Putting out my own fires

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.

I admit it, I suck at putting out my own fires. How good are you at self-care?

I answered my last alarm a few years back and ever since then, I have been putting out my own fires. This time, I am battling blazes that threaten to consume my mind and myself in my entirety.

At first, I hated that I was too “weak” to fend off a little thing like PTSD, I sure as hell, so I thought, had defeated bigger monsters in my life, so this beast would be easy to slay, right? Man, did I ever pay a price for that silly assumption.

Fortunately for me, I saw the wall I was hurling towards at top speed. Thankfully, this gave me time to abandoned my foolish ways before I became yet another tragic statistic.

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Even though I narrowly escaped a socially-acceptable yet mythical norm – that of plowing through every ounce of mental pain – I was, however, left with permanent injuries, ones I can now not ignore.

How to recognize PTSD

You know that old saying? That ignorance is bliss? Well, not in my case. Had I not worked on putting out my own fires, my world could have been destroyed by my own ignorance. Turns out, that what you don’t know can hurt you. Whether you want to see it or not, it is still there.

While it’s true that I hoped that the tragic events imprinted on my memory would somehow dissolve over time, I was wrong! As if that weren’t enough, I am also a helper by nature. This disposition is by default one that sees people like myself at the bottom of their own “to take care of” list.

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This approach is, in my view, ridiculous. Why? Because running on empty all the time leaves you drained, lonely and unfulfilled as a person. After all, we love helping others. it’s what drives us. But without self-care, we can’t reap the benefits of our work. At least, this has been my experience.

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In conclusion, putting out our own fires needs to be the priority. Think of it this way. Militaries all over the world have learned that they must condition their troops. So, on the level of the individual, they must be in peak shape to do their job. In other words, they must look after themselves first. And so too should we.

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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