shocked female worker in modern workplace

But you’re too young

How Many times have I heard, “But You’re too young?”

Looking back on my mental health journey, I can do so with the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve tried my best. Working to tackle my mental illnesses has not been easy. Yet despite this, there are those who believe that I will make a full recovery. Not only will I beat this, they, see myself back at work. Perhaps the most famous tagline I hear is “but you’re too young”. Meaning I have many more years to be productive citizen.

It’s certainly true that in my past, I was quite proud of the fact that I was a “worker”. Indeed, I could handle tons of busy on my plate. I loved keeping myself busy and if I had my way today, I would still be running constantly; aw, to have the energy to go and go and go.

How to customize your life when mentally ill.

But if I were being realistic, my battle with mental illness has lasted well over a decade; in that time, I have literally gone to war, doing whatever it takes to kick mental illness’s asses.

This battle, is of course far from over; however, I am starting to lose faith that I will ever return to the person I once was. Perhaps the most important question here is; who was I as a person when I had bountiful amounts of energy? Was it a natural inclination towards wanting to be busy, or was I trying to run a burden that was much stronger and faster than I?

Read. What’s in your mental wellness toolkit?

Truthfully, I have the luxury of looking back and therefore I feel like, well I wasn’t formally diagnosed for much of my battle, I was indeed running from myself. It’s interesting because I was oblivious to it for so many years.

Although one cannot change the past, it is still influential in the way we conduct ourselves now and into our future life choices. In my case, my propensity to be going full tilt has most likely lowered my tolerances for, not only the world around me but my ability to navigate through it with sufficient energy to be “successful” in a traditional sense. Thus, my choices I made in my younger years, have impacted the course of my future.

So, when people say; “but you’re too young,” I gently remind them that being disabled either mentally or physical knows no age limit. Trust me, I’ve tried to just “get over it” but it turns out that, factually, PTSD doesn’t work that way.

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While it was yet to be determined whether I shall be permanently disabled or somehow negotiate a truce with my mental health conditions; I am actively seeking ways that allows me to once again take on the world with strength and vigor. I must nonetheless, prepare for the very real possibility that I will have to customize how I move forward.

Want to hear others talk about their wellness journey? Go to The Depression Files.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that many of you are staring at the same crossroads in your lives. My advice? The life you were accustomed to is disappearing in the mirror of time, you can in fact, be productive and find meaning in your life. Sure, it may not be at full throttle but from my point of view, fulfilling passion is very obtainable. Just don’t let them push you back to where you know you can’t go; don’t let that saying but you’re too young set you up for failure by pushing you back into a world that you know you can’t handle.

Remember, you and you alone have a choice where you put your energy. Moreover, you are the only one who knows how much energy you have to give, if you know moving forward looks different from the conventional norm, advocate for yourself, you know yourself better than anyone. You’re ready for this change in life and be sure that you fight for it.

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
Order today

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

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Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

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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