That Inner Voice.

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Intuition. We all have that inner voice that tells us: “Hey, something isn’t right here.” But do we listen to that voice? If you’re like me and I’m willing to wager, like me, you simply ignore it. If this is the case, how is it working for you? Has taken the “Ignore it and it will go away” approach ever worked for you?

Of course, I can’t answer these questions for you; nonetheless, they are worth exploring to see if brushing them aside is helping you in your life’s journey or hindering it. I can tell ya that ignoring the most troubling and challenging moments in my life, moments that sparked an intuitive four-alarm fire in my head have in essence burned my life down around me.

I knew that I was a jet in full mayday, moments from hitting the ground and exploding on impact.

Firstly, ignoring the way I am wired was a bad move. Being more on the sensitive, empathic side of the human spectrum, I don’t excel in all things death and destruction. And what did I devote my life to? Professions of unrelenting death and destruction. To be fair, when I was a young man, nineteen, twenty, I hadn’t a clue what all this was, what it meant or what impact it would have later on my life.

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But, as the old saying goes, when you know better, you do better, right? Wrong! As the years went by, a lot of years, my intuitive voice got louder and louder. I pushed and down further and further. Amazingly, I continued ignoring it – well after I had gotten to know who I was as a person.

How to listen to your Intuition

Turns out, that being empathic and fine-tuned to the needs and pains of others is like fire. While in stark contrast, the emergency services and long-term care profession are like water, they simply don’t mix. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to be wired to help and have a helping profession destroy you, I can assure you, it can, and it does. It all depends on the way one is wired and the helping profession they choose.

“We are being invaded by PTSD!”

However, is it blind stupidity that makes us plug our ears and yell “lalalala!” when our intuitive voice starts yelling danger? Of course not. For me, there was the very real need to work to pay the bills, so I thought I might as well continue to work in a profession where I was helping others. This may have made rational sense to me, but internally, I knew that I was a jet in a full mayday, moments from hitting the ground and exploding on impact.

The rise of mental illness

The second mistake I made was when I learned that something had mentally mutated inside, a dreadful feeling that became more and more dominating over time. From there, an ever-present sense of anxiety became my master. Eventually, there was no denying it. However, though I may not have been able to refuse its existence, I was still able to go to work, fight fires and pretend that I wasn’t melting from the inside out.

I am off on worker’s compensation and in the middle of the fight of my life.

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While I was going nuclear inside, the whole time that inner voice was running around saying “We are being invaded by PTSD!” But, despite my own warnings, I plowed along. In retrospect, I really should have listened.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, it’s ultimately about following your gut. Get to know what makes you tick and know that, if you choose to ignore your intuition, the consequences can be devastating. Moreover, your loved ones will bear the brunt too. As you ignore your accumulation of stress, you will become more and more tired and irritable. Trust me, they will notice.

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Because I continually disregarded my inner alarm, I ended up with little choice but to take leave from work and resign from the fire department. Actions I am not proud of, but I digress. My life’s path I chose was seemingly the right one, as all I knew was that I had a passion for helping others. But did I choose the right career to satisfy my love? I’m afraid the answer is an unequivocal no! The proof lies in the fact that I am off on worker’s compensation and in the middle of the fight of my life. So please, if my story sounds familiar to you, listen to that inner voice. It just may save your life.

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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