Missing out on life

Missing Out On Life.

I am willing to bet that many people with mental illness, have had their own battles with medications. Moreover, it’s very likely that many of you have played the game of trial and error; it can take a while to get the right combination before one starts to see the benefits. This process is necessary but perhaps it’s the biggest drawback is missing out on life.

Then, there are those like me, stuck in a unique situation of medication purgatory. It seems that I am truly at a medication impasse. This intersection I have reached on the road to mental wellness is just fine with me; to be honest, this pharmaceutical rollercoaster ride is getting to be way too much.

I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

Thankfully, there was one drug that showed some benefit, Sertraline. This med worked the best at keeping the suicidal thoughts at bay; which, in my estimation is a very big help. However, the only true effect I have is when its at max dose. 200mgs of heavy and sleepiness.

Pharmaceuticals, they always consider the risks vs benefits when considering treatment, a little tired over some symptoms is ok by me, especially at this point. But now, there are only two options left, continue to take part in therapy or do nothing.OF course, I will continue therapy but it feels, as time goes on, that I need to be near the functional end of this road to mental wellness.

Am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not!

On the other hand, being at the end of the pharmaceutical leg of my journey isn’t all bad. Its almost been more debilitating than the battle With PTSD and coping with depression. I have spent half the journey missing out on life. Being so sedated I missed out on so much, mainly time with my partner and experiencing quality time with my kids and parents.

The best way I can describe this near-constant sedation is; think back to a time when you had surgery and how you felt afterwards. Remember that tired and groggy feeling? That’s very close to how I felt, constantly. Sadly, I still do and will until I’m completely rid of this last drug.

Like what you are reading? go New Hope, a New Medication

So then, do I regret putting myself through the harrowing effects of every non-addictive SSRI going? Well, the short answer is no. A journey isn’t a journey if you remain idle so, I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

What to hear more strories of peope battling their mental illness? go to The Depression Files

My advice to people is this: If the mental illness has taken you, hostage, the first thing you have to do is accept that the road back will not be a pleasant one. So, learn to accept being uncomfortable. More importantly, do use these feelings of being uncomfortable to retreat. Real healing happens when you not only see the barriers in your way, but you actively seek ways to smash them down.

Learn to fight through the discomfort

Missing out on life

So meds don’t work for me, am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not! If for whatever reason, I lose the opportunity to live a normal life, I will go down swinging. I went to war against my mental illness and therefore cam armed for battle. Recently, I have gotten back in the gym and am making improvements to my diet. I know for a fact that optimal health does wonders for mental illness related conditions.

Please, keep fighting and finding ways to win your war, you deserve to live. You are the warrior that can make that a reality. Sometimes, even if it means we are sometimes missing out on life.

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

The great power of assumption

The Great Power of Assumption

If you’ve driven for any length of time, you’ve likely encountered a situation that left you shaking your head; perhaps it’s invoked enough anger to shake a fist or worse. My personal favourites are when someone darts out in front of you and the Sunday driver who slows down traffic for miles. But are they really the evil arse hole we think they are? Can our assessment of these scenarios be flawed and or inaccurate? Ah, the great power or assumption, it can sure be wrong, no matter how right we think it is.

Is what I am seeing in front of me really what’s going on?

The answer to this question is likely yes. Or at least, that’s the case a lot of the time. In fact, Its not limited to our experiences on the road, we are constantly making judgements about every encounter we have; the roots of this phenomenon can be found in our neurology.

Why do you always judge everything?

It would seem as though we are hardwired to judge the actions of others. Now, is this an excuse to run amuck and assume that those assessments you are making are ok or right? Of course not.

If we go back to the driving example, we as humans may assume that the person who sped out in front of us was in too much of a hurry; or, that he or she has no regard for our safety. With that said, is this really what took place?

Are my assumptions about people with mental illness actually correct? Beware of the great power of assumption.

The beauty of our brains is that they come with the wonderful ability to re-evaluate a given scenario and therefore, provide us with alternate possibilities. So, was the person cutting you off intentionally? What are the other possibilities that could be true?

For example, could the other driver see you or did you happen to be in their blind spot? If this is the case, then their actions were not malicious, your reaction to them, however, may have been.

Imagine if the blindspot story was true and just imagine if the incident turned into road rage; all because you were convinced that the driver’s intentions were because they were being aggressive.

This example demonstrates how flawed our innate ability to make judgements based on what we are seeing in real-time is. So, how does this flaw transfer to other aspects of our lives? Moreover, how damaging can it be in other aspects of our lives?

Phew! this is still a mental health blog and here’s how we tie it all together.

Is what I’m seeing, actually what’s gonig on?

Stigma, simply put is nothing more than a judgement based on what people are seeing. Sad right? Despite that, it’s also natural. However, with that said, we can flick our brains off autopilot and ask ourselves; is what I am seeing in front of me really what’s going on? Is that person with depression really lazy because they can’t clean up their house? And, is that co-worker with PTSD really calling in sick because they hate to work?

The great power of assumption

The real question that one should be asking here is; are my assumptions about people with mental illness actually correct? It has done me well to remember that behaviour always happens for a reason, this is especially true when evaluating people with mental health conditions. Chances are the judgements you are making are inaccurate and therefore require you to educate yourself.

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Remember, judging others is natural but is oftentimes grossly inaccurate. However, the power of critical thinking and by stopping to ask the right questions, you can uncover what you can’t see until you look under the hood of illness. In doing so you can effectively beat the great power of assumption.

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness