IS THIS THINKING NORMAL

Is This Thinking Normal

Thinking back, I can’t remember a time when I felt what “normal” is supposed to feel like. But then again, What is normal? This tends to be a frequently asked question. Maybe its an individual’s experience that is their own sense of normality.

If this is the case, then how I feel inside, the heavy dread of anxiety lying to me with such frequency that I am forced to be on high alert for the next critical incident to manifest itself right in front of me – a disaster that in all probability will never materialize.
Even at its weakest, the angst of nothing still shouts at me in the distance, planting false statements in my head and convincing me that what I am hearing is the truth.

So, is this normal? What I have been going through all these years feels inescapable so it must be. Whatever it is, normal abnormal or otherwise, I long and I strive for at least entended periods of peace.

I used to mistake my anxiety and say I am a “worst-case scenario thinker.” I also held the belief that this made me a better firefighter, boy, was I taken for a ride. See, it can be difficult to differentiate the chatter that is mental illness from your authentic self; as a result, we end up assimilating the anxious talk into who we are. In other words, we believe it to be normal.

There’s no doubt that my years as a firefighter had benefited from my generalized anxiety disorder‘s thought patterns. The fire service has a way of creating a different mindset that is conditioned to see the potential for disaster and take steps to minimize that potential.

My worst-case scenario thought process coupled with this harm reduction approach that is ingrained in the minds of every firefighter, made my focus on the girls and guys of the department. I helped develop better accountability programs for equipment care. All in the name of safety.

Unfortunately, my inability to understand that my mental health condition was doing the majority of the talking, I ended up being completely lead by the powers of this anxiety, so much, so that I’m sure it guided me down the road of PTSD. It was at this juncture that I was so overwhelmed, so consumed with fear that I couldn’t even walk through the doors of the station. shortly thereafter, I walked away from one of my few true loves in life.

Are you in a similar boat? If so, ask yourself is this normal? Does it produce feelings of stress and angst on a near-constant basis, is it impacting my everyday living? Like me, maybe you’re being ruled by mental illness.



if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada


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

You may also enjoy: Slowly Walking My Way To Mental Wellness.

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Check out my friend’s blog here: anewdawnaa.com

 

After A Good Run

Today, I find myself sitting in the ER waiting room. Surprisingly, I’m the only one sitting here. It’s nice and quiet which comes as a relief to my nervous system but as you know, there are so many things that can be triggering for PTSD, the location being one of them.

I am waiting for a loved one to see a medical professional for an ailment. As I wait, I find myself wrestling with my mental health medical condition, PTSD. This hospital setting reminds me of my own work environment as they have many similarities, I work in long term care, helping those with mental illness and aggressive tendencies. My workplace has been a significant contributor to the erosion of my mental health. It’s loud, fast-paced and very overstimulating. Practically every aspect of my occupation is toxic to the post-traumatic brain. How PTSD and Trauma Affect Your Brain Functioning – Psychology Today
I slugged along in this mentally taxing environment for as long as I could but found that it wasn’t powerful enough to sustain the mental shield, the one I took to work every day. Essentially, I was being mentally assaulted every time I stepped foot in the building.
Eventually, the strength and endurance I once prided myself on had taken such a psychological beating that I had to surrender to survive. I am off work, employing everything I can think of to regroup, rebuild and regain my life back.
Sitting here in this ER, my mind is in overdrive, its side effects, are a numbing feeling that is fighting to disassociate, so I can cope with my surroundings. Moments come flooding back to mind that my workplace had imprinted on my memory; tragic moments of death and violence.
Ironically, as I sit there, writing this blog post, the speaker above my head erupts with a call for a code for a violent individual on the psych unit. This unit is very similar to the one  I work on. As you may have guessed, it’s exacerbating the PTSD symptom; now I am triggered, gone completely numb and have disassociated even more. Sorry, I no longer have the capacity to continue.

…….. Several days later..  Initially, when I found I was no longer able to continue writing this I thought I would conclude it right where I had left it but then I thought; “I need to add how I got through the mental health, almost crisis moment.” Perhaps my efforts to forgo a crisis may be of use to you.

