I Need To Keep Trying

So here I am, finding myself starting yet another medication. Although this is but one of many I have willingly subjected myself to, I need to keep trying. I am hopeful that the chemical compound contained within the latest capsule will bring me some relief.

At this juncture, I have lost count of how many pharmaceuticals I have tried; all I know is that they have all proven to be ineffective. With each failed attempt comes a feeling of disappointment, but despite that, I must carry on.

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Now, on this latest round, one I just started two days ago; I can say that my chemistry handles the initial stages of a new med pretty well the same. These new meds, sedate me and immerse my mind in a thick blanket of brain fog.

Medications used to treat mental illness.

Normally, I find the initial introduction quite debilitating and difficult to deal with; because I feel useless and like and even bigger burden to my loved ones. However, I remind myself that it is meant to quell the depression and PTSD so that I may return amongst the living.

I Need To Keep Trying

You may be asking yourself why I put myself through one failed attempt after another? Well, I remember what it was like to be functional enough to enjoy life on a more consistent scale. Since losing the long battle with the post-traumatic symptoms, I have not been able to do so.

Also, I have a bit of built-in stubborn streak that I have had with me all my life so as long as I’m alive I plan to win the war. When you think about it, no matter how bad things get, as long as you are alive, you have the opportunity to get better.

Want to hear more stories from people like you? Go to A New Dawn Podcast

So, with that said, I shall overcome this medication hurtle and hope for the best. You know what they say; If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Please, if you feel like giving up, don’t. I do understand the feeling of; “what’s the point” but the truth is, there’s always a reason to keep fighting. Do what it takes to beat your mental illness. in the moment and one pill at a time.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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New Hope A New Medication

New hope New Medication

As this week comes to its conclusion, I look back to see that it has been a busy one. Most notable are the appointments I’ve has with my mental health professionals; resulting in some pretty psychologically taxing moments. This week, I walk away with a potential new therapy and new hope a new medication.

firstly, I had my psychologist’s appointment at the beginning of the week; read about it here; My Latest Session. Secondly, I found myself sitting across from my psychologist.

Despite seeing two people on my mental health team in one week, I made it through relatively unscathed; this, as many of my readers know, is normally hell on my mental well being.

What’s great about my latest experience going down the road to mental wellness is how seemingly productive it has been. Moreover, I can’t help but be grateful that it all just came together so nicely.

You may recall in an earlier blog post entitled Medication-At an Impasse where I discuss what was essentially the end of the road pharmaceutically. As sad as this may be, my psychiatrist agreed to keep seeing me and encouraged me to keep going to therapy.

It turns out that I am glad that I was able to keep booking with the psychiatrist because this week she provided me with a dash of hope.

As it turns out, there is one more drug that I can take. As a result, uncovered by their diligence, the psychiatrist laid out this option, its pros and cons and how to introduce it into my treatment plan.

Effectiveness of pharmacuital treatments for depression.

Although I am naturally hesitant to take yet another medication and endure its potential side effect; I am, however, elated. As a consequence, relief came flooding over me.

A new Hope A new Medication
A New Hope A New Medicatiion

So, despite my hesitation; I agree and as the details are explained to me, I discover that it is for the treatment of depression. Hearing the words, “It’s for Depression”. After hearing that, it added to my sense of happiness and thus, providing me with new hope.

Moreover, I feel, for the first time in a very long time that I am going to beat this Anxiety, depression and PTSD. With that said, I will be happy if it puts me in the well-managed category.

What should be included in your wellness plan

So, what has my journey taught me thus far? Well, there are going to be moments of debilitation, feelings of heaviness and despair and even though can’t see an end, keep going. Nothing lasts forever, including depressive episodes, moments of anxiety and feeling of dread.

Perhaps the best advice I can give is this; if you have a treatment plan and the mental health professionals to help you, keep going and don’t let despair deter you from getting better. You can do this!

