Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey

Happy New Year First Responders!

‪New Year’s Eve 6 years ago with my student, Virginia ❤️🎆 How has so much time gone by? Wishing all of first responders who are working tonight a safe and vomit-free shift! … Ok, who am I kidding? There’s going to be vomit! 🤷🏻‍♀️#firstresponders #happynewyear2020 ‬

Safe Place To Turn

Very grateful to see Wings of Change listed among these amazing resources on a new website ❤️🙏

To Clarify… ;)

Welcome To The World Baby Beckham!

He’s here! I am so excited to share that my grandson, Beckham Adam Don Hogan (7lbs 14oz) has made a safe journey into the world! Mom and baby are doing great!

A huge thank you to all of the amazing hospital staff who made this experience so wonderful for the whole family! And to everyone who has supported Caroline and Dan throughout this journey. Extra big thank you to Jon who doggy-sat all day while Beckham was born.

I am so excited to get to know this precious boy ❤ Be prepared for lots of pictures!

Reminiscing About My Homewood Days

Me at Homewood for the PTSD and addiction program on New Year’s Eve 2015
I was about 95 lbs at my sickest.
This may look like a normal walk along the beach. But I overdosed for the first time this night in September 2014

I did an interview with the National Post today about Homewood and my experience being a patient there. I have done many of these interviews, and they always start the same way; Homewood saved my life. I went to Homewood thanks to my family and best friend at the time, AB, because they advocated for me when I couldn’t. They were literally my voice when I was unconscious. After my first overdose I was diagnosed with PTSD, and my journey to recovery began; thanks to them.

At first I didn’t want to go to Homewood. To be honest, I was in so much denial that I didn’t think I was that sick. I was ungrateful and standoffish when I first got there. I knew how to fix me…or so I thought. What could anyone teach me about myself? They didn’t know how I was feeling! No one did! … or so I thought. There’s a saying I once heard that goes, when you go to rehab you scratch your nails on the walls on the way in because you don’t want to go. But when it’s time to leave, you scratch your nails on the walls on the way out, because you don’t want to leave. For me, this was 100% true.

After seven weeks in Homewood, I finally came to the realization that I was very sick. Not only did I have PTSD, I was also an alcoholic and addict. I finally learned how to, “trust the process” when I was there and surrendered. This was not a linear path of surrender. It was a massive roller coaster of emotions. I even ran away one night in search of a bar, knowing full well that if I drank I would not have a clean urine and I would most likely get kicked out; I didn’t care, and was sure that I knew what was best for me. Sigh. Thank God I came to my senses, freezing cold and worried that my family and friends wouldn’t know where I was if they were looking for me (especially when I had just texted my friend AB, so I knew she would be replying soon, and my phone battery was now dead), I walked back. Divine intervention? Well, I would say yes to that question now. But I didn’t like “God” back then, and I sure as hell was completely resistant to interventions – eye roll to myself.

So much to live for!

I had so much to live for, but didn’t know how to live. I had so much to offer, but didn’t know where to begin. I had so much darkness, and zero light; thankfully Homewood changed all of these things for me. I’ve said it a thousand times, and I will say it a thousand times more, Homewood and the support of my family and friends saved my life.

I’m going to be a grandma soon!

Guess what? I’m going to be a grandma soon! As you can see by the above picture, I’m a little bit excited about it! My grandson will be here in a few days. Adam will be an uncle! Life is good. It’s not always easy, but I have tools I can, and do use now to help me with symptoms and hard times. I’m a City Councillor and get to help my community everyday. Sometimes it’s good to reminisce to see how far you’ve come.

If you are reading this and are about to head to a rehabilitation hospital soon, my advice to you is, TRUST THE PROCESS. Breathe, and surrender.

As always, thank you to everyone who helped me to be who I am today; you know who you are XO

I Will Not Stay In My Lane When It Comes To Saving Lives

I Will Not Stay In My Lane (

Dear Federal Leaders, Bill C-211 Already Exists. It’s Time For Action.

Are these leaders not aware of Bill C-211? All parties voted unanimously in favour of it. This isn’t a new crisis. With the election a few days away the leaders choose to respond to this article, but not mention legislation that was fought for by MP Todd Doherty and MP John Brassard. Sigh.

Enough promises. Act on legislation that has already reached royal assent. Stop going in circles.

From Bill C-211: “And whereas many Canadians, in particular persons who have served as first responders, firefighters, military personnel, corrections officers and members of the RCMP, suffer from PTSD and would greatly benefit from the development and implementation of a federal framework on PTSD that provides for best practices, research, education, awareness and treatment;”

Sanctuary Trauma: What is YOUR experience?

Are you a first responder who works in Ontario (paramedic, police, fire, dispatch) and you have experienced sanctuary trauma while off of work? (Feeling of abandonment by employer. Lack of support and direction.) And would like to share your story (or even a quote) with Barrie Today (anonymously if necessary) please message me.

It will be a follow up to this article:

ALSO: Are you a manager/first responder service provider (anywhere in Ontario) who does try to address sanctuary trauma? I would love to hear from you! I know you’re out there. SOME are doing good things. Let’s chat.

AND: Are you a first responder (anywhere in Ontario) who feels their managers/service IS addressing sanctuary trauma? Have you had a good experience with support and guidance when you were off work?

Please email me at or message me.

Global Peer Support Day

I did not know this, but yesterday was #globalpeersupportday (thank you Parul Shah for informing me of this) and I would be amiss if I didn’t give a note of public appreciation to ALL of the amazing Wings of Change (WOC) Peer Support facilitators (close to 50 of them!) across Canada at our 23 chapters. And a huge thank you to Syd Gravel, retired staff sergeant of the Ottawa Police Department and member of the Order of Merit For Police, for being WOC’s peer support guru!

But most importantly, thank you to WOC’s program administrator, Katherine Pomerleau; she needs to be recognized for making WOC what it is today. I cannot take any credit for this. Katherine has had a vision for WOC since day one and has implemented it. She created guidelines for WOC, (based on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Peer Support Guidelines), expanded the website, (, got WOC researched by a university and recognized as a “thriving peer support model”, and has truly made a welcoming environment for all of the facilitators. This is just the beginning. So much of Katherine’s time and dedication has gone into WOC; ALL volunteer time!

Katherine, WOC would not be what it is today without you! We love you, and thank you. And I’m sure all of the attendees at the meetings would thank you as well. You have impacted the lives of so many in a positive way.

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