The Power Of A Good Friendship

Never underestimate the power of a good friendship.

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When you live with a mental illness as long as I have; you learn that there is a sort of ebb and flow to the soul crushing, down-and-out lows. I know that they come and go – and this knowledge helps me get through them.

If you are struggling, please go here for help: Talk Suicide Canada

But just as they come and go, so too does their severity. Some depressive episodes are harder and longer than others. This last one, for example, was a category 8 on the darkness scale. For those wondering, that’s pretty high.

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Perhaps most troubling for me is that each new episode of it is worse than the last. Thankfully, I can still mount a great defence against my enemy within. My best weapon? The power of a good friendship.

Here’s the story:

Just days ago, I was seemingly possessed by a good mix of symptoms:; a fifty-fifty mix of PTSD and depression. Oftentimes, I find myself duking it out with one or the other, but in this last bout, they joined forces; maybe it’s because I’m too strong for them one-on-one? Bring it on! I got coping tools and great support to win the battle.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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I knew that I was losing this round. Depression and PTSD had me on the ground, beating the authenticity right out of me. As they overtook me, I felt myself slipping, just wanting to give up. Lucky, I had just enough strength left to yell out to a good friend.

In my desperation, I noticed that a fellow veteran of the fire service was on Messenger, so, knowing the power of friendship, I started out with this:

“What does one do when they are tired of fighting?”

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Immediately, the little box that indicating he was responding, lit up. He responded with “Need to go for a coffee?” I knew I had to say yes, I was losing badly; I agreed

While I knew that the last thing I wanted to do was go out, I mustered up what strength I had to push mental illness off of me and headed to our agreed-upon coffee shop. An hour and a half later, we were sitting across from one another.

We talked, the convo ranging from politics to PTSD, and eventually to how I was feeling, just two dudes, long-time friends who understand what it’s like.

I left that night, feeling so much better. Together we had put the run to my mental health conditions. Once again proving the undeniable power of a good friendship.

If you are struggling, please go here for help: Talk Suicide 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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