In closing let me just say this; if you are having a difficult time getting in to get the help you need, push for your right to get well. I have gone in and bugged them, I have fought or it because I understood that I was fighting for my life. Perhaps, like me, you can find new hope, a new medication.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

My Latest Session

Latest Session

As the new year gets underway, I am feeling grateful to be in a state of mental illness remission. currently, I am enjoying clearer skies and thus a happier disposition. For me, the happier, the more mentally strong I am. This disposition helped in my latest session.

And, It couldn’t have come at a better time for me because yesterday I landed in my therapist’s office for the first session of the year. I felt like I was ready to tackle some of my most haunting experiences; those that gave birth to my PTSD and exacerbate my depression.

I still have a way to travel before my road to mental wellness reaches smoother, less difficult terrain. We explore this in my latest session.

From the moment I landed in the chair, It was go time! I was ready. to tackle whatever came my way and as a result, it was a great session.

It’s in these moments when I am enjoying a reprieve from the dark and depressive states that I stand firm; my determination to beat my demons shines. I can beat this! I am the one in control and I will win the day!

Common theraputic tools for PTSD

although I walked in like a warrior, I would be lying if I told you that the forty-five-minute dive into my mental pain was a walk in the park. In fact, the opposite is true because the therapist started to dig at my most severe triggers; those incidents that had changed my life forever.

Taking me back on a trip through my mind, I was triggered, I became symptomatic and my fight or flight mode was telling me to run for my life. Although I dislike feeling numb and care less for the flashbacks, I must stand tall, I must conquer this pain. If I am to have any sort of life, the uncomfort zone is where I must venture. Whether I like it or not, it’s irrelevant.

Symptoms of PTSD

Up until this last session, we have been working with mindfulness in an attempt to steer me back into the present and minimize living in the past. For months, we have been working on my triggers and it has helped; when I am faced with low stimulus environments, I can navigate my way through the discomforts and manage the side effect.

“We have all made it through our toughest days, things have gotten better”.

Unfortunately, being exposed to the larger world for too long of a period can take me out; sometimes for days on end. So, clearly, I still have a way to travel before my road to mental wellness reaches smoother, less difficult terrain.

Latest Sessioon

My therapist recommended we try EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing; a type of therapy that a technique used by a trained psychologist to minimize the psychological stress of my traumas. Click the highlighted link to learn more on EMDR

Well then, What advice can I offer? Well, I think we have gotten so used to running away from, anything remotely uncomfortable, as a result, our go-to remedy has been avoidance. I know its tough, but if you step out of your comfort zone and brave your mental pain, you can then start to heal.

Stronger Than You Think

Stronger Than You Think

We, with mental illness, tend to always think we are weak but, is this really the case? Are we stronger than we think?

Since I started out on this mental health blogging adventure, I have met so many wonderful people. People from all over the world doing their best to help others through their mental illness by blogging and podcasts; by providing peer support and through their own bravery. I have also found this digital world very helpful at times. I have to say, you’re stronger than you think.

But, perhaps one of the most wonderful things for me is having others reach out to me for help. This is the ultimate reward because it does two things. It fills me with a great sense of honour and contributes to my healing, so thank you all who have reached out, I guess it makes the healing process mutual.

You’re an absolutely amazing bunch

While I will never understand why some people feel inspired by my writings, I am nonetheless blown away when I hear it roll off their tongues. Its nothing short of inspiring and it keeps me going. Sometimes, your kindness comes at a time when I need it most. As many of you are already aware, it is so hard to be consistent when you’re fighting a mental health condition.

Read my blog post: Inspired By You

Similarly, I am truly humbled by the number of people I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life. And, no matter how many times I hear about someone’s mental health journey, I am always blown away by their courage. It takes real strength to bare one’s soul to someone, especially face to face. To all of those who have overcome their fears to talk to me, I thank you for your trust.

Stronger Than You Think

How to talk to someone about your mental illness

So, here’s to all those who have braved their own battles. You’re an absolutely amazing bunch and are stronger than you ever thought possible. For those of you who are fighting moment by moment, remember, you have made it through every one of your toughest moments, not because you are weak but because you are strong. based on this alone, I know you will get through them all and see happier times once more.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Got Fooled Again

Fooled Again

Every time I feel free from mental illness, it comes roaring back and I end up being fooled again.

