Updated: Feb 19, 2020
My dog sitting on his bed snoring and the Dallas Cowboys attempting to play some version of football has stalled my mind at the moment on writing the next breathtaking part of this series entitled, “How NOT to be a Turd”. My mind block also might have something to do with the fact that I’m off for a week of school and my routine will be out of whack, or my body is tired from working out after a week of hiatus, or I have about a zillion other things going through this crazy mind of mine, but the point is: NO ONE GIVES A CRAP!
Here is lesson one on How NOT to be a Turd:
We all have our problems, we all have our issues, and we all have our moments, and so do you First Responder, but at the end of the day, things and life need to get done, so put on your big boy boots, and get busy. In our last wonderful session, we all learned that your brain goes through a bunch of chemical fun stuff while you are on shift, and you are constantly in a state of chaos during those glorifying (don’t kid yourself, we all know it is glorifying) twenty-four hours, but when the clock hits shift change, welcome back to the world. The world continues to move at its speed, and you, my friend, are no exception. Yes, you must have your moments to decompress, and yes, you must have your time to re-evaluate, and I’ve given you some brilliant points on how to do just that. But guess what? None of those things will happen or be allowed to happen in a somewhat “normal” state unless you EXPLAIN THEM TO YOUR SPOUSE!! I use all caps with this sentence because chances are, no one has explained to her (or him) that your body needs time to decompress, to heal, to readjust chemically before you can even attempt to deal with the mundane needs of this world. And by mundane needs, I mean your family’s needs, the help your wives need, the other help or responsibilities that are still needed, because even though you have one tough ass job, you are still a needed and wanted part of your family: all of you. How is your spouse supposed to not label you lazy when you come home and take a nap, read the paper (on your phone), listen to the birds sing, or watch two hours of sports center if you don’t TELL HER that it is for your health? She can’t. She can’t read your mind. She can’t understand anything because you haven’t communicated that with her, so to her, you are just a lazy turd. Try this: “Honey, I had a really long night. I don’t want to go into the details, but I had a few calls that were not pleasant. I did not get any sleep. I need a few hours, like until noon, and then I’m all yours. I will get everything done that you need me to do, and please make me a list”. BOOM. Now, after your decompression time, actually do the damn list. It is not rocket science. It’s a give and take world, but I promise you, the peace will be had. Still nagging….send her to me. I’ll do the explaining for you. You get until noon or a dedicated time in with you mutually agree upon, then get off your butt and help. Noon isn’t enough because you can’t shake that call? Here's number two:
Jester is a one and half-year-old Golden Retriever. He joined 3FTL as the company service dog, who works daily with Jennifer, his mommy, and handler, assisting her with loving first responders. Jester was donated to 3FTL from Patriot Paws (https://patriotpaws.org/) after they noticed he was born to make people smile. Jester has an unbelievable ability to detect an increase in emotions, specifically anxiety, and will give all his love to the first responders that need him in their most vulnerable times, specifically when speaking about their trauma. Jester loves to love and will do any trick, especially saying his prayers, if a treat is waiting on him after he says amen.
You’ve dealt with a lot of stuff over the years because you are from the old school "suck it up buttercup" mentality of Fire, Police, or EMS: Welcome to 2019. You don’t have to live in it anymore. Get help. No excuses — moving on….
When you get help through 3FTL, your trauma will be processed, you will be chemically stable, you will learn this thing called vulnerability, and you will build your resilience. But, if you were a turd to begin with, you will be a turd at the end. You will be a happy turd who has processed trauma and is chemically stable, and for that, the world will thank you. But you will still be a turd. We can’t change your personality. Sorry. My final piece of pearls comes from the heart and with love. I want you to hear me when I say this, and if you hate me in the end, get in line because Jen’s “piss people off” line is pretty long, but whatever, I’m too old to smooth things over for you. We are losing more first responders each day to suicide than in line-of-duty deaths, so I have no room for turdness at the moment. Here goes:
You are not a hero. You are not meant to be a hero. Even though society looks at you as a hero, you are not and never will be. Why? HEROS ARE IMMORTAL. And you, my friend, are human. You can’t work 100 hours straight because you think you need the money. You can’t go days without sleep because “you’re the man” and can do all, as you can’t process that trauma without REM sleep. You can’t hide in a bottle, or pills, because the demons won’t let you go. You break. You cry. Your brain has the same parts as mine; God just called you to another field. You do not get to live in misery anymore. You do not get to live in chaos anymore, and you don’t get to blame society for putting you on that pedestal anymore. You make the change. NOW. Stop the turdness. It starts when you recognize you are a turd and work to do something about it. I love each of you, and my heart breaks every single time I look into one of your suffering eyes. You were once non-turds, and I know that a non-turd is in there somewhere. Go find your smile. Learn to love life once again and for the love…cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs because the Dallas Cowboys will continually break your heart.