Finding my purpose has become more important than ever.Tweet
Thanksgiving of 2017 was a life-changing moment for me and not in a good way; at least not entirely. What started out as a warm and joyous occasion with family, ended with a young man’s last moments on earth. Upon hearing that there was an emergency on the front step of my aunt’s apartment building, I leaped into action.
Sadly though, I would be met with a wall of numbness and disassociation, rendering me unable to assist the young man. As a result, on this cool thanksgiving evening, the firefighter and long term care working in me died; leaving a shell of a man, standing beside himself, very, very, lost.
As much as I tried to shake it off and shut it down, like the big tough firefighter I thought I was, I could not. My nightly dance with the nightmares was too strong of a force to contend with; the flashback would damn near send me of the road and made it increasingly more difficult to bear. What’s more, my workplace was fraught with violence, and near constant noise. With this threat of being assaulted a constant and coupled with this noise, the new, not so cable self, was defenceless against its over stimulation. Essentially, I lived in zombie land, shut off so as to protect the shards of me that remained.
Now, in twenty-twenty, I have only made baby steps down the road to mental wellness; with that said, I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that’s not saddened and frustrated. After all, I should be cured by now right? Wrong!
With PTSD producing all this internal chaos; or, as I like to call it, the mental health storm of the century, I am left in a quandary. A battle that leaves me struggling to define who I am. Since I had no say in the “new me” I have no idea which direction to take. However, with all this uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to keep fighting like hell to find a me that can be defined; one that can contribute to society and an identity that finds purpose.
The One Thing I do have in 2020
Getting back to this holiday weekend and it’s overwhelming, triggering challenges, it has become more important than ever to take stock of all the great things I have in my life. Amazingly, it’s the practice of gratitude that propels more forward and because I am so fortunate, I have to believe that great things will happen along this long but healing journey. I have to have hope and perhaps most importantly, I have to keep moving forward.
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!