Critical Incident

A Critical Incident, yours?

Anyone can face a critical incident or more, not just emergency service workers.

You know what just occurred to me? Men hide from every ounce of mental pain they endure. Ok, That’s not really all that surprising. After all, this is a fact that many of us, including myself are well aware of.

While this may be true, I’d like to delve into this notion a little more. For one reason or another, our society has associated emotional suppression in men a sign of strength. During my morning coffee, I came to the conclusion that pushing things out of the way, can be both right and wrong. Essentially, I think there’s a yes and no answer.

When I was a firefighter, It was essential to push your emotional response to a critical incident out of the way. If not, how would we make order out of chaos? Being locked into a tragic scene, is no time to explore how you are feeling about what lies before you.

With that said, some of us are overcome by the carnage and the incredible amount of stress placed on our fight, flight or fight mode. This is a natural biological phenomenon; for those impacted, they go into the ultimate survival mode. Nothing to be ashamed of, we are after all, only human. The reality is, some of us can give no more and it becomes about self-preservation.

Critical Incident.
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Like what you are reading? Try, Carbon Monoxide And PTSD.

Therefore, emotional avoidance is a necessary but should only be seen as a temporary coping tool. Thank the gods for the adrenaline rush. This hormone overrides our emotions by putting us in autopilot mode. Very, very useful.

Beyond the incident, what happens? Do we need to keep pushing it down like we are smashing leaves with our foot into a garbage bag, packing it in tighter and tighter? From my experience, the answer to this question is no. We are a vessel and as such, we can only hold so much. Remember, mental illnesses are nervous system disorders. This means our psychological well-being has its roots in our biology.

The dangers of suppressing your emotions.

Looking at avoidance post incident though, how helpful is this? Moreover, if we ignore the accumulative pain that is fighting for supremacy within us, will we win? Maybe. Truthfully, many lose.

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Perhaps the most important question here is; Why do we men move mental mountains to avoid the pain boiling below the surface? I believe the answer is fear, right? Well, if that’s the case, we don’t normally associate running from things as strong, rather I feel like being strong means we have the strength to deal with whatever lies in front of us. this includes confronting our inner demons.

I’m by no means suggesting that people avoid their feelings are cowards, far from it; been in their shoes my friends. But pretending I was invincible was exhausting and may have almost got me in the end. If I didn’t man up and face reality I was going to be my own critical incident. I am calling my fight to save myself firefighter self-rescue.

Saving yourself from your own critical incident.

What I am saying is this; It takes a strong person to overcome their fear and admit, “I have had enough.” or to reach out and say, “I need help.” For me personally, it took an incredible amount of psychological effort to admit that I needed help and evermore difficult to reach out. I fail to see the weakness.

Sadly, I was being “brave” for far too long. It wasn’t until the thoughts of ending my life were so dominating that I admitted I was running, that I was scared.

You’ve spent your whole life holding it in, letting it fester, it’s time my friends. For my colleagues in the emergency services, men, women and other identities, it’s time for you to save yourself; you’ve earned it. After risking your own health, mental health included to save others, you own crisis is the next critical incident that needs your needs you to respond.

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!

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

Damage our mental well-being.

Damage to our well-being

Part 3. What are the factors that cause damage to our well-being?

The first time I took leave from work because of my mental health, I went into solution mode. I needed A fix that would see me making a comeback. But I was determined to this it right. I needed to be more than just functional, I needed to be even more mentally robust than ever.

How was I going to pull that off? After much research and a strong desire to move forward, I found the magic pill; I like to call it mother nature’s medication.

Natural ways to ease mental illness.

So, what is this smoking gun? Exercise; accompanied by a clean diet. When I start to apply what I had learned, I found that my mental illness, an anxiety disorder, was so much more manageable. In fact, adopting a healthy lifestyle was so effective at alleviating my symptoms that I was able to return to work.

While this was no doubt effective, what it wasn’t was a cure. All I needed to do to find this out was to go back to what exacerbated my metal illness in the first place; a lifestyle of sitting and eating the Western diet. Fast food and sugar can be considered stables in this diet.

What I learned from my obsessive research was surprising. My weight, it turns out, was a major factor in, not only my mental health decline but also to my overall health in general.

This fact was nothing short of a revelation for me. Never before had I given my excess weight any thought, much less seeing it as a clinical health condition. This perspective changed everything.

