Putting out my own fires

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.

Want to read more! Check out I CAME ALIVE AT THIRTY-FIVE.

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 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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