The dominating force that is mental illness is an indecisive old entity; cruel beyond measure; it teases with moments where you are free from its grasp; then, like that of the head torturer, it throws you back into your prison cell once it’s convinced you you are free. I knew in my heart that I was fooled again.

Since just before the new year, I have been enjoying the refreshing air of happiness. Believe me, I have been breathing it in; much like you would on a crisp fall evening. Sure, I could self-sabotage this inner peace but the last depressive episode was so intense, all I feel is relief.

It’s a reminder that mental illness still holds a firm grip over my ability to consistently live my life.

One area I have been successful in, in terms of my illness recovery is in the department of rumination. Although it tends to go to shit on all things PTSD related, I’m able to hold on to the morsels of happy that come my way.

However, I suck at is dealing with loud noises, people and sudden bangs or crashes. It’s just too much despite the ongoing efforts to learn mindfulness. I guess I have yet to harness its powers to the degree where I can handle it.

complete list of PTSD symptoms here

Looking back on this period of joy, I see that; after the holidays, everything returned to peace and quiet; the floodgates of relief opened because I felt safe. So, even though I wasn’t turning the corner on my healing journey, this moment was still worthy of my embrace. When on top of the world, I always secretly hope that something cured me of my disorders, fooled again.

the best advice I can give you is not to self-sabotage your happy

Just yesterday, I started to feel the push towards my cell, slowly overtaking me as I resume the everyday busy of life; being forced to reintegrate myself back into the fray of possible death and destruction. It’s a reminder that mental illness still holds a firm grip over my ability to consistently live my life.

Like what you are reading? try Learned to Think on the Fly

Got Fooled again

What keeps me from losing hope, from descending into depths too low to free myself is the moments of happiness. So, the best advice I can give you is not to self-sabotage your happy moments with thoughts that place you back in your cage; thoughts like “Today is going too well, how will that be ruined?” When we do that, we quickly find a reason to say I told me so.

“We get to choose where we put our energy”

John Arenburg.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Politics and Mental Illness

Politics and Mental Illness

Is politics bad for our mental health or is it our lack of engagement the issue? Maybe it’s both?

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, it should come as no surprise that we are navigating through very troubling times. The political landscape is such that it can easily cultivate new cases of mental illness. Similarly, it can exacerbate the symptoms of those who are already sick. Sad to say but politics and mental illness simply don’t mix.

More on politics and mental illness here

Although we tend to be passive participants in all things political, we still feel its sting regardless. On one hand, there is a sense that political decisions have little impact on our daily lives; but on the other, there is this pervasive feeling of dread that is being felt around the world. With that, comes a feeling of overwhelming depression for a lot of us.

Our mental health depends on it.

This collective of a sense of loss of control being experienced around the globe frightens a good many of us. Add fear and loss of control together and what do you end up with? You guessed it, Anxiety. For many, this will bloom into a clinically diagnosable anxiety disorder.

For me, the current affairs dominating our world today are a source of continuous fuel to my mental illness fire. Having PTSD, this turbulent era is very impactful on my mental health recovery.

We live in an age where death and destruction are everywhere. We need not even go looking for it now, it plays out before our eyes, whether you want to see it or not. we can thank social media for that. A better bulk of what is presented to us is a direct result of political actions or, perhaps just as troubling, their inactions.

It’s clear that politics affect every aspect of our lives, regardless of what we think; from budget cuts to social spending, to acts of war to environmental policy and you guessed it, our mental wellbeing. So, for the sake of our health, we need to work together to improve our world and thereby alleviating our anxiety and depression.

Check out my posts on Anxiety here

Our health and indeed our world needs us to act, to get involved. There are good people in politics, doing good things but they need our help. Please get involved. Our mental health depends on it.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

To New Beginnings

To New Beginnings

Heres to new beginnings and being honest with yourself.

Although the chapter that was 2019 has finally come to a close, My healing journey continues. So far, I have greeted the first days of 2020 with excitement and hope; hope that this year will come with the healing breakthrough that illuded me all last year. So, Here’s to new beginnings.

