’s looking at. Don’t let them or violence consume your heart. There are so many other people and needs that are worth your attention and energy.

At this point, and given the circumstances, how do you project yourself in the future? Do you think there’s a possibility for this situation with your superior to be better (with some mediation, or a third party/authority for example) or not at all? It’s okay if you don’t really know yet. I just hear your pain with all my heart, and I think that being your own priority right now will be important. :heart: Maybe if you can, trying to see a work coach/counselor could be helpful in this situation.

In any case, know that we’re here to support you through this season of your life. There may be a lot of disappointment or uncertainty surrounding this situation, but you are not alone. We as a community may not be in your shoes, but we’re in this with you.

Hold fast. :heart:

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