Going Against Your Grain

The Road To Mental Wellness > Opinion piece > Going Against Your Grain

Can going against your grain really get you what you want? Or will you end up feeling more anxiety because of it?

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What lies between our ears is nothing short of amazing. Our brains are unlike those of any other animals on the planet. The human brain’s ability to reason and problem-solve, create and dream, are top of the intellectual pecking order.  Therefore, Going Against Your Grain is a possibility for healing.


Our neurology and its intellectual powers have provided us with a lifestyle unimaginable to our ancestors.  In fact, some argue that this is the best time in human history to be alive. We live in a so-called golden age thanks to a few key things. Technology at our fingertips and our most prized possession, money! It is after all, what makes the world go round, right?

Yep, this is the life, technology at our fingertips, easy access to all the delicious treats we can get our hands-on and Netflix, can’t forget about Netflix. I have never known war, never felt the pain of starvation and have never had a park bench for a bed. I believe the majority of us who have all the necessities in life are grateful for them, yet we seem to be sick and unhappy. Why? In our case, we will focus on mental health.

So then, why are mental illness conditions on the rise? Why aren’t we living the utopia that mass marketing is promising us? Well, I believe that mass marketing has re-defined us in such a way that tells us that we are nothing without the latest and greatest gadgets, the newest, in-season apparel – and that dictates what the definition of “beautiful” is. All these things don’t make us who we are, but they sure have us convinced that they do. Mental illness can rise out of never being good enough.

The impact of mass marketing on society

The negative impact materialism has on society is undeniable, yet in my opinion, it is not the most impactful on our mental health. Rather, it’s the way we set about to buy the things that exacerbate and/or contribute to mental illnesses; it’s our occupations for most of us. We are but a cog in a large wheel that few of us have a desire to be participating in.  

Going against your grain is the reason I think so many suffer from within. We all have a “pipe dream” that we would all rather be doing, but alas, we need to do what it takes to put clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. 

If all you want to do in life is to be a writer, a stay-at-home parent, or a scientist, yet you slug along in a profession that is the polar opposite of your passion, I believe that going against your grain will produce anxiety and depression. For many, it will blossom into a disorder. 

Read Some great posts from Our Writers

We are dreamers, and our mental well-being suffers when we cannot fulfill the passion that burns within us. Perhaps we need to re-define what our passions are in terms of how they play a role in our lives. Can’t do it for a living? Make it a hobby, become an unofficial expert on what you love and most importantly, don’t let your fears stand in your way. If opportunity knocks……answer.

benefits of doing what you love.

Author Jonathan Arenburg on the cover of his book, The Road To Mental Wellness

When I went off work because of PTSD, I was left in limbo while I waited to see if I would be awarded Workers Compensation. It was long and painful, hanging in the darkness of my home.

So, I began to try and figure out this PTSD thing; how did I get here? I was a firefighter, so I knew that much but my battled with anxiety and depression was a life-long battle.

I began to write out my story, mostly to help quell the angst of being lonely and in mental illness purgatory. It helped – immensely. I survived the dark because of it.

Now, it’s here – written for therapeutic intervention and published in hopes that it can do the same for you or someone you know…..

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Arenburg is a mental health blogger, S speaker, writer, and published author; He is also the host of the mental wellness podcast, #thewellnesstalksHe has also appeared in the i'Mpossible's Lemonade Stand III. He has also been a contributing writer for Mental health talk, a column in his local paper. In addition, he has also written for the mental health advocacy organization; Sick Not Weak.Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health-related podcasts Including: A New Dawn, The Depression Files, Books and Authors, and Men Are Nuts. Since being put off work because of PTSD, Jonathan has dedicated his time to his mental wellness journey while helping others along the way.Educated as an addictions' counsellor, he has dedicated most of his professional life of eighteen years, working with those who have intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges, and mental illness.He has also spent fifteen years in the volunteer fire service helping his community.His new book (2021), “The Road To Mental Wellness,” goes into detail about his life-long battle with depression, anxiety and more recently, PTSD. In it, he hopes to provide insight on how mental illness cultivates over a lifetime and, if not recognized and treated, how it impacts the entirety of one's life; right from childhood into the adult years. Jonathan lives with his two children in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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