Finding Meaning.

What does it take to find meaning when suffering from a mental illness? Well, in a word, action – but there’s more to finding meaning than that – find out what.

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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When I say I’m on the road to mental wellness, some people envision this road as a nice, smooth journey. However, this is not the case, at least not for me. You may find it helpful to picture a road that is being carved out as I go. I am, after all, the pioneer in my own life’s story.

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This is equally true of your own road to wellness. Despite this fact, there are so many people frozen by the negative speak of their mental illness. This reality keeps them running around in their own cul-de-sac of depression and anxiety. but fear not, it’s by no means a dead-end street.

As a matter of fact, we all have the capacity to build new roads, to move forward and better our lives. Although action will always be required, it’s aimless if we don’t have a goal to strive towards. In other words, finding meaning will, by its nature, propel us forward.

But how does one find meaning in a sea of mental pain? Well, the most effective way is to actively explore the limitless options. Don’t feel like it? Feel flat and indifferent? That’s the mental illness talking. Now, you have exposed it for the liar that it is. For example, depression makes millions feel like life is worthless. However, is this really true, even if it “feels” that way? Personally, I don’t think so. Not when you consider life’s limitless possibilities.

How to know if you may have depression.

I’m not suggesting that depression is a choice – far from it. What I am saying is that a choice not to fight is. In other words, if your mental health has severely impacted your everyday life, and you’re missing work a lot etc., you may have an illness. Recognizing this yet doing nothing about it is a choice.

So, if we do have some power to choose, how the heck do we do it? Firstly, I suggest you look at it from a medical perspective. Depression is a health condition that, like any other, needs medical attention.

Therefore, the first step is to see a doctor or mental-health professional. I mean, you would never let your arm dangle in the wind if broken. Rather than just enduring the pain, you would do whatever it took to get well, right?

To emphasize the importance of action: depression and many other mental-health conditions need immediate professional care. So, regardless of the pain, be kind to yourself and get the help you need to ease the pain.

The neurobiology of depression

Once one finds the help, they need they have – as far as I am concerned – started their way to wellness and thus, are on their way to finding meaning.

Catalyst for finding meaning when mentally ill.

  • Firstly, if you are spending way more time avoiding everyday life than living it, it will always be worth acknowledging that this is not normal. It’s best to see this as a sign that you may need help
  • See your doctor or mental health professional.
  • If found to have a mental illness, the following is recommended.
    • Try medications. Despite the bad rap they often get, they have helped many. It’s worth a shot.
    • See a therapist on a regular basis. You will find one that works for you.
    • Change what you eat. There is a ton of data out there that shows a correlation between whole foods and their mood-boosting powers.
    • Exercise. Again, the data has shown repeatedly, the mental health benefits of exercise… Walking, for example, is a “wonder drug.” Moving is another nature’s medication.
Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Why this all matters.

Lastly, we need to talk about why this all matters. Firstly, the above-mentioned list: if followed, it will start to improve how you feel. Feeling better is fundamental to finding meaning in your life. Why? Because when we take steps to better our plight in life, we increase the brain chemicals that make us feel better, Exercise, for example, increases blood flow to the brain and thus increases brain function.

A better-functioning brain can come with more energy and because of it, it can make you strong enough to find meaning and purpose. Our goal is to life a fulfilled and meaningful existence, not to concede to the debilitating effects of mental illness.

Now, you have a plan – implement it, and create your own road to mental wellness.

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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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