It's a well known fact that emergency services personnell tend to maintain a professional distance from their patients, in order to carry out their job without becoming emotionally involved. Certainly, if I were to allow myself to think too deeply about some of the calls I deal with, I would certainly not be able to cope.
However, I never thought I would keep this barrier up when I was off-duty. I'm not saying I'm heartless and don't allow myself to care, but I received some shocking news about one of my closest friends, Jack, yesterday, and I didn't react. My other friends were devastated, crying and talking about it constantly. I, on the other hand, dealt with the news calmly and got on with my evening. I'm not sure if it's because I haven't physically seen Jack to confirm that yes, he is seriously ill, or just that I can't let my guard down. But either way, I don't seem to be able to allow myself to cry. Instead of talking about my friend it's almost like I'm referring to a patient. I'm not seeing Jack, I'm seeing his illness and the symptoms.
In a way, it's good that I know I have developed this ability to distance myself from distressing situations. But in another, more personal way, I seem to have lost the ability to care about my loved ones.