STOP! If you leave for a black Friday deal take one thought with you before you go! It is normal to think about suicide. It is called “suicidal ideation” and it is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Those with this thought process can only exit the horrific circular argument when they understand it is normal. You see, their mind is signalling a crisis wrapped up in “suicidal ideations”. The featured image speaks of the horrific circular argument because those with this thought process need to “stop squirrelling” and find the exit. The exit is knowing these thoughts are normal.
Now before any reader has the privilege of never having experienced that thought process consider that reader may not be normal. Here is the twist, normal is statistically unachievable because it is a calculation based on averaging. Technically no one is the average. Peculiar way to think but go with it and see what happens.
Head off to the black Friday sales now…or read on. Rest assured I too am noting the “sales” and I too am someone who has normal suicidal ideations. That was not easy to say but I shall take the risk and move on with the story. Our thought processes are well tracked by now and each and every advertisement has used search engines and cookies to find out what we “really want” and then remind us that we want it. Those engines find a divot and dig until it is an insatiable hole.
Stop! Observe your thoughts right here right now. Pause and observe your breath. That is what those with suicidal ideations need to practice. That kind of mindful stopping will serve all of us, even those without the four letter label called PTSD.
So today’s post doesn’t have the poetry and cadence of others but it has a cache at the end! If you read on I will share something, a secret from the Toronto G20. A secret I have never shared. After all black Friday is about secrets, good deals, and hungry consumerism. Know that consumerism accesses something in the brain similar to how someone with PTSD relentlessly searches trying to contain and make sense of the chaos in their mind. It appears you are reading… that must mean you want to know more about this four letter acronym.
Know that as the darkness sets those with PTSD brace themselves for hauntings and night terrors. The people that are deeply injured are those that experience these terrors day and night. The reason so many people have suicided from this injury is, in part, because it is so poorly understood. Understanding can be legislated, or embedded in the wording of a workplace Policy & Procedure, but these written documents don’t compare to human compassion.
The problem is human compassion can only breathe life when people make a genuine effort to understand and get out of their own way while listening to the silent spaces in between the words. (Safeguarding warning: This includes the listener being safe by respecting their own personal boundaries because vicarious trauma is very real.)
STOP! Last night resulted in a quiet call from a colleague. The call said nothing though the silent space in between the words spoke volumes. The message was like ice freezing on a stop sign making it illegible to the driver on the road. The caller knew ice was starting to collect because the night had begun. That caller knew the iced hauntings and terrors would melt with first morning light. The caller also knew they would be sleepless, again. I said what they are living is terrifying and they had the ability to mindfully make it through the night’s pending horror. Compassion and understanding was all that was needed, and a reminder this was normal.
Historically there has been legislation designed to manage our collective inability to be compassionate. That legislation has included placing people on islands or in barred institutions. Historic responses to leprosy, cancer, and AIDS among many others fall in these categories. Anything labeled or understood as a “deviation” from “normal” has historically been feared. Think back to grade school and learning the Copernican Theory. We may not know that title but we know the earth revolves around the sun. It is common knowledge. Thing is we may not know that was not “normal” at the time of Galileo and he was accused of heresy against the reigning arm of the law, the church. So Galileo’s life was threatened for thinking differently, those with PTSD think differently because their lives were threatened. How about we just figure the thoughts are normal and then see what happens?
Thoughts are like a revolving door where we try to define our world with facts that make us feel safe. Sometimes these facts include accepting the earth revolves around the sun. So today one of our facts misinterprets the definition of “normal”. We can either find out that all of us are not normal because normal is a statistically unachievable place based on simple math. Or we could turn this on its head and call all the things that scare us normal and move on with a different way of thinking. So what changes if you think suicidal ideations are normal? Say that out loud, stop, breathe, and observe. Wait three minutes in this place and see what happens.
When I stop, breathe, pause the joker seems to come to play. The joker is a master distractor calling “Old news, new news,” in a syncopated chant from my childhood friend, Dr. Seuss. “All of it is news!” The sounds continue and I wonder when it will no longer be news? My stop and pause were not here today, but news was. News likes black Friday. On the heels of the door crashing sales civilians, officers, scientists, all call pervasive misuse of power and resources worthy of news. So the post comes to a conclusion syncopated with ads and pop-ups for black Friday and you are about to find out a secret I have never disclosed.
A fire is burning and it isn’t the police cruiser lit on the streets of Toronto G20. That fire is the knowledge we have lost our ability to be compassionate and we are protecting money more than the minds of the people beside whom we live. I worked that G20 and I have stories I never expected. I was one of the hired thugs designed by legislative puppeteers to protect those that are affluent – the top 20 most affluent to be specific.
Where there is smoke there is fire! There is a lot of smoke on subjects around police. There is also lot of smoke about issues around PTSD. The smoke is everywhere, if you choose to look. It is particularly evident in the dry documents we call legislation. The smoke is the ostracizing of those we don’t want to see, including those we define as “not normal”. Now it is time to STOP – read the SIGNS – and ask “where is the fire?”
The fire is in our inability to dig deep and find compassion. If this were a Truth and Reconciliation meeting there might be an eagle feather. Whomever holds the eagle feather has the right to speak their peace (error intentional). Once their peace is spoken they pass it on for another to speak. It is time to send the eagle feather inside our souls and listen to all the competing parts allowing each one to hold the eagle feather. One part may speak about the need for that item on sale. One part may question what hole is being filled with “stuff”? One part may offer a silent salve of wisdom to know two truths: one being that hole in the heart is “normal” and two being “this too will pass”.
Play safe, JT. Murphy signing off for daybreak.
The information I have never disclosed is two fold.
- My brother, my cousins, my friends were in the protests while I wore the uniform and riot gear. I heard the drum beating and knew kettling had started to break up those with the right to speak. I did not know on which side I would end my shift. I strongly suspected I would walk away from the uniform if I needed to protect the protesters.
- I photographed the whole event and in the process found my photographs located me in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, a place I have never been. I have always wondered when the facts can be manipulated as deeply as these who will I choose to trust? Will I trust my heart, my soul, and my friends who have listened to me and told me I was worth living or will I believe a system that can change data to mottle facts?
Black Friday is a day of mottled facts. Suicidal Ideations are normal. They are mottled facts resulting from profound injury but they are normal.’
JT Murphy signing off for shift.