Being overweight was a health condition? Learning this fact changed the way I saw my weight, my mental health and my physical health. The only thoughts I did have about my weight, was a sense of self-conciseness.

Damage to our well-being
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Checkout men are nuts podcast.

Thankfully for me, science took the shame associated with my weight and made it seem like it was fixable; fortunately, it is indeed something one can fix. In my mind, I began to see that getting into shape was merely the treatment plan.

Like what you are reading? Try Hang in, there is hope.

With the majority of the shame out of the way, I was free to tackle my generalized anxiety disorder head on. I was motivated by this notion that I had a medical problem, not a social one. With that, I set out to improve my health not lose to weight. Looking at it as “improving my health rather than “losing weight” alleviated all the stress and social pressures that come with self-improvement.

How a good diet and exercise help the brain.

So, was my weight all my fault? I think my answer to this question is a yes and a no. I am a firm believer that self-improvement is ultimately our responsibility. However, science tells us that the Western diet is full of addictive properties. Substances like sugar are but one of many. Some studies indicate that sugar is more addictive than cocaine; an illegal street drug.

Is sugar addictive?

What does this mean? It means that I had an addiction and like that other addictions, comes dire consequences. With that said, I don’t believe in using the old, “I can’t help it, I have an addiction.” line. In my view, this statement is more damaging than the actual disease. Why? Well, because it gives us license to continue to do major damage to our well-being. It’s a slow burn that eats away at our mind, body and soul.

As someone with a background in addictions, I know that addictions are among some of the toughest challenges a person can face. I also understand that because they are so hard to overcome, it can be perceived as easier to continue on that path. However, as we age and continue to live a lifestyle that feeds our addition, we are often faced with an ever-increasing amount of health problems. Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease to name a few. And you guessed it, higher rates of mental illness.

Thanks for stopping by. My goal is to help as many people as I can through my blog and other projects. Your donation would be wonderful as it would help me continue to help others. Thank you — Jonathan. (About Me).

Sure, we may have an addiction, but we have no excuse not to try, not when this lifestyle is causing so much damage to our well-being. Additionally, I firmly believe that the only way we truly fail is if we give up. Even then, we can get back on that horse and try again. You may find it helpful to ask yourself:

  • What are the consequences of continuing this way of life? Write down as many as you can think of.
  • What if I looked at my unhealthy lifestyle as a medical condition instead of seeing it as socially shameful? (change your perspective).
  • What will the positive outcomes look like as I make my way to wellness.
  • What are my end goals? Realize that this journey is incremental, incremental is another word for progress.
  • Lastly, who else will benefit from my journey?

Please, be kind to yourself, your battle is hard enough. While it’s not a simple task, go slow and with purpose, never lose sight of why you are doing this; you don’t only want to lose weight, you, more importantly, want to be well.

This adventure in re-discover we are on will definitely help minimize the damage to our well-being. And as we go down the road to mental wellness, we will start to notice that we are stronger; not only physically, but mentally too. You can do this!

Checkout the book I helped to write — Available for pre-order

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!

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

Our kids mental well-being

OUR KIDS MENTAL WELL-BEING.

In part two of my series why are we mentally ill? I discuss why I believe there is a rise in mental health conditions in children. How can we fix our kids mental well-being.

First off, I want to preface this by saying this; One of the reasons we may be seeing an uptake in mental health concerns in children could be because of better educated adults. Teachers and parents have gotten better at seeing “problem children” differently. For example, when I was growing up, the adults in the room saw “problem children” and determined them to be delinquent and thus the appropriate thing to do was use punishment. But where they actually bad kids? Maybe there was more going on just below the surface?

Today, it’s better. We are starting to look past what our eyes are telling us. Because of this, we are getting better at understanding that behaviour always happens for a reason. Therefore, we are seeing is an increase in diagnoses as a result. If this is true, then It’s reasonable to assume that the numbers of children being diagnosed are a reflection of this.

But is this the only reason our kids mental well- being is suffering?

While I’m certain that the above is true, I am not convinced that this is the only reason we are seeing an increase. So, If this isn’t the only reason, why then are we seeing a rise in mental health conditions amongst our youth?

In part one, I talked a bit about how a lot of our children appear to be spending more time with people we don’t even know and way less time with us; their parents. A good example of this is Daycare providers. For many, this scenario is disproportionate, unbalanced and frankly, unfair. For those who haven’t read part one; you can go here: Our mental well-being.

