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.

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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 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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