Look after your mates.
At Tango Juliet Foxtrot, we’re about looking after our mates. The job is often a difficult one and the TJF brand was created with the realisation that there is still so much more to do when it comes to looking after our mental health. TJF has always been a tongue in cheek saying amongst those in the job. It’s not a negative thing as some may believe, it acknowledges the fact that not every day is easy. Some days are fucked!
Not only are we about creating really cool stuff that you’ll want to wear and show off to your mates, more importantly we’re about hoping that everyone will start a conversation.
Mental health is important and for too long it’s been something that we’ve swept under the carpet. One person lost to suicide is one too many. Support each other, take time to look after yourself and look after your mates! As a member that has suffered PTSD, I’ve learnt the importance of an early debrief. Don’t wait until it’s something that makes you feel ill. I did and I regret it. There is counselling available and whilst you may not feel that you need it at the time, it is something that will save you later.
If I had of known the impact that the jobs that I attended took on my life, I’d have happily dealt with it at the time. Instead I chose to let it brew inside me whilst I tried to quell my feelings sucking piss in the back shed. I seriously had no idea how much this shit would affect me and eventually fuck up my relationships with those that I love and my family. A failed marriage, kids that won’t speak to me. It is absolutely fucked but I realise my mistakes and I’m hoping that my words may influence you to seek support and manage a situation before it becomes something that you can’t fix.
Tango Juliet Foxtrot is a passion of mine, if I can help just one person then all of this has been worth it. Speak up! Are you drinking too much? Are you becoming distant with those around you? Are you excluding yourself from gatherings? These are all signs that things are not ok. Are you feeling angry more often than usual? Are you finding yourself in arguments when you think that you’re being extremely reasonable? Again, they are signs that you are suffering.
It’s an extremely normal reaction to being exposed to trauma that is actually not a normal thing to be exposed to. Some people deal with it but many of us cannot. This shit has an affect and it is not a sign of weakness as some may suggest, it is a sign that we are caring humans. Cause has an affect. It’s quite simple and just because your colleague doesn’t seem to be showing any signs doesn’t mean that they’re not affected also.
Get in the fight, take action! Don’t for one moment think that this is any reflection on you. We are not designed to see, smell, feel many of the things that we have to deal with whilst performing our duties.
I have suffered immensely and I would like to change the way that my colleagues and former colleagues deal with this stuff. As I’ve already mentioned, Ive seen it, I’ve felt it, and I’ve dealt with the consequences of not seeking early intervention. I have been suicidal, I’ve been reckless, I’ve displayed characteristics that I’m not particularly proud of. I am human, I was once a trained jungle fighter. I have suffered the wrath of being an injured soldier.
There have been many times that I have felt that I cannot go on. I have ear marked that big gum tree on my way home, I have become proficient at tying knots, I have learnt of many ways that I can end my being because sometimes I feel that things are too much. Whilst sometimes in the depths of despair, I eventually realise that everything will be ok.
I remain here because I wish to make a difference, not dissimilar to why I initially joined the job. I have saved countless lives but I am not done with continuing that path. I believe that life has dealt me this path. A good mate of mine told me that you can put out to the universe what you want, you may not get it but you will get what you need. I’m fairly confident that his idea is correct. Sometimes shit doesn’t go to plan but if you’re in it for the long haul, it will work out eventually.
Since realising that I wasn’t travelling well, I’ve spent months on and off in mental hospitals. I have nothing but respect for the people that work in these places as they have shown me nothing but kindness. I have seen that sometimes these places are a revolving door but I have also seen that people do get better. This is something that I am always grateful for. I have met many celebrities in hospital and I have developed friendships with some of them. This has taught me that whilst we all lead very different lives, we often have the same struggles.
Tango Juliet Foxtrot is not about negatives, it’s about the positives that we can harvest from being in a dark place or feeling that things are sometimes more than what we thought we were signing up for. It’s about looking after our mates. It’s about not being afraid to put our hand up when things are getting to us.
Let’s not be shit cunts to the people that we work with. Everyone has a story and we need to be mindful of this. Be inclusive, don’t be a bully. Just because you don’t connect personally with someone is no reason to exclude them. Cliques are for cunts! I tapped extra hard on the exclamation mark because I can’t stress enough about how detrimental cliques can be to someone on the outer. Pull your fucking heads in! This job is hard enough without the internal struggles. We should all be on the same side.
Tango Juliet Foxtrot. Look after your mates!