We can do better

We can do and we must do better.

With all this imposed time on my hands, I can’t help but think of life’s pros and cons; more specifically, how we lived pre virus. Without question, we have a lot of things to be grateful for; before this lockdown, we had convenience at our fingertips, many of us felt safe walking down the street and the option to hang out with people we care about was, in most cases, a quick drive down the road.

These freedoms are all wonderful things and I miss them terribly; pre-pandemic, I was struggling with enjoying them because of PTSD; even then, it was so tough leaving the house but I managed. One of my mental health goals was to get out with friends for coffee at least once a week. It’s these simple things I miss dearly. The lack of connection is taking its toll.

We can do and we must do better.

But what about the cons? I keep asking myself, Should we go back to the way things were? What contributions did our old ways have on our mental health? I can’t help but wonder if it did more harm than good; in fact, I think it did, especially to our mental health.

According to the world health organization, we could have been doing a lot better.

Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the burden of mental disorders. As a consequence, the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world. In low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder.2

WHO; Mental disorders; 28 November 2019.


Need help accessing mental health resources? Of to our Mental health resources page

This startling conclusion made by WHO is, in my view, something that I fell we should endeavour to fix once the fog and fear of COVID-19 have lifted. Without question, We can do and we must do better.

Although the mental health impacts of this virus are unknown, some experts are postulating that we will be facing what they describe as the next pandemic; they say that there will be an exponential rise in mental illnesses.

Read more: Mental health, the next pandemic?

what”s causing the rise in mental illness.

From my perspective, the old funding formulary needs to change to maximize mental health support for those who are in need. According to an article in Psychiatric Times, Mental health will cost 16 trillion globally by 2030; TRILLION!

Find the source of their article here:  Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development

So, with that, I ask you, what needs to change? Well, it’s worth taking a look at what has contributed to the mental health crisis. For example, our insistence on the value we place on work as we know it. To make matters worse, we have heavily invested in the myth that keeping ourselves busy is “good for us.” A myth that we wrongfully pass on to our children.

Is the amount of planet-killing “valuables” really good for us?

Perhaps the biggest issue I have with this notion is that it’s narrow in its scope and disregards how human beings are wired. Taking on too much produces stress and anxiety, as a result, many will develop an anxiety disorder; this is especially true with young minds. Is going to the point of absolute mental exhaustion really good for us? I think not.

Other contributing factors that may cause one to get sick include but are not limited to:

  • A serve lack of parental guidance: Our children are being raised by anything and everyone but us. A sad truth that can leave coping skills underdeveloped and thus making children more susceptible to anxiety disorders. In fact, a total lack of skills development can only cause them more distress; many kids are growing up disabled by having everything done for them.
  • The advent of social media: Our increasing reliance on it has replaced exercise and has brought everything from wars to bullies into our homes. How can this relentless onslaught of pain and suffering not contribute to one’s mental health decline?
  • Work: If you work Monday to Friday, you will only get eight out of thirty-one days off, eight! That means you spend the majority of your time working. Combine that with running with kids or whatever you do, your mind never gets a chance to rest. Similarly, our kids, some as young as four spend almost eight hours a day in school; they have homework and have extra circular activities on top of that. Again, where do we find the time to rest and be together?
  • Our linear view on the definition of success: Is the amount of planet-killing “valuables” really good for us?
  • Failure to recognize your limits: Remember, we are human, not superhuman; you will need and will have to take, time for yourself if you want to minimize your risks of illness.

“Is how I was living my life pre-pandemic really, the best way to live my life?”

These are but a few examples of how we’ve eroded our mental health; there are indeed many, many more. I think one of the most important questions to ask ourselves is; Why do we construct our entire lives in such a manner that is, in almost every way, the opposite of how we need to live them?

Moreover, why would we continue to carry on in such a way that has essentially cost us time with our loved ones and has made millions of us sick? It’s like knowing that there are dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. yet you choose to do nothing about it; ridiculous, right?

Instead of following our dreams, we plugged into technology and in doing so, we disconnected.

