Small Window of Tolerance

In life, there is something so glorious about waking up to a new day. My world starts anew and with it. At this time of day, my feelings of optimism are at their hight; telling me that this could be the day that my road to mental wellness starts to smoothen out. I am grateful for every moment despite a short window of tolerance

With that said, I feel the mental pain every moment of every day. That bit of my life just plain sucks, but I’m far from the only one who suffers. In fact, I’m willing to wager that there are millions of people finding life and their personal battles unbearable.

What I am tired of most is not being able to live my life outside a small window of tolerance

Although I have many moments living in the basement of despair, I am trying my best to be a force for the mental health community. We all need something to gravitate towards that gives us hope and because I don’t fear stigma in many ways; I am all too happy to tell my story,

This weekend I am at the Nova Scotia NDP convention as I am a member of the party. I am here because I am an overall advocate for social justice. However, my primary focus is, of course, mental health; I am working hard to find a way to restore a system that has been decimated by irresponsible government cuts. Our fears and anxieties must translate into action or I’m afraid the battle will be lost. A cost I’m willing to go down fighting for.

Like what you are reading? Go to PTSD, Earned With Distinction

Today, I am on day 3 of 3 at the convention and I have to say that I am at my mental limit. I have lasted maybe 45 minutes and my tolerance has all but eroded. In fact, as I write this, I have taken refuge in a quiet corner of the hotel. If you have PTSD, you are very aware that when in a public setting, there is no place to truly hide. My place of zen was shattered when a passing hotel guest dropped their tin water bottle onto the ceramic tile a few feet away.

Want to hear real-life stories of those battling mental illness? Go to The Depression Files

A small Window of tolerence.

I am beyond tired at this point and I am feeling a bit imprisoned but frankly, I’m too exhausted to care. I don’t regret attending the convention or joining the party because it gives me a stronger voice. Moreover, it inspires me to continue the battle to restore mental health funding.

However, advocating for what’s right does come at a cost when you are mentally ill. With that said, I don’t think it’s healthy or helpful to forego opportunities as they present themselves. We all must do our part to ease the burden and the suffering of, not only people with mental health conditions; but we must rail against the degradation of people just trying to make ends meet.

What tires me most is the unrelenting and seemingly incurable pain that comes with PTSD.

Despite all of the challenges I face here this weekend, it is not my most formidable foe. No, my toughest opponent lies just below the surface of my skin. My hijacked mind and body. By all accounts I have only gotten worse, sure, my periods of respite may be longer now but when I force myself onto the world; I am rapidly caught in its undertow.

It’s here, in the midst of this chaos that I am finding it more and more difficult to negotiate my way back to sunnier skies. I just can’t deploy the psychological tools fast enough to keep my safe from the startle response and the fear… But somehow I always make it!

Now, it’s a day later and I am in a position to reflect on my experiences. I was able to meet with both the federal leader Jagmeet Singh and the NDP leader of Nova Scotia Gary Burrill and talk to them directly about my health care concerns.

So, although not the most pleasant of adventures and I have a small window of tolerance, I did accomplish a hell of a lot. Voicing my passion for mental health advocation in front of over 200 people. Please, find the strength and courage to fight for what you need, what we all need. A robust system where access is not months away.

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Back On the Saddle Again

Back in the saddle again

This morning for the first time since last May I walked through the doors of the gym. What a wonderful feeling it was to hit the treadmill and the free weights. But, despite the good vibe I was riding on; I was apprehensive. that said, it was nice being back on the saddle again.

Fortunately, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I had been very active for the best part of ten years, focusing on cardio and weight training. So, getting back on the saddle again isn’t the most difficult thing for me to do. I immediately felt right at home.

Sadly, this perfect storm of events led to a decline in my overall health.

You may be asking yourself; “Well then, what took you so long to get back at it?” The answer to this question isn’t as straight forward as I would like. However, it’s not because I feel into a sea of laziness, at least not entirely.

