You didn’t ask for PTSD

While it may be difficult for you to accept, you must remember, you didn’t ask for PTSD. It’s not your fault and that’s just a fact.

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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Yesterday, I ran into an old work colleague of mine, and it was a moment I am grateful for. How the gratitude came to light after I, as always, made a plug for my book The Road To Mental Wellness. (See what I did there?)

Whenever I mention my book, PTSD inevitably comes up in the conversation. And while many simply don’t understand the complexities of trauma, my former colleague was an exception. He has gone through his own challenges. Chief among them is being a supporter of someone close in his family.

Upon hearing his story, I felt it necessary to check-in with him: “How are you doing with it all? I know that many people who are the supporters get lost in the wave of trauma. Much to my delight, he said he was doing well, thanks to therapy. “When you love someone, you do your best to work through it.” he said happily.

When he said this with the upmost love and conviction, I immediately became conflicted. On one hand, it warmed my heart to see this tall, imposing figure of a man stick by his partner’s side; on the other, I was hit with a tidal wave of sadness.

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Even though I tried to fight it, the sadness emerged the victor. Despite doing my best to be attentive, I found myself blurting out, “I don’t deserve that!” I quickly followed it with, “I’d only ruin it.”

What happen next set me back a bit. He looked at me, straight in the face and said, “Don’t ever say that it’s your fault you have PTSD.” Despite his attempts to make it clear, I remained unconvinced. Though I struggled to believe him, he continued, “You didn’t ask for PTSD, it’s something that happened to you.” An amazing perspective considering the challenges trauma can present to the affected partner.

“You didn’t ask for PTSD.” This seemingly insignificant sentence has plagued me ever since it left his lips. As a result, I keep hearing me whisper, “You know, he’s right.” I mean, he’s factually correct. My PTSD was earned with distinction.

Mainly, the trouble with trauma all started in the years I spent as a firefighter. I know this to be evident, moreover, I know, on a logical level that it’s not but…… but I’m hurting too much for the visible part of my brain to win out.

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Regardless, I need to absorb this and embrace this, you didn’t ask for PTSD, statement. Maybe I deserve love after all? Yes, I do deserve to be love – thanks old friend.

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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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