I can see the light!

Finally, after all these years of fighting depression and PTSD, I can see the light! It may be a pin-sized ray of light, but it’s a start.

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Ah, depression and PTSD, a metaphorical building collapse, leaving just enough room to survive. For years, I’ve been trapped here, in between the two disorders, begging someone to save me. That was until I realized – I need to help myself.

A good way to think about my therapists is that rescuer, standing outside the void, talking me down from near devastating panic attacks, providing me with the tools to stay alive…. Cognitive-behaviour therapy, mindfulness and so on.

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A fitting analogy really, considering I feel like I have a skyscraper sitting on my chest. And – while my psychologist is a pro at what she does – it’s still my battle, still up to me to fight… With the Ebb And Flow of these disorders, I know that there will be times when I want to let the illness “take me.”

But… Being one who has faced unsurmountable odds, in my fire-service career, I am not one who gives up easily. Although, I must admit, it took me a long time to understand that I am just as worthy as saving as anyone else. This, believe it or not, was an exceedingly difficult resolution to come to.

Read: When PTSD catches up

With that said, I am growing tired and weary, and am increasingly lonelier and more isolated the longer I remained wedged in between the ruble, this hell-hole of a mess that I once called my life.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Thankfully, I can see the light! As I fill my life full of therapy, exercise, and purpose, I inch my way closer to wellness. None of which would be possible without all the wonderful people who inspire me to keep going.

So, I can see the light because of, as I said, the support I have, both personal and professional.

How does this apply to you? Well, if you are living with someone who is suffering from a mental illness, be their number one fan, cheer them on and help them get what they need to thrive. However, if you are the sufferer, please know that you are worth the self-rescue. In other words, do what you need to do to fight for your life. You and all those who support you deserve to live again.

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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.

One thought on “I can see the light!

  1. My own experience has revealed that notable high-scoring adverse childhood experience trauma resulting from a highly sensitive and low self-confidence introverted existence, amplified by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder, can readily lead an adolescent to a substance-abuse/self-medicating disorder, including via food. It’s what I consider to be a perfect-storm condition with which I greatly struggle(d), yet of which I was not aware until I was a half-century old. I believe that if one has diagnosed and treated such a formidable condition when one is very young he/she will be much better able to deal with it through life.

    I understand that my brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It’s like a discomforting anticipation of ‘the other shoe dropping’ and simultaneously being scared of how badly I will deal with the upsetting event, which usually never transpires. Though I’ve not been personally affected by the addiction/overdose crisis, I have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety to have known and enjoyed the euphoric release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC. The self-medicating method I utilized during most of my pre-teen years, however, was eating.

    The lingering emotional/psychological pain from PTSD is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, such as paralysis, a missing limb or eye, all of which tends to elicit sympathy or empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit. Any resultant addiction is likely his/her attempt at silencing the anguish of PTSD symptoms through substance abuse.

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