old equestrian sculpture with men under sky at bright sundown

The Long Standing Battle

How I survive my long-standing battle with PTSD

As the early morning darkness yielded to the light of the early day; I awoke with a feeling of terror and dread… Another PTSD nightmare. As if my broken slumber wasn’t enough, I have to contend with what is, so far, a hyper-sensitive day.

When I suffer my way through a night like these, the powers of PTSD overtake me and usually write off my entire day following. I am, sadly, at its mercy. I’m not going to lie, I am tired of mental illness and it’s long-standing battle.

What it’s like to have PTSD

photography of person walking on road
Photo by Leo Cardelli on Pexels.com

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to this chaos, always look for the silver lining; this solace comes from my repetitive onslaught that my mental health condition forces me through. I know, I known, how can having the mental tar beat out of you constantly have a positive side.

The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

Well, it took me a long time to discover what it was but when I did, the answer was quite simple. I am forty-four right now and therefore, this is far from my first dance with the mental illness devil; but guess what? Despite my battle that rages deep within, I’m still here. Yes, each and every time, I’ve come out the victor. So I guess one could say I’m a survivor.

While this may be true, there have been many times on my road to mental wellness, I have thought, “this is it, the moment the unrelenting symptoms finally win the war;” yet here I am. So far, I’m batting a thousand. My story, while not an easy one to live with, it has, nonetheless, provided me with gratitude for life. Furthermore, my love for family and respect for friends, inoculates me to a degree from doing any more harm to myself.

With that said, knowing that I come out on the other side alive and well, empowers me to plow through days like today. There WILL be better times ahead.

My friends, if you look back on your worst days, I bet it felt like you were destined to be remain in that state forever; that the mental illness monster had finally won the long-standing battle, yet it has not. You are here and you got through it! Being symptomatic doesn’t mean it’s the end, it means that you are a mental health warrior that will live to fight another day.

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Lemonade stand
Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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What You Don’t See

Pics on social media are cool but its what you don’t see that’s most important.

People who see my Facebook account will see, for the most part, my face with a smile on it; or perhaps there are they’ll come across pictures of me out for a bike ride or me at the gym. I look like I got the world by the ass, right? Wrong! Don’t be fooled. Although it may seem like I’m enjoying life to the max, it’s what you don’t see that tells my actual story.

In reality, what’s going on beyond the one-tenth of me you see in photos; is but the tip of the iceberg. When I took the fire safety officer course, many moons ago, they taught us something that resonated with me. They taught us this: Perception is always reality and man, this is so very true.

So, what am I talking about? Well, simply put, what you see with your eyes doesn’t always marry up with the assumptions you conclude. Getting back to my smiley faces and gym poses on social media, the real question here is; “Am what I am seeing actually what’s what’s really representative of what’s actually going on?”

Sadly, in my case, the answer is no. As much as I want these pictures to represent me as a fun-loving, active guy who has his shit together, it would be a foolish to believe. Firstly, let me say that I am indeed a fun-loving, and active fella, however, to say I have my life together, is not at all what those pictures suggest.

The impact of social media photos on our mental health.

Underneath the flesh and bone and bouncing around in my nervous system is the mental health disorder called PTSD. If that weren’t enough, my brain has been afflicted with a huge dose of major depressive disorder; Crappy.

What you don't see
Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

What you don’t see is the days and sometimes weeks that I am living in a tiny bedroom, burnout form PTSD’s symptoms and exhausted from depression. In this state, just looking at my phone can seem daunting. This is my reality, often, I am broken.

Want to listen to people’s mental health journeys? Go to A New Dawn podcast.

Remember, a smile, an action shot on a bicycle or even a statement pronouncing one’s gratitude, can be deceiving. Furthermore, making judgments about what you see in a photograph is not justification to conclude anything really.

The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

My truth? My pictures are proof of my incessant desire to get moving forward. Getting down the road to mental wellness requires action so, when I’m able I do. That’s what you are seeing. A forced smile, may help others, a chronicle of my good days may inspire someone else to fight their own inner turmoil. That’s my hope. Plus, let’s not forget, when one has a blog and is an author, one must make the most of their good days to get content out there and sustain it.

Now you know my truth when it comes to my health and social media activity. What’s your story behind the pic?

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Lemonade stand
Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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Where's my glasses

Where’s My glasses

Where’s my glasses? Where is my mind?

Life’s all about those little moments, isn’t it? Well, yes of course it is. Sadly though, it’s also about those panicle moments that alter our life’s course forever. Some of these moments can be both good and bad, both, have a huge impact on the way we conduct ourselves moving forward.

Take PTSD for an example, is a debilitating mental health condition that may require years of recovery, if recovery is possible at all. For me, there’s no denying that my traumatic experiences have formed my current predicament. So much so in fact, that I have no idea what the future has in store for me.

With that said, I can’t focus too far down the road to mental wellness; rather, I must learn to navigate my way through the world again one mindful moment at a time. Personally, I suck at this right now, my tolerance for the wider world just isn’t there. There’s no denying the struggle is because I am disabled by my post-traumatic symptoms. I disassociate a lot and for the best part of my days, I don’t feel like I’m me, rather, I am a passive observer of my own life? This, along with the hyper startle response, I find almost impossible to overcome; but despite this, I fight on.

Full list of PTSD symptoms.

The symptoms I mention above are some of the most noticeable. I mean, jumping out of your skin over half a day is really, really noticeable. However, there are stealthier symptoms of PTSD.

Want to hear the stories of those on a similar journey? Listen to Men Are Nuts podcast.

A great example of this is how trauma impacts your memory; I have just recently noticed a correlation between the time my symptoms appeared and the loss of ability to find things. My family can tell you, I’m constantly saying, “Where are my glasses?”

This was never a thing for me, at least not to the degree it is today. Its as though once I put things down, my mind no longer cares about their existence; thereby leaving me with no recollection whatsoever of where I had put things. When I say no recollection, I mean, none!

Poor memory and PTSD.

How PTSD impacts your memory — Where’s my glasses.
The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

This is naturally turns me into a nomad, wander the house looking for, mostly my spectacles but it can also be my keys, wallet and now, my face mask.

So, if you find yourself asking, “Where’s my glasses,” and you have PTSD, it could very well be the neurological loveless of memory impairment. Don’t have glasses? I wonder where you put your keys last night before you went to bed?

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Lemonade stand
Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page.

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness