What we see

What we see?

Is what we see, really what’s going on? In this post, I argue that the answer is no.

Our eyes, they are the windows to the world. Because of them, you and I can navigate the world and take in its breath taking beauty. But sadly, what we see isn’t always what’s going on.

While there’s no question that waterfalls are indeed amazing, we, with our not so stellar observation skills, only see the rushing water, crashing into the waterway below.

With that said, is that really all there is to see? What else is going on? For instance, we can not see the source of the water flow; nor do we bear witness to the copious amount of erosion happening as the water rushes over the cliff face.

IS what we see, really what’s truly going on?

Our brains, if they were to take in all the surrounding stimulus, we would likely cease to function. It’s perfectly adept at deciding what requires our attention and what it can disregard. We, as humans are attracted to things that move; a survival instinct that helped get us where we are today.

Why does the brain filter out things? Why does it limit What we see?

Interestingly, there are other things going on that influence our perceptions. Things like, good old fashion logic. The simplistic view, pun intended, says, what you see is what you get. In other words, our eyes are telling us the entire story; but, are they? Is what we see happening really a simple logical deduction? Well, here’s my take on it.

Like what you are reading? Then you may enjoy You, Me and PTSD.

In my view, mental illness is a great example of the dangers of taking thing at face value. To illustrate what I mean, I will use PTSD as the example.

person in blue jacket and black pants standing on rock near waterfalls
Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on Pexels.com

Post-traumatic stress disorder comes with a whole host of symptoms. These symptoms include; Irritability, nightmares, a heightened startle response and more. None of them are pleasant.

To further demonstrate my point, I will pick on one symptom; the wonderful feeling of the startle response. Besides being very unpleasant for the diagnosed, it can be very problematic for a spouse or other family members.

What those closes see when I am scared by every single bang and clang is the often times very intense reaction; being very vocal, jumping out of my chair, etc.

When you couple all this together, what you get from family members is the “walking on eggshells” reaction, rightfully so. I mean, never knowing what will cause this intense reaction is very difficult.

Help for spouses and family of someone with PTSD

With that said, my goal isn’t to put those I love most in the world on edge; despite what they see and how they react to it, what’s really going on is I’m symptomatic. My reactions have nothing to do with them personally and if it were a choice, why would I put my loved ones through such a thing?

It’s true, I get where they are coming from but there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Therefore, the best advice I can give people trying to love someone with a traumatic injury is this; If you plan to be around for the long haul, you will very likely need support from a mental health professional; there’s no shame in that.

Even though mental illness is monumentally difficult for everyone impacted by it, those who suffer from a mental health condition deserve love and support. Equally true, is that those who love us, deserve the same.

Lemonade Stand Vol. III

Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of 20 authors who have PTSD because of their military and or emergency services background. They bravely tell their stories in hopes that will help end stigma within the services and within mental health in general. Its other objective is to give people who are afraid to speak a voice.

When I read the stories from the other authors, it was like I was reading the story of my own struggles. I quickly realized that this book will not only help those with PTSD but may very well provide their spouses and families with insight into their loved one’s mental illness.

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Lemonade Stand Vol. III
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If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

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Simple things

The simple things that matter.

When it comes to healing, it really is the simple things that matter.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think of the days when I was an active member of my local Volunteer Fire Department. Those days taught me so much in so many ways. Overall though, it made me a much better human being. While this may be true; it has also left a permanent psychological scar, right where my hopes and dreams used to reside; and honestly, I hate it!

Regardless of how much I loathe this injury, there is little I can do about the choices I made to join the fire service at the young age of nineteen; none of us can go back in time.

Likewise, I will never be able to bring back those who lost their lives, many, way before their time. So then, what do I do? I have indeed been working my ass off to try to get back to the land of the living; man I miss those days. But alas, like that of my past, there is little I can do. By that I mean, I can’t snap my fingers and wish the mental pain instantly away.

On second thought, maybe it’s not there’s little I can do but rather, it’s the little things I can do. If this is the case, then  I have worked on a ton of these little things that have added up over time.

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING.

A great example of this is a simple technique I learned in therapy. In fact, the idea is so simple that I thought; “that won’t work.” happily, I was wrong. See, sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

Simple things you can do to boost your mental health.

the simple things that matter.

