Hang in, there is hope.

Hang in, there is hope.

For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy; plagued by a past, one that steps into their dreamland and tears through it like a tornado. Hang in, there is hope.

While there is some sort of expectation that I will remember the nightmares from my attempts at slumber, this is simply not the case. What it does is bring me back to the realm of the woken world is an intense, heavy feeling that denies me a great night’s sleep. This, of course, rejuvenates PTSD’s other life interrupting symptoms. There is hope!

The eyes deceive us, for the only know what’s in front of them.

While my past traumatic events follow me around like some lost demon puppy, there is an upside. I know, you’re thinking; Whaaat! but hear me out. First off, trauma sucks, always… But I am grateful that I experience a reprieve from its torture. I am glad to have those good days and sometimes, great weeks.

Now, with that said, I find this dastardly bastard has its hands wrapped around what was a long period of peace, systematically throwing me back into a terrifying yet familiar place.

Hang in, there is hope.

Luckly, I am a keen observer and can sort of tell when my memories of rendering aid to others in my fire service days, is slowly boiling its way to the surface. I gues the best way to communicate this to the outside of the mental illness world, is like this:

Listen to more mental health related stories at Men Are Nuts podcast

In modern times, we know when there’s a huge storm heading our way. And while it may be wreaking havoc hundreds of miles away, we still are, at least, cognitively aware that it is coming.

However, to look outside your window, you would never know. Perhaps where you are is sunny with blue skies dominating over your head. For, me, I think to myself; “It’s hard to believe that there is a storm heading our way.” Visually, the eyes deceive us, for the only know what’s in front of them.

However, as the storm gets closer, we start to see suttle changes; the blue sky is colored in by an ever-darkening shade of grey and a breeze is now detectable upon our face. And as the storm draws closer, so too does our anxiety intensify; until finally the storm has descended down on us.

A storm, it is a brewin

This real-world occurrence perfectly describes the mental health storm that slowly bares down on me at times. It does so in the following ways:

  1. Firstly, I start off with the most beautiful of days; I feel so good in fact, I almost feel cured.
  2. Then though, as time passes and as I encounter the busyness of the world, I start to feel the storm blowing in; slowly but surely.
  3. As my anxiety rises from the impending storm, I feel my startle response become heightened to the degree where every sudden movement, ever little noise, brings me out of my chair. It’s usually at this juncture that the flashbacks occur. (the storm is moving in).
  4. Finally, nightmares, little sleep, and a very low tolerance for any sort of interaction ensues; this is the hight of the PTSD storm and the point where I seek safety, my bedroom. At this point, the only thing I can do is hunker diwn and wait for the storm to pass.

Looking for help? Go to our Mental Health Resources Page

The take away? Well, I have learned a lot by having this sort of ebb and flow or up and down if you will. As a result, I now know that, like storms in real life, mental health storms pass aswell.

While this may be true, it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re encountering the full force of post-traumatic stress disorder. What I try to do is keep in mind that I have ALWAYS weathered the storm.

So, with a survival rate of a hundred percent, I can say that I am doing awesome; I am happy to be here to have written this. Similarly, if you are reading this, then you also have a hundred precent survival success rate, I’m so happy that you’re here; Hang in, there is hope.

Like what you read? Then the book I help write as a contributing author may be for you:

Lemonade-III-Front
20 stories of those from Military and or emergency services.
pre order today!

About the Book

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 service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with  post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that their 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, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

PRE ORDER TODAY AT

Lemonade Stand Vol. III on The Road To Mental Wellness.

This too shall pass.

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If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

Contact me on my Facebook page: facebook.com/TRTMW

woman in black coat standing near glass window

Don’t let your illness define you

Don’t let your Illness define you.

Before you reading, Don’t Let Your Illness Define You, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

I remember the early days of the aftermath that altered the course of my life. When PTSD ravaged my mental well-being, leaving me in shambles in its aftermath. Becoming void of purpose and lacking direction, I realized that it was time to stop think and plan.

Because I decided to make a plan, I essentially created a direction to head in. So, where did this direction take me? Well, it took me here; to The Road To Mental Wellness. “Helping people by telling my story” became my compass, my therapy and ultimately, my saviour.

Finally, I was able to fill the void with purpose once more. I have been helping people for as long as I can remember so, this seemed a perfect fit; I would dedicate my limited energy to being a mental health advocate. But even this new-found purpose, as exciting as it was, came with its downsides.

Chief among them was my propensity to go full tilt with things I am passionate about. While putting energy into mental heath issues isn’t a bad thing, it can however, deplete this store of said limited energy in a hurry and that’s where things get problematic.

Are you a service member with PTSD living in Nova Scotia, retired or active? Need a break? Contact Rally Point Retreat

As it turns out, if you delve into something wholeheartedly, you can inadvertently get too close to it. As my psychologist rightly pointed out, “your illness doesn’t define you.” Her words produced a revelation in my brain. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I was simply thinking I was putting my energy in a positive cause; mental health avocation.

