Small Window of Tolerance

In life, there is something so glorious about waking up to a new day. Even though, I have a small window of tolerance, I am always hoping a new day will heal me.

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With that said, I feel the mental pain every moment of every day. That bit of my life just plain sucks, but I’m far from the only one who suffers. In fact, I’m willing to wager that there are millions of people finding life and their personal battles unbearable.

What I am tired of most is not being able to live my life outside a small window of tolerance.

Although I have many moments living in the basement of despair, I am trying my best to be a force for the mental-health community. We all need something to gravitate towards that gives us hope and because I don’t fear stigma in many ways, I am all too happy to tell my story,

This weekend I am at the Nova Scotia NDP convention as I am a member of the party. I am here because I am an overall advocate for social justice. However, my primary focus is, of course, mental health; I am working hard to find a way to restore a system that has been decimated by irresponsible government cuts. Our fears and anxieties must translate into action or I’m afraid the battle will be lost. A cost I’m willing to go down fighting for.

Like what you are reading? Go to PTSD, Earned With Distinction

Today, I am on day 3 of three at the convention and I have to say that I am at my mental limit. I have lasted maybe 45 minutes and my tolerance has all but eroded. In fact, as I write this, I have taken refuge in a quiet corner of the hotel. If you have PTSD, you are very aware that when in a public setting, there is no place to truly hide. My place of zen was shattered when a passing hotel guest dropped their tin water bottle onto the ceramic tile a few feet away.

Want to hear real-life stories of those battling mental illness? Go to The Depression Files

An empty room with cedar plank floors, blue walls and a single window
A small window of tolerance.

I am beyond tired at this point, and I am feeling a bit imprisoned but frankly, I’m too exhausted to care. I don’t regret attending the convention or joining the party because it gives me a stronger voice. Moreover, it inspires me to continue the battle to restore mental health funding.

However, advocating for what’s right does come at a cost when you are mentally ill. With that said, I don’t think it’s healthy or helpful to forego opportunities as they present themselves. We all must do our part to ease the burden and the suffering of not only people with mental-health conditions – but we must rail against the degradation of people just trying to make ends meet.

What tires me most is the unrelenting and seemingly incurable pain that comes with PTSD.

Despite all of the challenges I face here this weekend, it is not my most formidable foe. No, my toughest opponent lies just below the surface of my skin – my hijacked mind and body. By all accounts I have only gotten worse. Sure, my periods of respite may be longer now but when I force myself onto the world, I am rapidly caught in its undertow.

It’s here, amid this chaos, that I am finding it increasingly difficult to negotiate my way back to sunnier skies. I just can’t deploy the psychological tools fast enough to keep myself safe from the startle response and the fear… But somehow, I always make it!

Now, it’s a day later and I am in a position to reflect on my experiences. I was able to meet with both the federal leader Jagmeet Singh and the NDP leader of Nova Scotia Gary Burrill and talk to them directly about my health-care concerns.

Nova Scotia wants to fix mental health

So, although it was not the most pleasant of adventures and I have a small window of tolerance. I did accomplish a hell of a lot – voicing my passion for mental-health advocation in front of over 200 people. Please, find the strength and courage to fight for what you need, what we all need: a robust system where access is not months away.

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Categories: Mental Health, PTSD

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4 replies

  1. (It still won’t let me comment as myself, so this anonymous is A New Dawn.) John, I’m saddened by the lack of funding in Canada for mental health and am pleased that in the US our President Biden has passed nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know this is huge as our previous POTUS cut funds. On another note, I cannot imagine what it’s like living with the struggles you do. I too have PTSD from childhood trauma and sometimes it’s debilitating for me, but I never faced a foe like the attrocities you did during those fires. I cannot wait to read your book.

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