The Guilt of the Living

What the guilt of the living are missing in the equation is the fact that we need connection – all of us.

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Trending hash tags: #theroadtomentalwellness #thewellnesstalkspodcast #theroadtomentalwellnessthebook #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #jonathanarenburg #depression #PTSD

Don’t judge me. While I may only be 46 years old, I’ve lived an entire life. And despite not being able to work any longer, I’m still a human being – I am still worth something. Yet despite this, I feel as though the world is judging me. And in some instances, there have been those who have; condemning me for what they see, me sitting on my ass.

What those who choose to judge me don’t see, is the entire lifetime of violence, death and destruction, physical, verbal and sexual assaults that have taken place over the last two and a half decades of my life. Not to mention losing everything I have more than once.

Like so many of my kin in the emergency services, I’ve paid a price for my service. Essentially, I sacrificed my mental well-being so that those around me may live a better life – or at least did my best to minimize other people’s pain

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Whether that be on the fireground or sitting with a dying client, I did my best to ease the suffering over those who came face-to-face with tragic circumstance. I mean, don’t we all deserve that much? I’ve always held the belief that our job here on earth is to make the world a better place. This was a principle I spent my entire adult life living by. On top of all that, I have done my best to help others by sitting down one on one, listening.

But let’s be honest. Many of us who endeavour to try to stop wounds from bleeding and mental pain from festering, do so because of our own pain. So, in that sense, I guess it’s being done for selfish reasons…?

Or perhaps it’s not selfishness that compels us, but rather, a desire to effect more peace upon the world. Whatever the case, I don’t regret a single moment. Despite my own mental-health decline as a result of it all, I see it as a privilege.

In fact, it has been so woven into the fabric of my being, that I literally can’t see any other way to be. However, trying to make the world a better place when you’re suffering with PTSD is difficult, to say the least.

So here I am: I’m fortunate enough to have a home to call my own, and that much I am grateful for. Yet, the rooms seem hollow and with the exception of my own breath, it’s lifeless. Please don’t get me wrong, I require solitude. But with most things in life, there are good and bad aspects. To be clear, when depression speaks, it doesn’t diminish my gratitude. Therefore, I need people to understand that one can still feel this way and be happy for what one has.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - It’s been a month!
Find out more below – Written for therapeutic release, published in hopes it helps you.

Yes, my life took an unexpected turn, and yes, I am aware that PTSD is a serious mental illness. One that can’t be cured overnight – but damn, I feel useless. And as if that weren’t enough, the world has laid mental illness at the tip of its tongue, but there it remains. Like a word or name that just can’t be recalled.

As far as I can tell, the only ones concerned for the sufferers are the sufferers themselves. Not a good plan, considering all of us know someone who is ill.

So, I guess the world will judge me, and it will see me as a broken man; a man with nothing to offer. With the exception of this blog and maybe my book. Hey, at least I’ve left a legacy.

If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

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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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