Well! What a roller coaster of a few weeks with the launch of the Tango Juliet Foxtrot website. It wasn’t without a few minor issues and as we iron them out I appreciate everyone’s patience.
We have added PayPal to the site so that we can give our mates another option than the plastic fantastic when buying your merch.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had some really great conversations with some fantastic people. People that have also suffered from PTSD and anxiety as a result of life and work. These conversations reinforced a couple of things for me, Tango Juliet Foxtrot can and will be a great resource for anyone having issues with PTSD and mental health, it is also really important to have conversations with the people that you trust.
I remember my first job that caused me grief when I was a connie working on the van. It was a really shitty job and to say that it was confronting is a gross understatement! What is also relevant was that the follow up from the powers that be was virtually non existent. I remember going home and not being able to sleep as I tried to process what I’d just experience and I remember feeling really lonely not having anyone to talk to it about. I drank a lot of piss and still couldn’t switch off. I’d never experienced this before and something changed inside me.
As I rolled on, not realising I was struggling, I was slowly building up my piss fitness for the 2012 London Olympics.. (Unfortunately it still hasn’t been recognised as a legit Olympic event but we’ll work on that once we’ve got the mental health stuff covered), my life got less enjoyable, my enthusiasm and positive attitude flickered like a candle that was being starved of oxygen and the bad dreams started to visit me regularly. I was tired, I thought that I was dying and I had more medical tests than I can recall to try and get to the bottom of why my body was unhappy. Why did I dry retch on my way into the office? Why did I have diarrhoea that would smash a dunny every time I walked into my work building? I realised that my body was telling me that it didn’t feel safe and I couldn’t deal with it adequately. I was in a constant state of hyper vigilance and my brain would not give me a break. The racing thoughts were unbearable!
I initially went on sick leave because I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that my body was sick and it needed a rest.
I had no idea that I was suffering from a very real and debilitating condition known as PTSD or PTSI. The first that I had ever heard of it was when I was having a beer with a mate and he told me of how he had been struggling. He explained his symptoms and it sounded very similar to the ones that I was having. The penny finally dropped for me and I sought help to try and manage it.
It has affected so many of my friends, family and colleagues. It’s tough yakka!
Since Tango Juliet Foxtrot has launched, I’ve been lucky enough to start conversations that have highlighted that there are many people out there struggling with anxiety, depression and mental injuries and up until now many of them have been suffering in silence. It’s something that they really have very little knowledge or understanding of. We are helping them to get the support that they want and need. I’m sure that this is going to continue particularly if we all spread the message that trauma can have a major effect on us and early intervention is so important.
Regardless of whether you’re in the job or not, TJF is universal and it is really important that we bring these conversations to the forefront. Our logo depicts handcuffs. This is something that symbolises that we sometimes feel as though we are prisoners of our job.
I have seen how TJF is making a difference, I’ve spoken to lots of people and more than ever understand the need for what we are doing, it’s why I started this concept. Let’s turn a few words into a movement, into something that helps others.
There are many that think that TJF is a negative thing putting the job down. I call bullshit. This has nothing to do with that and it is actually in complete contrast to the meaning that was relevant in the early years when the job was fucked because of gross undermanning. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain aspects and times that the job is fucked.
We no longer have many of the unofficial care networks that were in place back then. Night shift drinks and EO’s are virtually extinct. Mongrels functions are a thing of the past. These used to be a great way to debrief. It’s easy to feel disconnected. We now have things like police welfare and peer support. These services can be useful however I always feel that some people are less likely to access them because they are attached to the organisation. We need to be able to utilise the current services available without fear of being pigeon holed or being sidelined because you have put your hand up for help.
However people choose to see TJF, one thing remains. Our people need support! These issues are not isolated to the job or even frontline personal. There are many other industries and professions where TJF is relative.
Look after each other. Be kind to each other. It’s pretty simple stuff and good things need to happen to get conversations started.
2021 was pretty fucked for me so I’m hoping that 2022 will be better.
Reach out if you need help. There are always good people willing to listen and help you. If you can’t find them then let us know and we’ll try and steer you in the right direction.
Happy New Year. Look after yourselves and look after your mates!