By: karengray | February 26, 2019

I became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the summer of 2001. After completing my certification, I started working with my town’s ambulance service. I lived in a small town in rural Vermont, and the ambulance calls were rarely anything like you see on TV or hear about from larger cities, but we certainly kept busy.


Most of our calls were to the local ski area, and the nursing homes, and the occasional car accident. Most of them were pretty non-eventful and I don’t remember them. But some of them were really bad and those did have a lasting negative effect.


I started “dealing” with the emotional toll like a lot of my peers, I went out after the call was over and drank. In other words, I didn’t deal with it at all. The stre...

Category: PTSD 

Tags: self care, stress, anxiety 

By: karengray | April 23, 2018

Most of us have heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and many of us can probably tell you that it affects members of the military, law enforcement, and emergency personnel. Most folks know that PTSD is not something that you should mess with, and that those with PTSD need help to move through it.

The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include combat exposure, childhood physical abuse, sexual violence, physical assault, being threatened with a weapon, and accidents.

What most people don’t know is that many other traumatic events also can lead to PTSD, such as fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack, and other extreme or life-threaten...

By: karengray | April 09, 2018

“Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.”

~  Rose Kennedy

What is Stress?

Stress is the body’s reaction to a challenge. Though stress is often perceived as bad, it can actually be good in many ways. The right kind of stress can sharpen the mind and reflexes. It might be able to help the body perform better, or help you escape a dangerous situation.

Stress produces a physiological reaction in your body. When a stressful event is perceived, the subconscious mind directs the release of certain hormones, which results in a physical reaction. These reactions can include slowed digestion, shaking, tunnel vision, faster breathing and heart rate, dilation of pupils, and flushed skin. This process is often re...

By: karengray | April 03, 2018

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”    ~   Carl Jung

For me, it starts really quietly. I feel a little sad and I can’t quite seem to put my finger on why. It seems to come out of the blue. My training and experience has taught me to look a little deeper, and to spend some quiet time with myself to examine what I’m feeling. I try to identify the emotions that I am experiencing, as if I am looking in from the outside. Yes, that looks like sadness, and that looks like a little hopelessness, and that there, that looks like self-pity.

From ...

By: karengray | March 08, 2018

The fast-paced and super-connected world we live in now is taking its toll on all of us. Everyday we must navigate through a constant stream of emotionally-charged information, both from current events and the changes and challenges we face in our own lives.

Our subconscious mind stores information from emotional experiences to be used later as a reference when something similar comes up. You can think of this in the same way that we notice landmarks when visiting a new town. We store information about those landmarks so that when we travel that way again, we have a reference for what we can expect on that route, and we can navigate more easily.

Just like making a mental note of the landmarks, the subconscious mind records information about ...