Forever in the moment

The Road To Mental Wellness > Opinion piece > Forever in the moment

Forever in the moment – Is it really true that our mental pain will never end, or does it just feel that way?

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Hey, you, are you going through a dark period? Maybe a depressive episode, or perhaps you’re so anxious that you are near panic? Feels like forever in the moment, doesn’t it? Well, thankfully there’s good news – nothing lasts forever.

But in the moment of a depressive episode, we feel absolutely trapped. Not only do we feel trapped, but we also feel like surrendering. After all, we’ve been in this dark hell so many times, giving up seems logical.

Here’s the thing, When Depression Speaks, we fall under its spell, and it happens over and over. So, then, what does this tell us? Well, to me it says we aren’t forever in the moment of pain, rather it comes and goes. Especially if we don’t understand that we are held back from joy by it. Although for many, their mental health condition waxes and wanes, it nonetheless sees moments of improvement.

And it’s this improvement that’s important. Why? Because it shows us that permanency is a myth. This holds true for any of the feelings – happy, anger, sadness, and so on.

Signs you’re starting to feel better mentally.

Think back to a time when you were so happy you thought to yourself, “I never want this moment to end.” Maybe it’s the date that brought you and your partner together, or you held your sleepy child in your arms as you were both drifting off to sleep.

As much as we wanted times like these to never end, we, nonetheless, know they will come to an end. Moreover, we seem to understand that while we are in these very special moments, we need to be present while in them. That’s why we feel all warm and fuzzy while lying next to our loved one for example.

Why, though? Why is it we understand the best moments in our lives are temporary, yet in our moments of absolute despair, we fail to see that the same is true?

Well, in my view, the answer is both simple and complex. Firstly, It’s the level of pain. Pain, whether it be physical or mental, is designed to keep you in the moment so you can free yourself from its cause. Or keep you from repeating the thing that caused it in the first place.

But more than that, when it comes to mental pain, it depends on brain chemistry optimization among other things. Things like inflammation, alterations to certain areas of the brain and so on.

Perhaps one of the most significant factors, at least from a neurological perspective, is that we are wired to prioritize negative experience. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that we find ourselves too consumed by our pain to see that the storms pass.

Are we wired to prioritize negativity?

Dread is like a weight that drowns us; angst is the great distractor, and sadness, the final defeat. And just like the warm and fuzzies, its intense, only in the opposite direction. It’s no wonder we feel like there is no end in sight.

Fear not my friends, to one degree or another, moments come to an end. To what degree is the question. It’s true that some with depression are living a life of misery – especially those with treatment resistant depression.

However, I believe that we need to make the seemingly little wins a much bigger deal. Why? Because they are! While we may feel like we are forever in the moment, glimpses of light do happen. They happen when we get up and are finally able to greet the day; when we go for coffee with a friend after a long bout of depressive isolation; and when we find ourselves laughing for the first time in days.

Stop by my podcast #thewellnesstalks and give me a follow

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, you see that while it may seem like we are forever in the moment of despair, we are in fact not. Rather, we are in varying degrees of pain. Argo, we are not truly in the forever grip of the most intense moments in our lives.

When we learn to recognize this, a process one can learn through therapy, we can learn to embrace the better days instead of registering them as the same level of mental discomfort.

What to look for in a good therapist.

Finally, your newfound awareness can serve as a catalyst for a faster recovery time and thus, a better quality of life for you. Today is the best time to get the help you deserve – good luck!

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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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