As many of you may know, nightmares are synonymous with PTSD, they rob one of their sleep and constantly terrify them in the process. This easy to-do task is this: When you awake from a nightmare, take note of anything and everything in the room; try to include As much detail as you can. So, got a nightstand full of knick-knacks sitting on the top? Describe all of them, shape size and colour. The very act of doing this forces your focus on the here and now; the “now” is where the healing happens. And if for some reason you’re still awake, keep mentally moving around the room. See, simple and, personally, very effective. It really is the simple things that matter. I highly recommend it.

Another useful tool to try is simple exercises. Walks are like mother nature’s medication and… it’s free! Take that big pharma. Despite this one being seemingly obvious, it can seem monumentally difficult to initiate. However, you can’t beat the price and over time, your noggin will love you for it. Try getting a friend or a loved one on board, it will make this venture a lot easier.

TRAINED AS BIG PICTURE THINKERS, IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO SEE THAT THE SOLUTION IS OFTEN THE SIMPLEST ONE.

Thirdly, don’t take this life you’ve been given for granted, take stock of all things, big and small that you love and cherish. For me, my family is everything and when we are together, I do my best to soak up every memory made with them. Love, it’s simple and not limited. Our animals are our pet therapy and it’s so easy to get lost in their unconditional loyalty. What I love about taking stock is that it places you in the present and it does so without very little effort.

In conclusion, I really do think it’s the simple things that matter. Not only do they matter because life is too short, they pay off big time as you travel down the road to mental wellness.

If you or someone you know is looking to find people with Military and emergency service backgrounds that also have PTSD. This book is for you. Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of authors who have paid the ultimate personal price for their service, ending up with PTSD.

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Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

Want help fund my book? Donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

Nervious system afire

Nervous system afire

The only haunting I have ever encountered is PTSD’s constant presence. It sets my nervous system afire.

Most of my writing takes place first thing in the morning. When one doesn’t sleep well, one might as well be productive; right? Besides, the wee hours of the morning are still and stimulus free and by default, I am at peace.

I am the furthest thing away from a morning person. In fact, I’m such a grump, I can’t even swear at my constant spelling errors. At times, I think, If coffee came in IV bags I’d be golden.

Alas, it does not and because of it, I have to begrudgingly brew my own. Besides having the quiet and nothing but my cat sitting on my keyboard from time to time, the early morning dark is “me” time

Oh, of course, I have one more entity lurking, a constant travel companion, my PTSD. While the pre-dawn hours provide me with some relief, it is PTSD that gets me up in the first place. Strange to think that the very thing that has brought so much pain to my life, also gives me licenses to be creative.

The only haunting I have ever encountered is PTSD’s constant presence.

One of the hardest things I find about being post-traumatic is how it seems to set my nervous system afire; from the top of my head, to the tip of my toes, I am in fight, flight or freeze mode and let me tell ya, it’s a force that extends it reach to my relationship; it hits hard like being struck by lightning, it shocks my partner and hurts her heart.

I know some of you must be wondering what I mean when I say; my post-traumatic stress disorder set my nervous system afire. Well, what I simply mean is, I am hypersensitive to everything! One of the best examples that demonstrates this well, is when people hug me. Now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a hugger but at times, a hug ignites my nervous system and triggers a wave of panic. Unfortunately, what this wave of panic does is it sends me squirming to break free. And like a cat who fell in a tub of water, I fight my way out.

Set my nervous system afire

This is, of course, not something I am doing by choice but rather, I am hijacked by the powers of my mental health condition. A sad and painful reality, one that is mutually heartbreaking for the both of us.

Full list of PTSD symptoms

The power of observation?

What must be remembered is that observation isn’t always as accurate as we would like to think; with that said, I know that the feelings loved ones feel after I full on panic and break free from their embrace is quite naturally hurtful.

Although this is true, the intent on my part is not to be cold and callous, its fear; inexplicable fear that has absolutely nothing to do with those I love. Yet, despite this, they rightfully feel like they did something wrong. Sad thing is, I have no idea how to make up for those moments, nor can I ever expect them to take them with a grain of salt.

Help for families of people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

My only hope is to keep travelling down the road to mental wellness; to continue therapy and self-care. Included in that is a good diet and exercise. All of this effort will hopefully quell my fight or flight mode and better manage my PTSD when my nervous system is afire. 

To my dearest family, please know that the truth is, your support keep me going.

Lemonade Stand III, people with military and emergency service backgrounds talk about their PTSD. Pre-order today!

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About the Book

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 their 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.

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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!

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Lemonade Stand Vol. III on The Road To Mental Wellness.

Want help fund my book? Donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book

You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

Contact me on my Facebook page: facebook.com/TRTMW