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 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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