Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey


November 2015

Traveling Towards Goodness


How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just need to get it together and then life will be good’? I know that personally, I can’t even count how many times that thought has ran through my mind, or those words have crossed my lips! The problem with that perception, is that we are always changing, and ‘just getting it together’ suggests a permanence that doesn’t actually exist. Sadly, we grasp at permanence to hopefully prevent change because we are afraid of it, but like the amazing Eckhart Tolle said, “It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long- and so it starts to fall apart again. Forms dissolve; new forms arise. Watch the clouds. They will teach you about the world of form.” (Right Mandy? <3) If we live a life with an ultimate destination in mind, and put all of our energy and time into reaching it, the moments we were suppose to enjoy as a traveller through this life are simply never experienced.

Yes, I may have just expanded the saying, ‘life is a journey, not a destination’, but after learning some fascinating points-to-ponder at Buddha class tonight, I feel that expanding on this mantra is so important to understanding its perspective.

As my teacher explained, we are ‘infinitely migrating’, and by allowing ourselves to step back and view ourselves as the travellers we are, we immediately bring a spiritual form to view, and remove ourselves from our perpetual ‘to-do-list’ and its unattainable destination. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have goals, and dreams. What it does mean is that we should stop looking for every finish line and actually take a moment to appreciate the energy of the crowd and to savour the experience of your heart pounding and your feet moving, step…by…step.

So this brings me to another personal revelation…which is definitely not new for me! As I progress on this mental health journey in the recovery phase of my life, I realize that I have once again added too many races to my to-do-list, making it very difficult for me to appreciate the energy of the crowd. The perfectionist in me has once again become blinded by my personal delusion that using the healthy response ‘no’ when I am overwhelmed, will cause a permanent view of disappointment; in myself and by others. Now let me say however, that there is a definite difference in the abundance on my plate now, compared to that which was on my plate when I was very sick; it’s positive abundance now, and for that I am forever grateful! But nonetheless, it’s abundant, and in order to continue to enjoy this journey, I need to realize that permanent disappointment is simply MY mind’s projection, and no one else’s.

I have some big plans in action, and I am going to take the time I need to enjoy the journey. Certain adventures during my recovery have become a priority currently, and I am excited to feel my heart pounding with every expanding step. So if I am not replying to emails as quickly, or having to say no, or postpone endeavours I would definitely love to be a part of, please know that I am trying my very best to help as many people as I can, and that each of you are very much in my heart.

I am so blessed to be a traveller with all of you! And equally as blessed to learn that we can train our minds to see that if we act out of love, we are in fact moving towards goodness, regardless of whether we have a good day or a bad day. And as my teacher shared with me tonight, “if we travelled well, we will meet again, and naturally love one another”.

Here’s to the journey, not the destination. ~Nat

Great News!

I have two pieces of great news!
The first piece is that I have recently had the honour of discussing my Peer Support Group model with Syd Gravel, a retired Staff Sergeant of the Ottawa Police Service, author of ’56 Seconds’, and co-founder of the peer support program, ‘Robin’s Blue Circle’, which is a peer group that has been used for over 28 years by the Ottawa Police, and have discovered that our peer group models possess all of the same values and goals, and I will be working with him over the next little while to learn about his program in detail and how to bring it to more communities including Barrie, Ontario.
I was put in touch with him by my friend Bill Rusk, the Executive Director of The Badge of Life Canada, and look forward to collaborating with both of these amazing gentlemen, in order to gain the most information possible about successful peer programs which are available independent of those which an employer may offer.
The second piece of great news is that in all of two days, the Peer Focus Group I posted a call out for has successfully been attained! I look forward to working with these amazing professionals as we get one step closer to bringing even more community support to the first responders, military members, communications officers and healthcare providers, who protect and care for Canadians every day!
For those of you who are still interested in helping out with the development and implementation of this group, please continue to email me at
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!
Through non-stigmatized fellowship and education, it is my mission to encourage a new outlook where the need to be comfortable with uncomfortable, no longer exists. ~Paramedic Nat
For more information please go to:

What the Peer Support Group Does NOT Provide:

Hello again 😀
In addition to my post about the Peer Support Group I am developing, I wanted to add that the group does NOT:
-provide treatment other than mutual support from friends
-make psychiatric diagnoses or dispense medication
-take attendance, keep records or do case management
-provide religious guidance
These points will be reiterated during the opening of each meeting. It is simply a solution-based, stigma-free peer ‘support’ group, that people can attend as they see fit while they are actively working, while off work, or when retired, and does NOT take the place of professional help.

Peer Support Focus Group Invitation

Hello All!