In my post; I crawled to the end, I talk about how slow my trek down the road to mental wellness has been. This is most definitely due to the discouragement that went hand and hand with the last year’s setbacks.

In my case, Post-traumatic stress disorder has overpowered my will.

Many of my posts contain how I have made it this far and what I do get through the toughest of times. A good diet and exercise have been essential players in my recovery; so too has psychotherapy and mindfulness. It’s my hope that by telling my story, the readers discover that they are not alone.

Ways to improve your mental illness symptoms

While my intention is to inspire others, it is also meant to be a therapeutic release for myself. Perhaps what I find most amazing is the inspiration I take from you all when you contact me and tell me your stories. Thank you for your help.

Its a new day, a new year and a new decade and with it comes new opportunities to get better

However, I feel that in order to start a new, I must first be honest with myself. Contained within the structure of truth must lay a resolve to fix what has set me off course.

Firstly, being honest with one’s self doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been lying to themselves; it’s more about putting into action what they know is best for them; yet, they do not. There can, of course, be for a multitude of reasons why. In my case, Post-traumatic stress disorder has overpowered my will. This has left me with many difficult days; its intensity has denied me the strength to put a plan in place to follow through with the things I know will improve my condition.

If I’m being honest, I have to say that I have struggled to follow my mental health care plan, with the overwhelming mental pain, came to a reduction in exercise and a move towards a poor diet. Moves that only exacerbated, not only the PTSD but also the depression and anxiety.

To new beginnings.

The good news? It’s a new day, a new year and a new decade; with it comes new opportunities to get better and live again. So, here’s to a new beginning, 365 days with the potential to change my life forever.

Remember, the year ahead of you is a blank slate, full of opportunity to recover; find what works for you and do it. There will be days where you can’t but there will be days when you will be able, it’s these days that will define your recovery. This is your year!

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

I Crawled to the End

Slow crawl

As 2020 draws to a close, I reflect on the slow progress and how I coped.

As we enter the last few days of 2019, I can’t help reflecting on the last twelve months. For me, it’s time to evaluate successes and re-live the fond memories made; its also a time to reflect on my mental wellness journey and what it looks like. it was a slow go but I crawled to the end.

Although there were some wonderful memories made and some great laughs with some good friends, it has been a year of slow progress and disappointments. In fact, in many ways, this has been the most unproductive year of my life.

Sadly, it turns out that my recovery from PTSD has been painfully slow and fraught full of challenges. Most notably is the ineffectiveness of the medications. I have a pre-existing medical condition and its treatment for it renders most SSRIs useless. So my pharmaceutical options were very limited. I am very grateful for the psychiatrist I have for all the time and effort that has gone into helping me.

Like what you are reading so far? Go here for more

It wasn’t all bad.

Despite zero signs of a return to normalcy any time soon, and a not so productive year, I have been trying. I have made a commitment not to sit here in my home and become consumed by my mental illness. Sure, there are days, even periods of time where I can’t leave but I will always get out there; its essential to any progress I make.

You have a choice where to put your energy.

I see progress as just that, progress and given the difficulty of my case, I’m pleased to be moving forward. Whether its been made in therapy, with mindfulness or putting plans in place to see a friend for coffee and a chat.

Looking back, I see that these things were how I survived the year; I even threw myself out there and helped with a political campaign. I learned a lot from doing this. One, I am not where I need to be to put myself back in the workforce; towards the end of it all, I was devoting less and less to it because my tolerance ran too thin. Another lesson I learned was that, when you brave the wild world we live in, there is almost always good that comes of it.

It works for me because I am the one driving the bus

Ok, so I wasn’t where I thought I was in terms of recovery. However, as a consequence, I made some wonderful friends; people I would have never have met if I had allowed the might of mental illness to completely consume me. As I always say, You have a choice where to put your energy. I take the risk, overcome my fear and do it and I don’t sweat it when I can’t. As long as I stay committed to getting better, I will always be able to follow through with plans at some point.

It works for me because I am the one driving the bus, if I can’t take on a task that day, I will tell people. I will make a meeting shorter or I will ask them if they mind meeting me in a quieter place.