Don't let your illness define you
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Although it’s true that where I chose to put my mental resources was and still is a great thing, the algorithm of the internet hits you in the face, all the time. As a consequence, words like mental illness, PTSD, depression and anxiety cross my line of vision more than the beautiful surroundings I’m blessed to be living in.

Although I love helping others, I do have to prioritize my own recovery. Essentially, what I need, what we all need is balance. It’s vital for your mental health to walk away from this trap laid by algorithmic behaviours set by stupid social media. Furthermore, it’s good to have other hobbies and to actively pursue them.

How to achieve balance in your life.

Perhaps most important of all, don’t let your illness define you. You are much more than a diagnosis. You are an instrument of wonder and curiosity just waiting to explore that passion you have always thought you weren’t good enough for. I believe in you.

In those momenets

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD.

Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

Hang in, there is hope.
For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy; plagued by a …
From fear to courage
We in the services go from fear to courage. If we didn't …
Today is your day
Yesterday, you found yourself too heavy to get on with the day. …
Love and loath
The fire service and I suspect it's true of all emergency services, …
cold dirty pattern texture

From fear to courage

We in the services go from fear to courage. If we didn’t the job would never get done.

Before you read From Fear to Courage, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

Fifteen years in the fire service has taught me a lot. Not only has it be an education, but it has also given me a lot to think about. For instance, why people like me do we do what we do?

Have a listen to Men Are nuts Podcast

Over the years, I have thought a lot about what drives us to act. While I know that our motivations are many, my mind always returns to one primary thought. How can we run into the face of chaos, while others run for freedom? In my view, I think it is primarily centred around this: I believe that fear gives us the courage we need to go into battle and or into fully involved structure fires.

There hasn’t been a large scale call that I haven’t experienced some level of fear. Yet, despite being frightened, I never once back away from the job. Why is that? Well, as I said it’s for the reasons I have mentioned but without the ignition point, we might not step up. I see the chemical adrenaline as the catalyst that moves us from fear to courage.

I also tend to think that without it, we would suffer from “deer in the headlights syndrome.” Freezing rather than fighting is a sure way of dying. It’s a fact that we as humans have known for centuries.

What the public sees is what they would label a hero. But in reality, I feel like it’s all the above; working in unison to get the job done. Most of us in the services are humble and do not see what we do as heroic. It’s the job.

Are you a service member with PTSD? Need a safe place to go and reset? Contact the service member’s keep; a safe and beautiful place to stay while you recover. Located In Nova Scotia, Canada On the famous bay of Fundy.

While we have become experts at facing our fears on the fire ground or in the back of the ambulance, treating a critically ill patient, we are, however, not good at overcoming our personal fears. With every serious run, can end up leaving a piece of ourselves behind leaving an ever-growing void.

Does early intervention help reduce the odds of PTSD?

The feelings that this void produces could be the beginning of a psychological injury. And like that of a physical open injury, it can be increasing more life-threatening if ignored. Sadly, helpers are always the last to get the help they need and because of it, they are usually hanging precariously over the edge.

In other words, this mental injury becomes the psychological equivalent of gangrenous and thereby in need of some intense, life-saving treatment. It was at this juncture that I realized I was heading to a place of no return and because I couldn’t go from fear to courage, like I did for countless others, I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD.

black and white abstract painting
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My conclusions? We in the services need to understand that PTSD is a very real threat to our health. Equally important is to understand that once diagnosed with PTSD, your brain has undergone neurobiological changes. It’s power to impact the brain is significant and debilitating. The Lyons share of the damage lies with in the hippocampus and amygdala, as well as many other regions in your pre-frontal cortex.

The Prefrontal cortex is located behind your forehead, it is the region of the brain that makes you, you. Furthermore, it helps pay a role in impulse control along with a variety of different functions. The other two regions, the hippocampus looks after memory processes, storing and recalling, whist the amygdala is in control of your fight, fight or freeze response. These areas of the brain are directed effected by PTSD, essentially making it a physiological injury of sorts.

Ok, so it’s up for debate whether PTSD can be classified as a physical injury, there is however, observable alterations to the regions of the brain mentioned above.

More on the neurobiology of PTSD.

My hope here is to show those who fear a diagnosis that it is not a sign of weakness. But instead, I want to help them see that there are real, physical underlying complications to PTSD’s impact. It’s pure neurology. It’s ok, it’s not that you weren’t strong enough; You were injured by your horrific experiences. Your PTSD wasn’t asked for and it sure as hell isn’t something you can shake off.

Now, it’s a matter of you going from fear to courage and fight for your own survival, you have done your time. It’s now time to do for you. Be kind to yourself, you’ve earned it.

In those momenets

Checkout 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 service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes 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, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

Hang in, there is hope.
For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy; plagued by a …
Don’t let your illness define you
It was pointed out to me that we are more than our …
Today is your day
Yesterday, you found yourself too heavy to get on with the day. …
Love and loath
The fire service and I suspect it's true of all emergency services, …