I’m looking for some very important people to comprise an anonymous focus group for the review of the Peer Support Group model I, with the support of the Canadian Mental Health Association have created.
As I have briefly mentioned in the past at my event and on social media, a model for a solution-based, community support and discussion group for first responders, military members, communications officers, and healthcare providers who are, or have had, difficulty coping with the traumatic calls/events often experienced in their daily work environment has been successfully developed.
While an employer may be providing this group’s information as a resource they sanction, they are not directly affiliated with this group, nor are any professional therapists of any kind. This informal group is anonymous, and only facilitated by peers experiencing similar struggles with traumatic calls/events, and does not require the diagnosis of a mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to attend.
Each meeting (frequency to be determined by focus group) will provide a safe environment to interact and discuss the maintenance and improvement of mental health with relation to these essential professions. The extent of an individual’s participation in each group is entirely up to them. Professional assessment and care is not provided in this group, but is always advised. It is my personal experience that whether an individual chooses to attend these types of groups to simply listen and learn, or interact with peers, that they can obtain the understanding, support, and respect necessary to heal from trauma, thus improving career longevity as well as overall health.
Relevant and current evidence-based research is being used to establish a foundation for the group, and it is probable that an evaluation strategy will be incorporated into this program.
I have been invited to Calgary to present this model to first responder services in the early new year, so it is my goal to have the focus group feedback collected within the next few weeks.
Focus group members will participate in feedback with regards to all aspects of the group. I certainly appreciate the offer of anyone’s valuable time to participate, but for optimal feedback results I am asking that only those who are having, or have had, difficulty coping with traumatic calls/events in their daily work environment apply.
Five members have already been selected (3 paramedics from various services, 1 RN, and 1 police officer) and I am hoping to have fire fighters, communications officers, military members, and other healthcare providers as part of the focus group as well.
Please reply to me via personal message if you are interested in obtaining more information about the group model, and/or are interested in applying for a focus group position.
Thank you for your support and encouragement! Stay tuned for more information ❤️ My email address is:
Mission: Through non-stigmatized fellowship and education, our mission is to encourage a new outlook where the need to be comfortable with uncomfortable, no longer exists.

Tough Love?


I have been told by many people over the past year that I love to talk about love, and I suppose they are right. Unearthing the true meaning and sentiment of love after living a life where self-pity obscured its existence, is like finding a sparkling jewel in the darkness that you though had no prospect of possessing anything beneficial at all. Once you find such a precious jewel, you make a necklace out of it and keep it as close to your heart as possible. You look at it often and hold it tight in your hands to ensure that finding it wasn’t a dream. And you can’t help but show it to everyone you meet! ‘Look at how magnificent this precious jewel is!’, you say as people walk by, hopeful that sharing a glimpse of it would prove to them that they could find the same.

No wonder I am so fascinated by my discovery of the true meaning of love (to wish someone happiness and wellness without limitations or conditions) when it seems that its meaning is so distorted in our world these days. Love doesn’t hurt, even if the band Nazareth says so. Dating myself? Possibly…Be quiet 😉 It doesn’t need anyone or anything else to complete it, even if Jerry Maguire says so. Furthermore, love is never bitter, it is only ever sweet, even if Kanye says so! Have I regained some of my youth now? In short, I don’t blame anyone for thinking that love has a negative connotation with the way we refer to it in our society today.

Us humans engage in actions that will inevitably lead to suffering because so many of our societal beliefs gain power without any true independent analysis. When did Taylor Swift’s views on love’s inevitable transformation to pain become the only data required to prove that when we feel pain it must mean that love is part of the equation somewhere. Love is never part of a painful equation. Pain that comes from the heart is more likely to come from attachment. But don’t take my word for it…turn of Taylor’s catchy tune for a bit and mindfully reflect on the difference between love and attachment, and how we often interchange them senselessly.

Our delusions continue when we learn to only equate love with our own happiness, and have no idea how to practice anything outside of ourselves. How can we expect to reap lasting bountiful emotions when we put so much pressure on someone else to ‘complete us’? This assumption alone weaves a level of selfishness and self-grasping into our minds that has nothing to do with love at all. If we truly possessed the wish for everyone to be happy and well, we would never attach ourselves to them; it simply wouldn’t be necessary. Furthermore, we would be happy with ourselves, and see clearly how attachment can only lead to jealousy, envy and anger. And how jealousy, envy and anger are what actually lead to pain.

In order to find the transformative jewel of love, we must deliberately take a stand to reverse negative tendencies of attachment, and exchange them with new positive, self-less habits. Luckily, the more we explore a topic, regardless of how difficult it may be, the more we come to understand it. And I certainly can’t think of a better topic to explore than the topic of love. ❤



Paramedic Nat’s Evening for Mental Health Photo Album

Hi Everyone! I wanted to share some of the pictures taken by photographer Paul Viscoff at my event (Paramedic Nat’s Evening for Mental Health) held on October 14th, 2015. The evening was a huge success and raised over $3100 for the Tema Conter Memorial Trust. The Master of Ceremonies was the amazing Ozz from Rock 95, and special guests included, Vince Savoia (Founder of the Tema Conter Memorial Trust), Andrew Robert (Chief of the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services), Kimberly Greenwood (Chief of the Barrie Police Department), John Lynn (Chief of the Barrie Fire Department), Kevin White (From the Barrie Fire Fighter Association) and Dan Marouelli (Former NHL Referee). Thank you to EVERYONE who made the night possible! I hope that it’s the first of many ❤

C and IOzz and IladiesIMG_3299IMG_2724IMG_2791IMG_2817IMG_2834IMG_2846IMG_2857IMG_2895IMG_2915IMG_2935IMG_2949IMG_2968IMG_2980IMG_3034IMG_3040IMG_3071IMG_20151014_204602IMG_3108IMG_3110IMG_3155IMG_3182IMG_3220IMG_3309IMG_3369IMG_3439

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