Pain is pain period

As I go through my life, I have come to realize that pain is pain, period.

As a thinker, I spend a lot of time thinking about my long battle with mental illness. As a result, I have learned a lot about myself along the way.

With that said, sometimes I’d give anything not to think at all. After all, ignorance can be bliss, right? However, good ol’ mother nature designed me to problem-solve. Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, she added a dash of angst – you know, so I can obsessively ruminate over what ails me.

Thankfully, there is an upside to letting anxiety take the wheel. As a matter of fact, it has, oddly enough, helped me on my road to mental wellness. How? Well, let me explain.

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While it’s true that having a mental illness sucks, my generalized anxiety disorder has an upside. Yes, an upside. So, for example, I can come up with valid solutions, at least for me, around why, lets say, PTSD impacts my life.

For me, my fight, flight or freeze response is always on high alert. So much so, it’s like someone snapped off the lever and quietly walked away. Damn PTSD.

Together with anxiety’s power, I am, a lot of the time, in near-constant low-level fear. This is what could be considered normal for me, baseline if you will. Regardless, if pain is pain, then I will work at making it better.

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As much as I consider this “my normal,” I have come to the conclusion that being in a mental state that is literally always painful, is not normal at all. I mean, if I was in near-constant physical pain, the last thing I would think is “This is business as usual for me.”

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So, I have concluded that, while symptoms of PTSD are what they are – a reality I can’t escape – I deserve to, at the very least, work towards accepting the constant discomfort as something I can work toward alleviating. After all, if I broke my arm, I wouldn’t whistle around town and try and muddle through; of course not.

In reality, pain is pain and, in my view, pain not only happens for a reason, but it deserves our full and immediate attention. If you’re hurting, please get help.

So, obsessively worrying about how I feel has made me think, think, and think some more. Most importantly, my intellectual endeavours have made me realize that mental discomfort, is a normal response to mental illness. We should not mistake it for normality; rather, we should strive and grant ourselves permission to fight for inner peace.

While it’s unfortunate, that we may never experience a permanent sense of euphoria or inner calm, we can however, work on getting to a better place. We are after all, worthy of the opportunity to live our best 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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