In life, do whatever it takes

Having spent many years in the #emergencyservices, I know first-hand what hard choices are. Sometimes, in life, you have to do whatever it takes. Here’s what I’ve learned.

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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Having spent many years in the #emergencyservices, I know first-hand what hard choices are. When it comes to life and death, one doesn’t have the luxury to avoid what lies before them.

In fact, if one was to ever decide against going against the odds, they would most certainly face disciplinary action. I mean, could you imagine one of us saying, “I’m not preforming CPR on that guy”? Even though we wanted to turn and run at times, we all understood that our purpose was to make order out of chaos. So, we accepted that in our profession, our lives may be on the line.

We simply accepted the risk. We did so knowing that, sometimes, life doesn’t care how we felt, and that some things are bigger than us. Therefore, we must do “whatever it takes.”

Read Putting out the main fire

“Do whatever it takes.” A mantra, and dare I say a necessity? My years in the #fireserivce have taught me some of the most invaluable life lessons. And man, I am ever so grateful. While I have struggled with my own mental health for years, it’s this four-word sentence that has kept me going.

Yes, I owe my survival to the “life doesn’t care how you think it should go” as well; life just does what it does. What’s more, is that the tough times we run up against can be made worse by the choices we make. Or the ones we don’t.

For example, I didn’t ask to be taken down by PTSD, yet I can’t expect inaction to make it better either. They say time heals all wounds, a statement I solidly disagree with. Rather, I feel that it’s what you do that heals you over time that makes the difference.

In crisis? Go to Crisis Services Canada

In my book, The Road To Mental Wellness, I talk about the knockdown, drag-out fight I’ve had with mental illness. Don’t get me wrong – there were times when I was too sick to fight, but all and all, I have been given er hell. Feeling exhausted? Don’t worry, it’s your body and mind telling you, you need some #selfcare

However, in order to keep fighting, I had to accept that I couldn’t stay on my knees for long. After all, I had a life I wanted back, and a plan that only included avoidance wasn’t going to save me. Sadly, many have lost their battle while swimming in the sea of denial – preferring instead to let go and sink.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - Work in progress!
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With that said, I know that many others have fought the good fight and could no longer handle the relentless mental pain that eats at you day and night.

What I am saying is that we owe it to ourselves to fight until we can’t fight any longer. And when we can’t fight any longer? We fight to live for those we love. For they too, have a lot emotionally invested in our Well-being. We all need anchor points

Finally, you don’t have to be a firefighter to “do whatever it takes.” Do the following and keep doing whatever it takes to get them done:

  • Regulate your sleep
  • Eat a clean(er) diet
  • Therapy – go!
  • Exercise
  • Medications
  • Social interaction
  • Connection to others.
  • Stop the self-blaming
  • Learn the language of mental illness – When Depression Speaks.

“Never giving up means being consistent. Didn’t get to the gym for a few days? Go today. Doing whatever it takes + never giving up on yourself = slow and gradual success.

Jonathan Arenburg – Author of The Road To Mental Wellness

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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, #thewellnesstalks He 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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