So, if you have had a slow crawl to the end of this year, don’t despair. The good news is, you probably have forged memories and have moved in the right direction, no matter how slight it’s progress. May 2020 be your year, where you find more joy and less angst; less dark days and more sunny skies. You got this, just keep going down the road to mental wellness.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Need help? Go to Crisis Services Canada

Boxing Day Reflections

Boxing day reflections

This post, Boxing Day Reflections was written on boxing day, December 26, 2019

Wow, Christmas of 2019 has slipped into the history books, leaving a lifetimes worth of memories in its wake. For me, time with friends and family is my most treasured gift. although its only hours into the first day after the festivities; I have already begun to do some boxing day reflections.

Despite this, It’s hard to fathom just how fast it came and went; sometimes it feels like life is travelling at breakneck speed, sadly, it shows no signs of slowing down. All I want for next Christmas is more time with those I love.

Firstly, in order to accurately review the most wonderful day of the year, I need to go back in time. Approximately a month and a half to be precise. During this time, things were far from jolly. As you regular readers know, I went through one of the worst depressive episodes ever! One that I have not yet completely beaten.

Types of depressive episodes

The ferocity of this mind-numbing mental illness storm robbed me of the ability to feel any joy. So, when the Christmas day countdown commenced, my soul took a further beating from the sadness that compounded on top of pre-existing sad. I fell deeper into the depths of despair because I love the holidays but this year, yet, love just wasn’t enough.

Surviving the holidays with mental illness

Winning the big day!

Those who know me and no doubt, those of you who have followed me from the beginning; know that I live off one single philosophy, don’t feel like doing something because of mental illness? Do it anyway.

Like what you are reading, want more? Go here: Our Mental Illness Is Real

Although this was a monumentally tough thing to do this Christmas, forcing myself to live life paid off. Looking back on it now, I have absolutely zero regrets.

I’d be lying if I said I awoke on the big day feeling as though my depression was snow and somehow melted away Christmas eve while I slept; leaving me feeling the joy and excitement that this day usually produces for me.

Despite not feeling the spirit of the season, I got out of bed determined to catalogue wonderful memories that were just hours away from being made.

Boxing day reflections

The hustle and bustle of the day were a perfectly good distracting from my PTSD and depression, there was so much that needed to be done that it helped to take the edge off the angst and other symptoms.

Looking after the logistics of the day turned out to be a great thing for me. It set the tone for the day and by the time family arrived, there was a small spark of excitement, just enough to win the day.

Forge memories that last a life time

Looking back, I am grateful for that spark because it propelled me forward and made family time around the tree amazing. Finally, I could feel again. The laughter and pure joy that comes with gift-giving and time spent with loved ones were like the best medication of all.

So, there’s power in pushing through it. As long as you take time in those moments to feel the magic of your loved ones around you, the ice of your ills will melt and memories will be made. Was it tough? You bet ya! But, now that I am emerging on the other side of this holiday; I can say that I have walked through the biggest depressive episode of my life. In doing so, I got to a place where I was able to forge memories that will last a lifetime.

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Gratitude and Mental Illness

Graditude

Does gratitude cure mental Illness? I think not.

As I rise on this green and mild Christmas morning; I can’t help but think about all the things I am grateful for. Perhaps its the spirit of the day, the silence of being the first one up or my first coffee that has called gratitude and mental illness to my attention.

Whatever the cause, I can’t help but think about it from a mental illness perspective and the misconceptions around it. One thing I hear often when discussing mental illness with people is this; “If you’d just stop and think about all the things you are grateful for, you’ll feel better”. For some of you, I have no doubt that this sounds familiar.

It is in those moments of mindfulness that we can feel how lucky we are.

Although I’m not entirely sure how to accurately explain that PTSD, depression and indeed, any mental health condition doesn’t work that way; I can tell you that It just doesn’t.

See, mental illness and gratitude are two totally separate things; much like the brain and your arm. They are unrelated but one has power over the other. The brain and body also have influence one another to get things done.

