You can’t ignore PTSD

You can’t ignore PTSD.

You can’t ignore PTSD

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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In our society, we tend to think that we are failures if life takes us off our planned path. But are we really failures? I’d like to make the argument that when life takes us off course, we can forge a new way forward.

When I was a firefighter, I pushed myself well beyond my mental abilities, thinking I could just shake off the traumatic events I witnessed and get back on the rig for the next call.

I suppose this myth I was telling myself worked for a while, or so I had thought. Turns out that I was not coping at all; I was, in fact, doing more and more damage.

Knowing your mental limits

When the time came that my mental strength was all but exhausted, I felt defeated, like I had failed. After all, none of my colleagues seem to be having this issue. On the day I resigned, I felt like a complete and utter failure. To add to this perceived failure, was this head-to-toe feeling of weakness and shame.

A double whammy

Who knew that pushing through my mental pain would be such a bad idea? I really wish I had known at the time; it may have saved the rest of my life from coming unravelled. However, my reality has been forged by the fact that I didn’t know.

Due to my decisions to keep fighting on with no regard for my mental health, I lost. My feelings of failure were compounded by the fact that I had recognized my illness too late. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I pushed it down and packed my trauma so tight that it finally snapped.

Whichever was the case, the mental pain of my fire service days had leached into every facet of my life. This sad reality I faced would include my work life too.

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Making my living as a health-care worker was not an easy one, to say the least. I had witnessed some pretty traumatic incidents there too. While this was also my reality, the cornerstone for my PTSD, without question, stemmed from the fire service.

Regardless, I had mentally bled out for far too long and before I knew it, my mistaken resilience crumbled under the weight of my mental illness. Only a few short years after calling it quits as a volunteer firefighter, I would find myself making an exit from my workplace as well – proving that you can’t ignore PTSD, that it will indeed, get you in the end.

Is failure such a bad thing?

While I thought for years after I left the service that I had failed at everything I loved, I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Failure is just a conduit for success so long as you keep moving forward. Doing what I have to do, has been slowly leading me down the road to mental wellness and as a result, I have discovered new passions along the way.

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.

When every aspect of my life went off the rails, I turned to writing in a desperate attempt to sort out what was going on inside my head. Consequently, a new passion was ignited – a love for writing.

You can’t ignore PTSD; this is true – but if you are manning up, shoving it down or in just plain old denial, please know that when PTSD becomes too much, there is life after the military or emergency services. Failure is an option as long as you understand this: PTSD or any mental illness is not something you choose to have and secondly: as humans, we are gifted with the ability to discover other passions. So, in that regard, no matter what we go through in life, we can always find something that gives us back our love for life.

Keep moving forward.

If you are struggling, please go here for help: 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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