The gifts that matter most

The Road To Mental Wellness > Christmas > The gifts that matter most

The gifts that matter most – The one gift we never give enough thought into, and it is the most important gift of all.

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As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that there are only a few gifts that matter. My children, my parents and sister, finding the love I need, and inner peace.

For years, I slaved myself to death trying to obtain items people really wanted. Moreover, I was following the socially-laid-out expectations that said, “You need things to be happy.” Well, at almost 47 years old, I have destroyed myself chasing this lie. And chances are, so have you.

So, now I do my best to live for the human experience – which is to say, that I live for the moments I am given with those that matter most.

Yet, as happy as I am to have finally realized what’s truly important, I still struggle with one thing: how to realize that my own life is a gift to those who love me. In other words, they all have an emotional investment in my well-being.

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As far as I’m concerned, our loved ones are the perfect reason to maximize our mental health. However, as true as this may be, I need to evaluate how far I’ve come. And frankly, so do you.

In my life as a helper, I have spent a lifetime putting others first. So, it’s no surprise that I have thought of my family having an emotional investment in my wellness. Despite this being true, I have recently been reflecting on the challenges that almost did me in.

While they still haunt me – nightmares and depression, for example – I am in a better place today. As it turns out, fighting like hell to beat mental illness does pay off in the long run. At least, in the interim.

Nowadays, I have my own place, something I didn’t have for years. A lifesaver for more reasons than you might think. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping me warm and dry, it has also been the best medication to quell the symptoms of PTSD.

Some of the key features of PTSD are hypervigilance, nightmares, irritability among others. Since moving into my apartment, my symptoms have abated. My nightmares are less, and I can integrate into society more comfortably because my startle response is dulled down. Dulled down enough for me not to be jumping at every little noise.

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In short, I have a place of refuge. I can go home and rest, I can recharge, and then I can brave the world again.

So, compared to where I was a year ago – i.e., ready to end it all – I am wildly successful. For now, I am winning the war, and that, my friends, is amazing.

And so are you! How do I know? Well, because you are reading this, for starters. You are here and making it through, one step at a time. How amazing that is, can’t be understated

Author Jonathan Arenburg on the cover of his book, The Road To Mental Wellness

When I went off work because of PTSD, I was left in limbo while I waited to see if I would be awarded Workers Compensation. It was long and painful, hanging in the darkness of my home.

So, I began to try and figure out this PTSD thing; how did I get here? I was a firefighter, so I knew that much but my battled with anxiety and depression was a life-long battle.

I began to write out my story, mostly to help quell the angst of being lonely and in mental illness purgatory. It helped – immensely. I survived the dark because of it.

Now, it’s here – written for therapeutic intervention and published in hopes that it can do the same for you or someone you know…..

So, this is your major gift this year, I mean what can be more amazing than the gift of life? Keep going, keep fighting and most importantly, live for two things. Those who love you, and for those moments that bring you peace and joy – for they are the gifts that matter most. – Merry Christmas everyone!

Read Work in progress! by @parikabhatli (Parika Bhatli)

With the obtainment of peace comes all the joy you’ve always dreamed of.

–          Jonathan Arenburg
Author of The Road To Mental Wellness.

The gifts that matter most – Copyright, 2022

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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