Although the relationship between gratitude and mental illness doesn’t necessarily work in harmony in terms of their differences, they nonetheless impact one another.

Like what you are reading? Looking for more? Try Anxiety and Depression

The power of psychiatric disorders is at the root of this impact on gratitude. That being said, your ability to feel grateful oftentimes can not subdue the disorder you have wreaking havoc within.

Does this mean that one can’t feel gratitude? Of course not. One just needs to cultivate it when being mindful, while zeroing in on the moment. It is in those moments of mindfulness that we can feel how lucky we are.

Learn mindfulness

When you are temporarily lifted out of the fog, think of the things and people you really appreciate. I find this goes a long way when the overpowering wave of mental illness swallows you whole once more.

So, One this beautiful Christmas morn, I am full of appreciation for all I am lucky to have. And although I am still sick with mental illness, I am in a place where I can take on the day and feel the gratitude that goes with the warmth of being with those you love.

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If I'm Being Honest

If I am being honest, especially with myself, I can win the day.

Every now and again, it’s good to take a moment and ask yourself; Am I really being honest with myself and with those around me? As uncomfortable as the truth may be, it’s difficult to grow without it. So, today, I am going to do my best to come clean.

As of late, I find myself unwilling to confront my inner turmoil, a devastating depression that has embedded itself deep within. Perhaps I’m hesitant is because of its level of intensity.

It’s so troubling in fact, that I remain silent largely because I don’t know what to do with it. You see, I have never been this way before and to be honest, I’m finding it difficult

In my view, managing the pain can get us to a place where we can feel emboldened

Equally troubling is the duration of this episode. It’s held me captive now for well over a month, producing a mind-numbing, non-feeling effect that I just can’t seem to shake.

The good news? I will eventually wrap my head around it enough to mould it into words and make sense of its intensity. But for now, I continue to go through the motions hoping that I will come around in time for Christmas. I am determined to enjoy the day!

If I’m Being honest

I think it’s ok if we can’t always figure out the way of mental illness pain; rather, it becomes more important to deal with the feelings, right here, right now.

In my view, managing the pain can get us to a place where we can feel emboldened to talk it out. If my experience has taught me anything, it’s this; I can not deal with anything when my mental health conditions are at a seven, eight or nine. It’s just too much.

Ways to manage mental illness pain

All of these elements are simply being honest with myself, I gotta be real if I’m gonna heal. Yes, It’s uncomfortable and yes, its true; discomfort makes us want to retreat but, let’s be honest, do you really want to be a level eight or nine as often as you are? I’m willing to wager that your answer is no. You may not feel it, but it is within you to make your life better, I know you can.

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Behaviour and Personality.

Normally, I devote the majority of my time focused on helping others with mental illness. In fact, that’s the driving force behind The Road To Mental Wellness. It’s not that I don’t care about fixing the stigma that’s out there, I just want to help the sick feel better. That being said, we need to discuss the difference between behaviour and personality.

Although I choose to devote more of my time helping others get through mental health moment, there’s a few things I wish people understood. Sometimes, seeing things from a different perspective is all one needs to break down barriers. I truly believe that most well minded individuals want to help ease the pain.

But how? It can be tough to try and empathise with someone who’s experience differs from your own, this can create a void and ultimately, a miscommunication.

When I came to understand that the behaviours I was seeing was a result of their mental illnesses and thus an unfair representation of who they really were, I excelled in my job.

This brings me to the purpose of this post. I want to help those who are struggling to understand mental illness and why we behave the way we do. But how do we accomplish this? I want to share with you what I learnt working with people with mental illness.

Throughout the majority of my adult life, I have had the honour of working with people with serve mental disabilities; in addition, many of them presented with very aggressive behaviours. Notice I underlined the word behaviours; but why?

Well, in my extensive experience with this population, staff tended to integrate the behaviour they observed with personality of the person producing them. Behaviours one produces and who they are as a person are two fundamentally very different things. If this is the case, than why do we have a tenancy to define people based on what we observe?

The Difference between behaviour and personality.

It’s a good question and one that is worth thinking about at length. Sometimes observations that are made are judgements to keep us safe. For example, if you witness aggression you are going to avoid the acting out individual.

