The sanctuary of earphones.

The sanctuary of earphones. If I didn’t have my earbuds I’d fall victim to PTSD more often than I do.

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Let’s face it, our world is a very noisy place. Nowadays everything beeps, rings or can play a video. And as if that weren’t enough, all the traffic, the large trucks, motorbikes, and overly loud mufflers never stop. All this commotion can do a number on one’s nerves. Or for some of us, can exacerbate our mental-health conditions.

In my case, PTSD and Its Startle Response can make modern living almost intolerable. Despite being scared out of my skin on a constant basis, I do my best. Sometimes through, “my best” is to stay out of the chaos for a reset.

Why is this so? Well, PTSD has primed me to always be on alert. This constant, “on guard” for danger is an eternal hell that is tormented by the noise of the world. Even the seemingly insignificant noise, a clang of a dish or a slam of a door can be all it takes. Consequently, I jump. The next unpredictable sound? I jump. Like carbon monoxide, these constant jarring encounters build until I am symptomatic and too sick to be in public.

While it’s not easy to integrate into this overly-loud planet, I refuse to be defeated by the post-traumatic alarm bells that never stop ringing. So, despite having to make a hurried retreat at times from society, I always come back to the frontlines and have a go at life once more.

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Thankfully, this venture back into the man-made jungle is made easier with the right tools. Firstly, I cope because of the sanctuary of earphones. Let’s face it, the world is never going to accommodate people like me, I mean, how can it? Therefore, tools like my earbuds allow me to dampen down life’s volume.

But this is far from the only tool out there. For example, the following list of things have helped me inch closer to my wellness goals.

  • Diet – eating your veggies and clean meats can optimize your blood sugar, making the world more tolerable
  • Exercise – can increase blood flow to the brain and boost mood, and thus tolerance to one’s surroundings.
  • Sleep – Arguably the single most important thing for mental health. Not only does it restore the mind and body, but it also helps you lose weight.
  • Mindfulness – Learning to live in the moment, to breathe and make yourself aware of what you are doing in the now can help you tolerate the unexpected noise of the community.
  • Therapy This should always be included in your wellness journey. A good therapist can use their skills to call attention to your triggers and help you build the skillsets to navigate the world. One example is cognitive behavioural therapy

What is cognitive behavioural therapy

  • Medication – Lastly but no less important is medications. The data is clear on the use of drugs as a mental illness treatment. While it may not work for everyone, I have seen it make a difference, and not only in my own journey; I’ve witnessed its positive effects on others.

With all these interventions, I’m still grateful for the sanctuary of my earphones

It really is unfortunate.

Even though there is little we can do to mute the world to our mental-wellness benefit, we can use the above to help us get back to living our lives. However, if the world becomes too much for you and your need to be in a crowded place, the following may help.

  • Ask if they can set you in the quietest spot possible.
  • Ask if they can turn down the music, TVs etc. Too much noise is overwhelming.
  • If there is a quiet room you can escape to, don’t ever fear excusing yourself for a few moments.
  • The sanctuary of earphones if by yourself can be a lifesaver – use ’em!
  • Close your eyes and take a moment to breath deep, in through the nose and slowly out through the mouth. You need it, so don’t worry about what others think.
Earbuds are an amazing tool to have at the ready when the world becomes too much. – Ah, The sanctuary of earphones.

Lastly, please try to be kind to yourself. If you are trying all these things and still end up not being able to cope, it’s okay. What’s most important is, you keep working on healing as you travel down the road to mental wellness. – you got this!

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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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