What lies at the center

The other day, a friend kindly pointed out that my battle with PTSD is not a sprint but rather a long and painful marathon. While I know this to be true, those words resonated with me. As a result, it got me thinking about what lies at the center of my mental illnesses.

Over the years, I have often wondered what led me down this road, what factors caused my health to veer so far offcourse? More importantly, what would the answer do to help contribute to a better way forward? Or, could my history simply be irreverent?

As time went on, I grew into a man with low self-esteem, low self-worth and absolutely terrified to try new things.

The only way to know for sure is to step out of my comfort zone and explore my past and thus, what impact, if any, it has had on my life. But where does one start? So many questions.

Thankfully, my background in counselling has provided me with some options as to where to start. After careful consideration, I decided to start with the concept known as the inner child; a theory that we all have, within our subconsciousness mind, a child we used to be. Moreover, this inner child comes to the fore when our experiences elicit similar challenges from our youth.

What lies at the centre.

For example, I remember that when I was a boy, some adults in my life made me feel as though I couldn’t do anything right. As a result, my “inner child” comes to the surface today when I perceive that someone is questioning my abilities.

Looking back on such incidents when I was a kid, I would react in anger when an adult would say “You can’t do that.” Now, as a grown man, when something similar happens, I get – you guessed it – angry.

While the answer isn’t as straigh forward as I would like, it does seem, at least in part, to have its origins in my childhood.

As one might imagine, the damage was burned into my brain over time.. Its side effect was a life-long belief that I am stupid and worthless. What’s worse is that its damage is so great, that I often mistake legitimate assistance (as I would have when I was growing up) as someone implying that I can’t do it.

Not only did I grow into the mindset that I was stupid, but I, as time went on, grew into a man with low self-esteem, low self-worth, and absolutely terrified to try new things.

How to build your self-confidence and self-worth

So, here we are, back at the question – the question of what lies at the center of where I am today. While the answer isn’t as straightforward as I would like, it does seem, at least in part, to have its origins in my childhood.

If we delve into the by-product of this childhood treatment, it’s not hard to imagine that it is potentially the fertilizer that helped to cultivate my major depressive disorder.

We can heal when we know what it was that damaged us.

And, even though I tried my best to pick myself up and dust myself off, the accumulation of pain became ingrained. Each time I was made to feel this way, the open wound would widen and cut a little deeper. Multiply that by 40 years – heck, 20 years, even – and you’ve got a recipe for depression.

Wirth all the above in mind, I feel that exploring the inner child has some real validity. It may help you to uncover the source of your mental pain. In my example, we saw that my outbursts of anger appear to have come from my treatment in childhood.

So, if you’re at a loss as to why you are feeling the way you do, maybe it’s worth exploring what lies at the center. We can heal when we know what it was that damaged us.

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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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