So then, why do we do this? Because we, in many cases are forced to. Whist this is reality for many families, other parents believe that working hard and longer hours to give their children everything they want is the right thing to do. Whatever the reasons, our children are missing out on the one thing they want most; time with their folks. This is especially true when they are young.

What role does our “work comes first” mentality play in our kids mental well-being?

Simply stated, because parents work so much, children don’t get to experience the connection and cohesion of the family unit as a whole. This is especially important in their formative years. Our time with them, or lack there of, can make or break them mentally.

Of course, this is not true of every child; however, the data suggests that mental health condition in children and teens is on the rise. Sadly, our culture has put the priority on bankable hours and less so on the psycho-emotional needs of our young people. I suspect, because of this, those numbers will only grow.

Here are some questions worth asking

  1. Working too much: When we are not at work, we are taking calls about work or answering work emails. This leaves our children with what for guidance and normal social development? Is having 8 days off out of thirty-one really good for our families collective well-being?
  2. Our own addiction to our devices. What impacts does tech have on our kids mental well-being? If we commit to a day with our children, what does that mean? Does it mean we get to scroll through social media while they run around at the park? Furthermore, how do our children feel about it?
  3. Introducing them to tech. Is this good for our children’s mental well-being? If we are wired for human connection, hoe does unplugging from said connection affect them psychologically, socially and most importantly, can we build the parent-child relationship our children need?
  4. Furthermore, do we need to continue a society where strangers raise our children? Where good parents are denied custody of their children in court? Where we place higher value on plastic and microchips?
  5. Last but not least, Will working longer and harder for things they want help our hinder their development? What does a focus on materialism do to their mental health? Does it cause an increase in behaviour, depression etc.

Here’s a question for ya; If our kids are glued to tablets, TVs and smartphones, who’s raising them? Scary to think about this; but What are they learning. Perhaps the best question to ask is, what are they not learning?

baby touching woman s face
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Family connection and children’s mental health.

Thanks for stopping by. My goal is to help as many people as we can through my blog and other projects. Your donation would be wonderful as it would help me continue to help others. Thank you — Jonathan. (About Me).

From my perspective, we are creating an ever-widening gap between the sacred bond between parent and child. We all know, on the surface at least, that parents are at the helm of child development, yet our future leaders are seemingly being pushed to the back of the line.

If our modern day societal structures weren’t bad enough, kids still have to compete with domestic duties like bill paying and housework.

On the house cleaning front, kids may being subjected to some people’s definition of clean. Some people have higher standards in this regard. Could our demand for a totally clean house also be impacting our kids mental well-being? After all, these things take time, time we already don’t have.

The no, wait and not right now phenomenon

Child: “Dad, can you play outside with me?”

Dad: “No, not right now honey, sorry, I have to do the dishes; maybe later.”

Child: “Mom, can you play cards with me?”

Mom: “I’m sorry, I am busy sweetheart I’m answering work emails, later though, okay?”

What psychological effects do the No, wait and not right now phenomenon have on their mental well-being? In my view, when the maybe later and after a bits never come, that’s when it’s most hurtful.

Another important question is; what is our busy lifestyle doing to children who have a Smartphones increase the risk of depression in children and teens.

My takeaway? Our kid’s need us to reestablish connection with them. Make time; go on hikes together, establish a game night, get active and get involved. One of the best ways I have found to do this is through one on one time. Personally, treat my own kids like I would my friends or coworkers, I would never yell at a person on the job, I do my best not do that to my kids.

We need to do better at establishing rapport and communication skills. But above all, we must understand that we are our children’s teachers, their moral guides and the people the look to, to find balance and security in their lives. If we as a society continue to sidestep our responsibilities to our cherished children, our kids mental well-being will continue to deteriorate. It’s time to fix this.

To-do list

  1. Work
  2. Clean house, wash car, play video games, stare at my phone. (put them in front of the TV)
  3. Answer work email, calls and texts on my days off. (tell kids to wait).
  4. Get the kids to their 5 different activities during the week.
  5. Partake in my own hobby. (Give kid my iPhone)
  6. Pay bills, do everyone’s laundry, cut the grass. (Distract the kids with tech).
  7. Get together with friends.
  8. Spend “Quality time” with children. (Scroll through social media).

Ah, they very things that are supposed to make our lives better are leaving our kids at the bottom of the list. The final question that comes to my mind is, what have we done?

Checkout the book I helped to write

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!

Military and emergency service workers tell their share their of PTSD.
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