If it’s true that our old ways were making us sick, then what should our new normal include? When it comes to mental health, we must ensure that everyone gets the help they need and the treatment they deserve. This means funding that keeps pace with the prevalence of illness. Not only does it require more funding, but it also needs to be robust enough to adjust to the influx of mental health conditions after this pandemic is over.

Listen to other’s talk about their mental health journey at; A New Dawn podcast.

Perhaps we as a society need to do more than that, maybe our first step should start by each of us asking ourselves one fundamentally important question. “Is how I was living my life pre-pandemic, really the best way to live my life?” If you find that the answer is no; then getting back to “normal” will probably make you sick.

“While you were busy pushing your loved ones out of the way, time kept slipping away.

We need to do better, we have to, for the life we knew previously, was built on exhausting ourselves to the degree where we unplugged from the family unit, ran out of time for friends and left our dreams at the door of the job we took so we could eat.

Instead of following our dreams, we plugged into technology and in doing so, we disconnected, not only from those we love but from all the things that fuel our passion.

Is technology making us sick?

We can do and we must do better; so let’s demand better. Our reality isn’t really real in the sense that everything in our life that we view as essential is based on dependence; adduction if you will. Therefore, our minds are highjacked and conditioned into a buy, buy, buy mindset. This “normal” tells us that we aren’t happy unless we have the latest and great thing.

Wec can do better

WE NEED TO GET OFF THE 21ST-CENTURY, MAKE THEM INTO DRONES PROJECT AND REDISCOVER WHAT MAKES US MENTALLY WHOLE

Addiction: a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behaviour, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence the state of being addicted. merriam-webster

Our food, what we drink, the bills we pay, all chip away at our original design and make us into a tribe of disconnected, mentally ill and addicted consumers. Personally, I can literally see the definition of how we live within the official definition of addiction above.

So, what’s the cure? We need to get off the 21st-century, make them into drones project and rediscover what makes us mentally whole; love kindness and connection are fundamental for humans to thrive and be well. Therefore, If we reinvent ourselves and move towards true happiness, the road to mental wellness will be a shorter, smoother and afar less arduous ride. Yes indeed, we can do better.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

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

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness


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rendered me useless

Rendered Me Useless

As I rose from yet another sleepless night, I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. This seemingly out the blue spike in angst shot through me and in an instant, rendering me useless. Thankfully, I was able to knock it down a peg or two before it highjacked my entire day.

Even though I was able to defeat the demon within, at least for now, I was still left with why did it happen? My therapist tells me that trying to figure out its source is irrelevant; it’s more important that I focus on the “now” and working on ways to reduce its grip. By using therapeutic techniques like mindfulness I can get through most mental health-related incidents. But not always.

Having spent years in the fire service, I am primed to act, not just sit like some sort of spectator.

Despite what the therapist tells me, I have made it my life’s work to overthink and find solutions for everything that runs through my head. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to obsess or consume my time trying to find its source. Rather, it found me. Usually uncovering the answer provides me with some relief; not so in this case.

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

So then, what set my anxiety ablaze? The answer is simple, Covid! Covid-19. Its everywhere and the fear it produces barrows it’s way into my head and becomes all-consuming. This virus is much more than a two-week fad on social media, in fact, it has been quoted as being the new normal, at least for the for seeable future.

I am anxious, not because of my anxiety disorder itself, but because, my PTSD has rendered me useless

If I were to be more specific about the source of my episode with angst, I would have to say that I’m impacted by two things. Firstly, I must confess that I am constantly being triggered by the bombardment of updates; the news constantly fuels my mental illness fire. Post-traumatic stress disorder hates this sort of stuff. Secondly, I am and always will be a helper. Thankfully, I am still able to help others in the capacity of a mental health blogger and advocate, which is I am grateful for. However, I am primmed to act in times like these. My many years as a firefighter have conditioned me to be this way. Making order out of chaos is our specialty. Sadly, in my mind, these two factors have rendered me useless.

Rendered Me Useless
rendered me useless

Want to hear people speak about their mental health journey? Go here The Depression Files With Al Levin

In addition, my years working in long term care saw there own moments of turmoil. There have been many times in my career where my colleges and I have gone toe to toe with a virus or two. Mentally taxing and physically exhausting, it was all-out war We did our best to tend to the sick and tried to isolate people the best we could.

