In Our Darkest Hours

In our darkest hours, we can work our way towards the light of wellness…

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.

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Like many of you, I am no stranger to coming towards the end – hitting rock bottom and being in a place where all I could see was the darkness. However, as trying as those times may have been, I have been able to persevere each and every time. Looking back, I am proud of my accomplishments, despite that on the surface it looks like I have nothing.

But is this really true? Well, I suppose it depends on how one looks at their definition of accomplishment. While it is true, that many judge accomplishments based on what they have achieved monetarily, in my view, it is far from the only marker of success.

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Over the years, I’ve had to re-define what success means to me. And what have I concluded? That, because I am still alive, I have succeeded. I mean fundamentally, what could be more successful than beating back a mental-health condition, each and every day. When I add up all the close calls, I would say that still being here is an accomplishment… Wouldn’t you?

What’s interesting to me in terms of my own journey, is that when a challenge arises due to my mental health deteriorating, I try to find solutions. For instance, as of late, the idea of ending it feels great. While this is undoubtedly very worrisome for myself, I use it to gauge where I’m at and do my best to correct the course I’m on. Thank God for therapy.

How, may you ask? For me, it always goes back to the fundamentals. Forced social contact, exercise, good diet and so on. Essentially, I acknowledge that I feel that way, and then I work with all the tools I have at my disposal. These of course include mindfulness and practising gratitude.

What can you do to improve your mental health?

Our darkest hours don’t have to be a death sentence. Rather, we can build a bridge back to a better state with the tools that we can learn. For example, therapy will help. And if for some reason you feel that that is not helpful, find another therapist. You are your own advocate, and you must pursue the road to mental wellness in order to dig yourself out of your deepest, darkest ditch. I suggest that the further down the rabbit hole of a mental-health crisis hell you are, the louder you should holler for help.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
Find out more below – Written for therapeutic release, published in hopes it helps you.

What else does being your own advocate look like? It looks like: taking on skill sets incrementally. In other words, exercise will help one feel better; however, slow, and steady will win the race. You will get there.

Develop the mindset that exercise is an essential medical tool to help you heal. In my journey, I have adopted this mindset, and thankfully it is taking all the social pressures off. For example, body image. I am doing this to survive, to feel better – not to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, in our darkest hours, there are things that we can do. I know our mental pain feels like a mountain to climb, but healing is the equivalent of tiny baby steps. I feel this one fits more than any other analogy because it is slow, it is difficult and that’s exactly how it should be.

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For if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: there is a good and a bad type of uncomfortable. However, if we lump uncomfortable into only the category of “bad,” all feelings of being uncomfortable will feel “wrong.” Sadly, little progress can be made because avoidance becomes priority for even the uncomfortable, we need to deal with.

So, do whatever it takes to move forward. We all want our lives back.  However, this cannot be achieved if we wait for it to come to us. Quite the contrary. Mental illness is likely to continue to fester within us if we wait for change to happen. In order to experience joy in our lives we must put our heads down and tackle that uncomfortable feeling that comes with change, which comes with the fear of failure and that comes with self-improvement.

To end this blog post, I want to say that I believe in all of you and that this can be done. With incremental change, you will eventually make progress. Please, find your reasons to never give up. Push, pull, move forward!

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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