If we embrace the notion that behaviour and personality are two different things, we strengthen our empathy.

When I came to understand that the behaviours I was seeing was a result of their mental illnesses and thus an unfair representation of who they really were, I excelled in my job.

Behaviour and Personality

This revelation helped me to cultivate my empathy and was essential to building a working relationship. This helped my cliental reduce their outbursts. In short, I recognised that when they were at baseline, that is, they were in a state that allowed for typical interaction and daily living.; some where outgoing and kind, whist others were naturally funny and helpful. I saw these personality traits for what they truly are, elements of the real person.

So, what does this mean for you, the everyday person? Well, what it means is this; if you have a loved one suffering from depression, the low mood and desire to stay in bed, It is in no way a good metric to define who they really are. It is behaviour being produced by their mental health condition. No different than trauma to a leg, it symptom is a limb.

If we embrace the notion that behaviour and personality are two different things, we strengthen our empathy. When we do so, our perspective shifts and we take on a more supportive role. For the sufferer, this can go a long way in making the chronic sad a little easier to take.

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I Feel Nothing For Christmas

I feel nothing for Christmas

Christmas is traditionally my favourite time of the year… So what’s happened?

Just this week, I have started to snap out of a depressive episode that lasted for over a month. It was so severe in fact, that I seldom left my bedroom little lone my home. Unfortunately, a residual side effect of this episode is that I feel nothing for Christmas.

Even though the mental illness storm is starting to lift and I’m able to venture into the real world once more, I am surprised to discover I that I feel, well, I feel nothing.

If there was a way to measure the pulse of emotion, I’m certain that mine would be mostly a flat line with the occasional beep of short lived joy.

Into mental health and podcasts? Check out my good friends’ site at A New Dawn

This is new to my experience, I can’t recall a time where I was meh about everything. A fact that I’m very troubled by for sure. I guess one could say that I feel indifferent.

Sadly, my love for Christmas is not immune to this monotone phenomenon. It may sound a little cliche but it’s traditionally the most wonderful time of the year for me. I have spent the majority of life putting family first. We are all on borrowed time, so naturally, when this time of year rolls around, I’m filled with excitement.

For many, simply going through the motions makes how they already feel worse.

Christmas can be very taxing on people mentally. The stress of the holidays accumulates and as it does, it robs many of the joy they are supposed to feel. I don’t even feel that. Stress is not a factor this year. I guess I can thank the lack of feeling for that. Good and bad in everything they say.

Ways to minimise stress during the holidays when you have depression.

I have however, made up my mind that this numbing feeling is only temporary and I will, like many of my darkened days, get to the other side of it. For that is my resolve.

For many, simply going through the motions makes how they already feel worse. But is pushing yourself to get through the season really such a bad thing? In my view, its the right thing to do. You only have two courses to take in this situation; you can plug away it and get through it or you can remove yourself from it. The latter is defiantly less helpful.

Personally, I’ll be dammed if I allow this lack of feeling take out the first Christmas I’m indifferent about.

I’m not suggesting that you ignore how you are feeling and abandoned your need for self care. Rest when you need to and remove yourself if it gets to be too much. what I’m suggesting is that you mentally pace yourself so you can make the most of the big day. This is my plan. I know that my mental health is such that I can’t immerse myself in all that hustle and bustle so I do what I can and make no analogize for it.

So, why do I think it’s fundamental to crawl your way through it? Because if you do, it gives you the opportunity to have a moment where the dark is lifted, the pain is subsided and you form memories that last a life time.

I feel nothing for Christmas

Personally, I’ll be dammed if I allow this lack of feeling take out the first Christmas I’m indifferent about. I will solider on because I will increase my odds of being reunited with my love for the season. If this happens, that’s all I will truly want for Christmas this year.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Our Mental Illness Is Real

Our mental illness is real

Our Mental Illness is real, Here I lay out my argument.

