In life, there are many things that are hard to face. Chief among them for me is coming to grips with my mental illnesses. Denial is nothing more than a liar.Tweet
Ah, denial – the one word that, for me anyway, means push any bad feelings down deep and that will cure ’em for ya. But is sucking it up really a good form of therapy? Sadly, I would come to realize that the word denial is nothing more than a liar.
While it seems obvious in retrospect, I nonetheless, like many others, adopted this approach. I guess that putting your head down and blowing through it is merely what we are taught to do.
There is, however, a price to pay for not dealing with our demons straight away; sadly, some of us never learn this lesson and the effects are dire.
I really thought I could handle it.
Have you ever had a moment in life where you were convinced you could handle something on your own? Then, once in the thick of it you come to realize that you’re in way over your head?
Meet me, an old school dude who thought I could manage everything I was seeing and feeling – getting up with a feeling of dread, ever more intense with each morning. Not only was it accumulating from just going through the motions, but it was also slowly burning away my mental health because of the critical incidents I bared witness to – those calls that just never leave. Rather, they simply get heaped on the pile and are left there to fester.
Facing my pain, better late than never
Although I was only doing what I thought was proper at the time, the job of dealing with my ever-growing anxiety and mental pain became way too much for me to handle. As a result, I was forced to deal with the monumental mess I had been neglecting.
First off, I became aware of the feelings I was bottling up when I was taking more time off work than normal.
The very thought of planting my feet in that building, created an invisible wall of anxiety. And as this continued to escalate, I knew I had made a horrible mistake by not dealing with my mental health sooner.
Truth is, we can’t destroy ourselves as we try to navigate through life. Self-care is essential if we are to prevent ourselves from becoming sick. In my case, my denial led me straight to a diagnosis of PTSD.
Here are my suggestions to help:
- Pay attention to the longevity of that feeling of “heavy.” If it’s constant, time for therapy. Don’t mess around when youre mentally not feeling well.
- Taking more sick time? Time to dive into the world of stress management.
- Are you irritated more often than happy? Kick its ass with running and/or gym time. Exercise is mother nature’s medication.
- Hate what you are doing? Slowly make your exit from it and go into your passion.
- Never see your friends or family? We are all living on borrowed time, so make your loved ones a large piece of the puzzle.
- Do you know you have something mentally serious going on? ACKNOWLEDGE IT. It will help free you before you’re off work and mentally disabled, like me.
- Finally, understand that denial is nothing but a liar.
If you’re already diagnosed and struggling, these suggestions may still help you manage.
My friends, I have lost so much simply because I thought I could handle being a volunteer firefighter, a long-term healthcare worker, a dad, a partner etc. I could not! In large part it’s because I didn’t take time to care for myself. So please, if you find yourself in very similar shoes, take the time to rest, recharge and connect with your loved ones. Your life may very well depend on it.
If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada