Yesterday I finally discovered what drives me towards my desire to help others. My profound sense of sadness.
Jonathan Arenburg (Owner and Chief content creator for The Road To Mental Wellness) 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).
Yesterday, I stopped in to see a good friend at their workplace. Our conversations are deeply intellectual. They are packed full of social concerns and potential remedies for the most pressing problems we face.
During our conversation, I happened to mention that I was going to discontinue writing posts at theroadtomentalwellness.com in the coming months, citing financial concerns and lack of readership among other things. She looked at me and asked, “What are you going to do next?” I thought about her question for a moment and finally uttered the word – “nothing.”
After a long pause, I said, “I guess I’d like to focus on maybe writing another book,” I suggested. Throughout the course of our conversation, I kept thinking, “I just want to stop trying to help others.” After all, it’s something I’ve done all my life, so maybe I should look at my permanent disability as retirement? Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about the woes of the world; maybe it’s time I rest.
Let me tell you, when one makes a career of helping others and it’s all they know, where do they go from there? This question keeps echoing in my head. So, it seems that I may have a bit of an obsession for helping others because as I am working on “retiring,” I am still looking for ways to help. So, should I or shouldn’t I, that is the question. Man, I don’t know!
After a discussion on the state of health care, I suddenly found myself blurting out, “I just want to do something big for the world,” followed by, “I feel like I am meant to do something big – something meaningful.” To which she replied, “What, like a calling? Some people have a narcissistic lean that way. I know that’s not the case with you,” she added. She followed her question up with, “What drives you? Like you feel you have a higher calling?” I went silent for a moment, then felt a pinch of sadness bubble up from the bottom of my guts.
It was this feeling that forced out my reasons for wanting to make a difference. I answered, “For me, it’s driven by a profound sense of sadness.” What a revelation for me. I had never thought about it before, but suddenly, I had the answer for what drives my incessant need to help others. In a nutshell, I want to minimize and bring attention to the totality of human suffering. I know, I know, it’s a tall order. Nonetheless, that’s what I’ve been bent on doing for all of my life.
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We all suffer, therefore, what does it matter how? Rather, how do we find solutions to move forward as a nation, as a world, as a species? All I know is, our current attempts to ease the burdens of people don’t seem to be working. Perhaps we are too fractionated, maybe there are too many groups, or maybe people just aren’t the priority. Whatever the case, much of the suffering is ignored. And I find this heartbreaking. That’s why it made sense to me to tackle some of our biggest problems in society. Hence the creation of The Road To Mental Wellness.
My goal with this mental health blog was to unite people through mental health. Mental health conditions are, after all, global illnesses. So, I thought, “What a perfect way to highlight our commonalities, not our differences.” I wanted to tackle the biggest issues. Issues like public health and mental health care, for example.
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These have been my areas of focus because they have the biggest impacts on us – especially if we let them disintegrate. But alas, it seems as though there are too few people who see the repercussions for everyone if we don’t act now. Sadly, individualism has taken an absolute priority over the needs of the nation, and it’s this phenomenon that blinds us all. But I digress. So, perhaps it is time for me to retire and ironically, focus on myself.
While it pains me to do so, the fight is no longer mine to take on. I like the saying, “every dog has its day.” I like it because I think it sums up my current lot in life perfectly. Thank you to all who have made my road to mental wellness so much better. From the amazing people in my life to the continuous readers here. It’s been amazing.
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I am rooting for you all,
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Delve into the profound narrative of Jonathan Arenburg’s intimate dance with an unseen devil – mental illness. As a young child of four, his innocuous obsession with holding doors open for others might have unknowingly opened a door to a chilling adversary that nearly shattered his life, and undeniably altered its course forever. This invisible enemy, this lurking beast, if it had taken a physical form with claws, fiery breath, and predatory eyes, he believes he would have bolted the door shut even at such a tender age. Yet, it remained unseen, its true form shrouded in the shadows of the unknown.
Curious about this captivating journey? Jonathan Arenburg invites you to traverse the treacherous terrains of his mental health journey, marked by anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His tale is a gripping account, an essential read regardless of whether you grapple with these afflictions yourself or not. Increasing our understanding of these conditions is vital. It’s the first step towards creating change – for us, for our family, friends, and colleagues.
Kaitlyn Walker, an ardent reader, shares her thoughts:
“Exceptionally written, highly motivational, and thought-provoking! The author’s lived experiences paint a vivid picture in your mind, captivating you as he guides you through his journey. The narrative is laced with hope, tenacity, and a testament to the raw strength required to navigate mental health. This book is a potent illustration of the power in owning your mental health journey.”