I first off recognized that I was starting to get numb like local aesthetic that slowly starts to dull your physical pain. I was numbing to my surrounds in order to try to stay in the waiting room, this dissociation never works. At that moment, I had to ask myself “What Do I have to do in this very moment to help me get through it?” Recognizing and coping with PTSD (Verywell minded).

The following things helped me to get through it. I went outside to get some fresh air. – Doing this allowed me to, not only get fresh air but because I was outside I was able to take slow, deep breaths. As I did this I could feel my symptoms subside before I knew it I was able to return inside. This proved very helpful but because of the long wait, I found that it only acted as a temporary fix.

In the Valley where I live, I have mapped out many of the quiet cafes, libraries and other low stimulus atmospheres in the event I need to seek refuges from my anxiety and PTSD, or, more specifically, the causal factors that amplify my symptoms. Luckily, one of these low stimulus cafes was close by; good thing too as I needed to seek its shelter. I jumped in my car and headed there. After taking the time I needed, I found that I was able to get through it the day and avoided a crisis.

 So when you find yourself in the mental thick of it, perhaps the things I employ in those moments can help you too. Map out the low stimulus places, cafes, libraries and natural settings In your area so when you are faced with a triggering scenario you have options, thus a feeling of some control. I tend to think of them as mental illness shelters. Sometimes, the best thing you can have when you have a mental health condition is a plan.

If you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!


If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada
Contact me on my Facebook page: facebook.com/TRTMW

The Mental Health Work Injury

As I rise this morning and prep my morning coffee, I began to hear sirens off in the distance, lots of them. They are fire trucks. After fifteen years in the fire service, they are unmistakable to these veterans’ ears.

At one time, hearing them responding to chaos would produce a flow of adrenaline and kick my passion for helping others into high gear; now, they are replaced with fear, angst and a numbing dread, all produced by PTSD. Often times it sends me into a mental health crisis and holds me captive for the remainder of the day. For coping strategies for PTSD go here:

 PTSD ASSOCIATION OF CANADA 
The sounds of sirens cutting through the silence of the early morning air, evoke in me such a range of conflicting emotions. Not only does it produce feelings of body numbing, anxiety, racing thoughts and fear, it also, makes me very angry, sad and lost. Perhaps the hardest feeling of all is the feeling abandoned by those whom I believed to be my brothers and sisters of the service. The sound of sirens is an instant reminder of the sacrifices I made, time lost with family, and the mental work-related injury that I sustained while in the course of my duties.
Moreover, they are an instant, PTSD triggering reminder that I have essentially been left behind. So, I am angry on two fronts, this intense feeling of being forgotten, and I am pissed because I love the fire service, it’s in my blood and shall always be woven into the fabric of my being. Having this resides in my heart angers me because I knew that when those bay doors closed behind me for the last time, I knew that it was indeed the end. I am now a mere shadow of my former self and a distant memory by those I battled the beast with.

The mental health work injury called PTSD has destroyed millions and disrupted the lives of those who have been touched by its symptoms. Yet, like all forms of mental illness, it goes unrecognized as a legitimate work-related injury within the service. But I ask you. How is it different from any other injury? Its constant pain, its, in my case, injured me to the degree that I am not able to work, it’s managed by health care professionals; it also requires accommodation, symptom management and requires one to learn how to adapt their life to move on from dreams and passion they once were able to do with ease. Now replace mental illness with any physical injury; broken back, head injury etc. Now apply the requirements above to these physical injuries; symptom management, constant pain….. Again I ask you, How are they different from any other injury? THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. Wondering if you

Might have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD?) check here, Signs and symptoms of PTSD.

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

Facebook: facebook.com/TRTMW

“I feel like a discarded garden, left to wither and die”.

You may also enjoy: PTSD: The Impact Of Stigma On Firefighters

Please note: that if you think you may have PTSD, please contact your health care provider and talk to them. I highly recommend you request a referral to your mental health services.
There are also resources out there to help, organizations like Sick Not Weak, a non-profit dedicated to supporting persons with mental illness.

You may also enjoy: Spontaneous Mental Combustion


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