When The Fog Rolls In

Jonathan Arenburg
Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan is a mental health blogger, published author, and speaker. He has appeared in numerous newspapers and has been a guest on many podcasts.

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If you happen to be in touch with your mental illness(es), you know when a storm is brewing. A mental health storm, at least from my experience, has a certain familiarity to it. You just know when the fog rolls in that it may decide to hold you captive.

In my case, I can tell you exactly when my PTSD has acquired enough strength to hijack my wellness. While it may be true that I am often oblivious to the cause, even still, I attribute its source to a forgotten nightmare. Why? Because its symptoms often set in after I wake.

It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode.

All I do know is that when the fog rolls in, it’s near impossible to mount a defence. This, of course, isn’t every time, but when it’s especially thick, often my only option is to hunker down and wait it out.

Not surprisingly, my major PTSD episodes start out with a consistent feeling -a feeling of dread that lingers off in the distance when I first wake. I find it very similar to when I was staring face to face with a traumatic incident, leading me to believe that something dreadful followed me back into this reality.

Full list of PTSD symptoms.

It is for this reason that I feel forgotten nightmares are responsible. I have reached this conclusion because more often than not, it comes for me in my slumber.

It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode. As the fog rolls in, no amount of mindfulness can fight it off. Similarly, I find any other form of therapy ineffective.

Want to read the perspective of another mental-health blogger? Go to Encourage Green

Needless to say, trying to navigate my way through this heavy brain fog is difficult at best and completely impossible at worst. Ironically, it’s the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder themselves that are to blame.

Need help? check out our mental health resources page here

With these symptoms, there seems to be a sequence to them. They are as follows:

  1. A deep sense of dread upon awakening (whether I remember the nightmare or not).
  2. Level 10 brain fog.
  3. An increase of my fight, flight or freeze response.
  4. Thus, a turn-up of the dial of my startle response.
  5. Easily irritated or angered.
  6. Finding everything overwhelming.
Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
Find out more below – Written for therapeutic release, published in hopes it helps you.

So, if you were to ask me which PTSD symptom is the most difficult, I would say, in short, all of them. However, with that said, being easily overwhelmed and the inherent startle response, are without a doubt the ones that put me out of commission.

So, what’s the remedy?

The only thing I can offer in the way of advice if you go through something similar is to do nothing. Moreover, learn to be okay with that.

Despite what we think, we are human, not superhuman – and because of that, we must learn to understand that PTSD, depression, anxiety and many other mental-health conditions are going to win a battle every now and then. That, my friend, is a fact.

Ask yourself this: can I have a day here and there to just ride the wave? I’m happy to say that it works for me and it too can work for you. In my case, it’s effective because I feel zero guilt and not an ounce of shame. I’m sick and I’m done pretending otherwise.

Ways to be self-compassionate

I truly hope that the next time the fog rolls in that you will be kind to yourself. The storm will pass and as long as you’re not running away from it every day, riding it out can be the best thing for your mental health.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

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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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