Slowly Making My Way To Wellness

Regular readers of my blog know that this wellness journey  I am on is but a mere crawl for me. I have been off work since last September, buried in pain, nightmares and sudden episodes of unidentifiable dread. Sometimes I feel like a child, playing in an elevator, going from the basement to the first floor and back to the basement. Edging towards improvement is constantly denied and as time shuffles forward, I feel the sting of frustration and despair. Having my mental health moving in slow motion only gives more power to the Depression.

Are you or someone you know battling depression? Start your research here. Rather, find a great book on depression? Check here: Books on mental illness

This frustration and despair are driven by a few key elements, factors that hinder my ability to move forward and towards a life that will allow the pain-free days to turn into weeks. These barriers to my wellness are significant ones, Firstly, there is the medication issue. Most of the drug treatments used to combat depression, anxiety and PTSD are rendered ineffective because of the anticonvulsant medication I take for epilepsy. Over the past ten months, the psychiatrist has tried me on half a dozen or more SSRIs with little to no effect. I am grateful, however, that therapy has made everything less intense.

Secondly, the outside world overwhelms me to the degree where I find myself having to leave a crowded restaurant, store or any other venue with loud music, tons of banging and clanging and over the top loud people. The very noisy and unintentionally inconsiderate world is amplified by two factors; one, my PTSD and two, I am wired to be a highly sensitive person

Great tittles on PTSD and The highly sensitive person (HSPs) 

People with PTSD and who are HSPs share some of the same qualities, the most prominent is being overwhelmed by their surrounding environment.  Being both and having little success in treatment makes the wider world very difficult to navigate.

If you have similar challenges, perhaps you can implement the strategies I use. I look for:

  • Quiet, smaller cafes and eateries.
  • Spend less time in busy spaces, leave when I have to
  • Exercise and Diet
  • Rest when I need to
  • I understand my limitations – I’m no longer hard on myself for my afflictions and how I am wired.

Although progress is severally stifled for me, I am still steadfast in my resolve, I will live again. I will not be a slave to my mental health conditions, but I have to continue to learn my tolerances.

As for you, keep going! Even if it seems too overwhelming to continue, try all the resources above and then some. If you customize your life, more happy times will be your reward.

Looking for more great reads on mental health? books on mental health

Mental Wellness Toolkit

For nearly twenty years I  have worked in a long term care facility for persons with intellectual and behavioural difficulties. A significant number of those who live where I work have a mental health condition.

Being in this field for as long as I have, I have seen my fair share of therapeutic interventions put in place, an attempt to try to help improve the mental health of those living with Autism Spectrum Disorderanxiety and depression etc. 
Many of these interventions have come and gone over the years, in part because many of the folks I work with are nonverbal with cognitive impairments. This can present challenges when trying to find a treatment and or therapeutic tool that will be effective for many who live there. There are, however, a few tools that remain constant. The weighted blanket has been one of the most effective.

For more information on the effectiveness of a weighted blanket, go here:

Personally, one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my journey to mental wellness was and still is sleep. A lack of sleep tends to heighten my anxiety and exacerbates my depression. The main driver for a number of my sleepless nights is my PTSD, nightmares are common for people with PTSD, and I am not immune to this fact.

I have noted over the years, that If I piled on the blankets I sleep and wake up feeling less anxious, more energy and my depression is reduced. The problem with just piling on the blankets is, they tend to shift with movement, and they fail to distribute the weight evenly, a key element to a night of better sleep.

 That’s why I recommend a weighted blanketSo, how do they work? They work because of the evenly distributed weight in the blanket itself, thus producing what’s called deep pressure stimulation. According to this article by Psychology Today, Weighted blankets act like a “big hug” to help soothe and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and have been shown to be effective for people with autism

Because medications have produced little in the way of good therapeutic relief for me, I must find a solution through other means like evenly distributed weight to keep my mind and body regulated to get a good night’s sleep.

What I hope you take away from this post is to never stop looking for a potential solution.  There is help out there and as long as you keep fighting, you stand a much better chance at finding relief. You got this!

if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

You may also enjoy: I am vulnerable: I’m good with that.

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My Road To Wellness – Not Alone

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we hit the wall, or as some people call it, hitting rock bottom. Whatever one chooses to call it, its an excruciating period in one’s life where they simply can’t hand the barrage of painful events that life throws their way.

I, like the rest of humanity, have found myself face down in the mud of my own overwhelmed misery. As if the darker points in my life weren’t troubling enough, I have come to see hard times as the ultimate test of true friendship.
In my view, this phenomenon is both a sad and a positive thing. Those who really care for you will squeak out of the woodwork and be there through it all, while others will be but a puff of smoke, running like a cartoon character in the opposite direction. Sometimes we are fooled by the good friends we thought we knew.
There is another wonderfully positive thing that has come out of my most recent personal tragedy. This surprising and unanticipated thing is that of people whom I barely know or don’t know at all, rushing to be my side. It lifts my spirits because I know that the road to mental wellness is not a lonely one.
Most of these compassionate strangers have come from social media platforms. What I find so fascinating about this is that they are people from all over the world, all of which have been or are going through something very similar to myself. What’s most enjoyable about this is that we all lean on one another, its as though we have known each other for years. The best social media platform I have found for this is Twitter. People there are looking for the same as I  am. Maybe you are too. Follow me on Twitter here: ArenburgJohn
When it comes to those “friends” who jump ship, I have stopped worrying about them a long time ago. Admittedly, some of their departures have stung worse than others, but that’s life. On the positive side, it sets good boundaries, so I know exactly where they stand.
So, What makes a good friend? To find out, go here:  The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends

This blog post is for them, those who are good friends, who’re friendships stay intact regardless of circumstance or duration of your challenge. I wanted to say thank you for staying by my side. Because of you, my road to mental wellness has demonstrated to me over and over again, that it’s not the number of people in your life that matters; it’s the quality of strong bonds that will see you through.

if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book.

Trauma Specialist, Dr. Jeffery Hosick:

You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD