is it really important?

Is it really important to find out the cause of your mental distress? What if we chose to minimize it in the moment instead?

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When I wake up with an overpowering sense of dread, I always ask myself, “Where is this coming from?” And from there, I get on my hamster wheel and start running through all the possibilities. “Did I have a nightmare? Was I triggered by something subconsciously? Did I piss someone off?”

When one has an anxiety disorder like PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder, one’s thoughts are hazardous. What’s worse, our fantasies feel real. Not good!

But you know, what if I stopped the relentless search for what causes my fear and instead, embraced it? What?! Not look for the cause? How are you going to heal? A question I’ve heard before.

Here’s the thing: that unidentified angst I am experiencing is not the root cause. Rather, it’s a symptom of whatever source blessed me with the dual anxiety issues. So, from where I sit, is it really important to figure out why you’re feeling scared, smothered and so overwhelmed that you run from a room? Well, from my perspective, the answer is no.

Photo by cottonbro on – Is it really important to find out the cause of your mental distress?

Now, that’s not to say that you should never identify your triggers or for that matter, ignore them. Sometimes, they are worth noting so that you can determine your window of tolerance. We do after all, need to customize our lives so that they maximize or quality of life.

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With that said, I believe that it’s more important to add coping tools to your repertoire. Tools like mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing, and mediation. All take time to master, but are worth their weight in gold. What’s more, is that they, thankfully, make finding an impossible reason irrelevant.

If learning these skills seems like a drag, here’s another way of thinking about it. When you think about it, how much time do you waste ruminating on the “why” of an anxious episode? I would bet the farm that it’s tons of time.

I often say, “We get to choose where we put our energy.” In other words, we can choose to put it into proven ways to heal and or minimize our heavy dread. Again, is it really important to find out the cause of your mental distress, or to work to make the “feeling” dissipate?

At the end of the day, it should be, so far as I am concerned, about maximizing your quality of life. But to do that, we must learn how to embrace the illness and find was of getting through the tougher moments.


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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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