Looking back on my life, I had made a career out of combating the worst of the worst. Sure, it pales in comparison to what the world is going through now in terms of scale, nonetheless, my years putting my own mental and physical health on the line to help others gives me a glimpse into what is happening around the world. For me, it’s not hard to see why my anxiety was so high.

Not being able to help is my new normal.

I can only conclude that today, I am anxious, not because of my anxiety disorder itself, but because, my PTSD. It has rendered me useless in our darkest time of need. That is a very hard reality to accept. When you couple that with the stress of knowing what it’s like, working in these trenches, I can’t help but worry about my former colleges, my family and my friends. Please be safe everyone.

I also can’t help but think of people who are in the same boat as me. The former firefighters, paramedics, nurses and doctors who have been injured by their jobs and now watch from afar; stricken with a life long affliction with trauma and are fighting it now more than ever. I salute you!

With that said, we can still do our part to stop the spread of covid; we can do this by following the rules of social distancing, washing our hands and isolate ourselves if need be. Literally, the less we do, the more help we will be. In these most uncertain times, this is how we minimize the chaos and serve our communities.

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

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

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Didn’t See It Coming.

Didn’t see it coming

Didn’t see it coming: As if anxiety and PTSD weren’t enough, major depressive disorder too?

Out of all my mental health conditions, the one I never thought was an option was major depressive disorder (MDD). It crept under the radar, cloaked in my anxiety disorder; at least this is what I thought was the source of my woes. I guess I didn’t see it coming.

I have always been a fairly positive, up beat person so it came as a surprise when the psychiatrist diagnosed me with it. However, after exploring the symptoms and looking back on it now, I see it plain as day.

Signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Not only can I see it’s influence on my life, I can say with certainty that it’s been in the background since adolescence. In my teens, it was masked as moody teen behavior. Perhaps this is why the heavy dread went undetected.

“What’s more imperative is finding ways to minimize its impact on the quality of my life”.

Robbed of energy and full of inexplicable sad, I rationalized it away by thinking that everyone gets the blues now and again. But the Blues don’t generally cause mental exhaustion and physical pain, a fact I failed to observe for years.

These depressive episodes only became clear after I was diagnosed with PTSD. It was at this moment when I realized how interwoven the two mental health disorders were. The trauma I accumulated brought to my attention just how cyclic the moments of “blue” are. I have several episodes a year. How could I have mistaken this for normalcy?

This is a question that I struggle to answer, now at almost forty-four, I have excepted that I will never know. Honestly, I am ok with that. It’s source is now irrelevant. What’s more imperative is finding ways to minimize its impact on my quality of my life.

Treatment options for depression

Although it exacerbates my disconnect to the outside word; a disconnect that comes with the post traumatic territory, I work hard so I’m not swept away by its unrelenting feelings of worthlessness.

“improve your quality of life by doing your best to squeeze every drop of happy out of this life you’ve been given. “

One thing I recommend for you, is talking to those closest to you. Get their feedback on what it is they see about you. For example, you might think that you’re simply tired all the time and that’s why you sleep in a lot. but i is there more to it? Remember, be gentle, you are asking for their help.

see
Didn’t see it coming

Pay attention to how you feel, really stop and think about it. Am I feeling inexplicably sad and want to cry? Do I feel this way for more than two weeks? Do I withdrawal from things I used to love, family get togethers etc?

Since your here Checkout and share: Path To Mental Healing

If through your investigations you find cause for concern, maybe it’s time to see a mental health professional. Once you know for sure, you can restart your way down the road to mental wellness.

For me, I do most of the work between the lows so as to help me cope when they hit. Diet and exercise are key players in my recovery. Changing my eating habits have taught me the importance on good food’s health benefits, including mental health.

I know MDD can be discouraging but try and keep in mind it’s not something you can just get over. If in doubt, do some research you will discover that it is a real, legitimate illness that can be chronic and debilitating. You didn’t ask for it but you must tackle it. Is everyday going to be filled with joy? Not likely, but you can improve your quality of life by doing your best to squeeze every drop of happy out of this life you’ve been given.