The first part of my answer is mental illness. As depression, anxiety and PTSD overtook my life, I was left with hardly enough energy to get to the couch. With that said, it’s not too difficult to see why I was discouraged from taking on the requirements that go with working out.

Back in the saddle again

Secondly, adding insult to mental illness injury was an unfortunate physical injury. In the spring of last year, I had hurt my left shoulder; an injury that is still problematic to this day. This understandably kept me out of the gym.

The right way to ease yourself back into the gym

Moreover, the constant introduction to the different anti-depressive medication has been a roller coaster of sedation and other harsh side effects. The outcome of this roller-coster ride makes the prospect of working out somewhat dangerous not to mention unmotivating.

Even though I can’t really afford it, how can I afford not to?

Sadly, this perfect storm of events led to a decline in my overall health. Certain SSRIs can cause weight gain. This and continual shoulder pain can cause depression. These factors alone are enough to exacerbate the symptoms of major depressive disorder, a mental disorder that makes me sink to the bottom of despair.

Want to hear people talk about their mental health journies? Go to The Depression Files.

Armed with my old matra, do whatever it takes, I finally put a plan together and today, I executed it. Perhaps the biggest factor holding me back from getting back to the gym was, not only the lack of money but its noticeable absence in a mental health treatment program. There is no treatment plan that comes standard with mental health treatment. Despite this, the fact is, physical fitness is an integral part of recovery as physio would be for my shoulder.

Want to read more? Go to my blog post; New Hope A New Medication

Sometimes, you just have to take matters into your own hands. Even though I can’t really afford it, how can I afford not to? I mean, we can’t really put a price on our health, right?

For me, I knew that I would get back at it, it was simply a matter of getting myself in the position to succeed. In my case, I sought physio for my shoulder and fought my way through a depressive episode. Now, I may be sedated so I take my pills after the gym so as to lower the risk of injury.

Remember, you get to choose where you put your energy.

We all have our roadblocks to success but we need to put the tools in place to dismantle them. Doing what we have to gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves, “What do I need to do to get there?” Once we have the answer to this question, a plan will then evolve.

So, what do you have to do to get where you need to be? Your destiny awaits. Get back in that saddle again.

Telling My Story

Telling my story

When I started the road to mental wellness a year ago this month, I had a grander plan. This grander plan was to put me out there and help as many people as I could by telling my story. And, I have, but, not quite in the way, I was going for.

Although I had technically achieved what I had set out to do; I did so following the typical behaviour pattern that had landed me in front of my computer in the first place. Find the first blog post I have ever written below.

The Road To Mental Wellness

What was this pattern you ask? Well, it’s the templated behaviour that comes with being mentally ill. It is born out of the up and down symptoms that occur naturally as a result of, depression for example. Sometimes, I am unashamed to say, I have caved to its powers of heavy, energy-zapping powers.

This means, that I can barely find the energy to look at my phone little lone sit in front of my computer and write. There is so much to blogging behind the scenes; it’s time-consuming and each step can be met with any number of technical disasters. All of this work is an impossible mountain to climb when one is in the mists of a depressive episode.

So, my grand plan to write all the time, guest blog and go on as many mental health-related podcasts as possible has kinda been dashed. Like when I was working, I am unable to be the constant force I had originally planned to be.

Telling my story

Hear the real life stories of people just like you at A New Dawn Podcast

I mean, when your dealing with PTSD and this depression illness, and can’t work; how can you expect to go full tilt on a regular basis with something like a mental health blog? Basically, it was an unreal expectation on my part; you know, I’m ok with that.

Helping others by telling my story.”

The content I have produced has, by other people’s accounts, been impactful and that’s the intent of the road to mental wellness. Helping others by telling my story. I want to thank each and every one of you who have provided me with feedback, it’s very healing for me.

I also want to thank the regular readers for coming back; you’re all amazing. Last but not least, I’d like to thank those of you whom I have gotten to know over the last year of this adventure. Your friendship and support has been immeasurable, something that has helped pull me through some of my darkest days…. Thank you!

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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