As I go through my life, I have come to realize that pain is pain, period.Tweet
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.
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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.
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.
Check out the book I helped to write:
Lemonade Stand: Vol. III
Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military. In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness. So, if you are from the military or emergency services, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently come with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and/or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.
Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness- and best of all, it attempts to give all who served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!
If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada
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