A balancing act.


A balancing act – Should you live your life trying to avoid every painful moment? What if they are necessary? In this article, find out why I think they are.

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Ah life. An amazing universal power we have been gifted with. Yet, at the same time, we are prone to pain and struggle. And so far as I’m concerned, that’s what makes it beautiful.

Just think about the pain you’ve endured throughout the course of your life. Is it not possible that the act of suffering can be used as a way to enhance your life? A deeper question is, what would happiness be if all you felt was happy? Sure, the absence of pain would obviously be nice, but would you ever feel the power behind true love, accomplishment when you finally got your degree, or nostalgia when your family gathers around the table for a meal?

Why you never find happiness

Indeed, how would you know? In my view we need to implement a balancing act in order to maximize what happiness can offer. In other words, a constant state of happiness would stunt its own potential. Therefore, mental anguish is the boost we need to realize said potential.

Case in point

When I was a firefighter, I saw pain at its height, both physically and mentally. A tragic reality that millions endure worldwide. In my case, those critical incidents followed me home, haunted my dreams, and left me with Emergency Service PTSD. A reality that I can’t shake.

Nevertheless, I have, in some unexpected way, found that the misery it produces helps me embrace life. In other words, if it weren’t for the fact that I have lived it, I would not truly appreciate the frailty of life. The gift of life is unbelievably fragile. It really can be gone in seconds.

While unpleasant to hear and even more unpleasant to witness, I am, in a sense, grateful for the experience. Obviously, I wish the outcomes would have been different, I nonetheless, need to extricate what good I can out of them.

Now that I am a veteran and no longer answer the call, I can better appreciate the importance of those I love. In other words, the darkest periods of my fire service days have given me the ability to stop, say I love you, and make the effort to connect. Something I would have neglected otherwise.

See, misery can be transformative, pain is important, and we can live because of it.

When my mental health shut me down, the very things that altered my life forever, helped give me the strength to do whatever it takes to make the best of my life. PTSD, depression, and anxiety don’t have to be death sentences, rather, they can be, ironically, lifesaving.

An anxiety disorder could save your life.

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Finally, work through your pain and as you heal ask yourself, how can I use the darkest days of my life to maximize happiness down the road? I think what you will find is, while it can be a balancing act, every second of your life, good and bad, is relevant.

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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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