It’s no secret that one of the biggest battles for people with mental illness is the stigma; A notion that seems to come with the territory. Some seem to feel that death by suicide is a choice; whist I’ve heard others say, what we’ve likely all heard before, “someone always has it worse”. How many times have I heard a sentence that starts with “you just gotta”. I want to make the case that Our mental illness is real.

When talking to the folks who use these, “I know how to solve it” one liners. Its fascinating to me just how generic these suggestions are. What I find disheartening though, is that they presume to know the level of havoc psychiatric disorders have on a person. I wish there was some sort of mental illness pain scale that could show the level of pain that beat’s around in one’s head.

I have to say that I truly believe that many are well meaning; loved ones who have little skill to help and even less understanding of the ill. While on the other side of that coin, there are those who don’t care to get it and, honestly, they aren’t worth trying to convince. At least not on the individual level. The best thing we can do is combat the inaccuracies together.

With that said, how does one simply brush it off? When many mental health conditions come standard with a feeling that no body likes me; how do you ignore that sigma? When you feel like everyone is angry with you, how does one let that go? I’m willing to wager that many don’t.

assumptions are born out of factual inaccuracies. In other words, we fill in the gaps when we lack knowledge or experience.

As much as we may try to articulate the severity of our pain, those who don’t know likely never will. Unless, of course, they become ill themselves..

You may also enjoy: You Me And PTSD

Personally, I’d like to put to rest that “if you can’t see it then it’s not happening assumption”. Nothing could further from the truth. There are a few roadblocks that re-enforce this assertion. One of the biggest being the myth, that there is no evidence that you can see mental illness.

What I think makes us blind to the symptoms, is that the majority of us aren’t that good at understanding human behaviour. I feel like we see it as a secondary function of humanity, when in reality, it’s one of the most fundamentally important. We do what we do for a reason.

Experienced or trained observers are much better at understanding what makes us tick. We, the ill can tell and so can a mental health professional. To the untrained eye, however, they have little to go on but the assumption that we are well. As we know, assumptions are born out of factual inaccuracies. In other words, we fill in the gaps when we lack knowledge or experience.

So, mental health conditions do exist, its an undeniable fact. The symptoms radiate from an organ known as the brain and its symptoms are many. Take PTSD for example; one symptom of this disorder is a heightened startle response. So, if you notice a loved one jumping out of their chair over every sudden noise, that’s a symptom; an observable symptom.

PTSD and the Brain

The brain, not unlike the heart after a heart attack has damage and very real consequences as a result of that damage. Proving that our mental illness is real.

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Our mental illness is real – Neuroimaging in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Other Stress-related Disorders
J. Douglas Bremner, M.D.

This brain scan, it shows the effects of PTSD on the brain. More specifically, it shows what happens to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain behind your forehead that makes you, you. It is responsible for managing impulsive behaviour, future planning and executive function among other things. For a comprehensive read go here

Please, do your best to not feel shame or like you are being judged

A simple way of understanding the images here is, the brighter the colour in the image, the more brain activity; less colour is an indication of lower activity. As you can see, the prefrontal cortex, located at the top of the images, shows less activity in images 7 and 8. A notable difference between images 5 and 6. Visual proof that PTSD’s symptoms have a source. This is true of many other psychiatric disorders.

Treatment options for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

So, there you have it, prove that our mental illness is a real, legitimate health condition. The brain, not unlike the heart after a heart attack has damage and very real consequences as a result of that damage. Essentially, both organs have functional issues that cause them to underperform and produce symptoms that can be seen. Remember the PTSD and its startle response from earlier? Its a symptom as a result of real changes to the organ we can the brain.

Please, do your best to not feel shame or like you are being judged, you’re illness is real. I hope I did a good job demonstrating that today. Not only for those suffering but also for those who aren’t. The odds of you knowing someone with a mental illness are high. If its a loved one, they need to see that you have taken the time to learn about their illness. Education leads to understanding and understanding what makes those you lovesick can produce the empathy and support they need from you.

How to support someone with a mental Illness

So, did I make my case? Leave your comment or give it a like. Thank you.

You can contact me here at, The Road To Mental Wellness Facebook page.

If you want to help me make my book a reality, please go to my GOFundeMe, thank you.

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