Denial is nothing more than a liar

Denial is nothing more than a liar

In life, there are many things that are hard to face. Chief among them for me is coming to grips with my mental illnesses. Denial is nothing more than a liar.

Ah denial, the one word that, for me anyway, means push any bad feelings down deep and that will cure em for ya. But is sucking it up really a good form of therapy? Sadly, I would come to realize that the word denial is nothing more than a liar.

While it seems obvious in retrospect, I nonetheless, like may others, adopted this approach. I guess that putting your head down and blowing through it is merely what we are taught to do.

There is however, a price to pay for not deal with our demons straight away; sadly, some of us never learn this lesson and the effects are dire.

I really thought I could handle it.

Have you ever had a moment in life where you were convinced you could handle something on your own? Then, once in the thick of it you come to realize that you’re in way over your head?

achievement activity adolescent arms
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com – denial is nothing more than a liar

Meet me, an old school dude who thought I could mange everything I was seeing and feeling; getting up with a feeling of dread, ever more intense with each morning. Not only was it accumulating from just going through the motions, it was slowly burning away my mental health because of the critical incidents I bared witness to; those calls that just never leave; rather, they simply get heaped on the pile and left there to fester.

Facing my pain, better late than never

Although I was only doing what I thought was proper at the time, the job of dealing with my ever-growing anxiety and mental pain became way too much for me to handle. As a result, I was forced to deal with the monumental mess I had been neglecting.

First off, I became aware that the feelings I was bottling up when I was taking more time off work than normal.

The very thought of planting my feet in that building, created an invisible wall of anxiety. And as this continued to escalate, I knew I had made a horrible mistake by not dealing with my mental health sooner.

Truth is, we can’t destroy ourselves as we try to navigate through life. Self-care is essential if we are to prevent ourselves from becoming sick. In my case, my denial lead me straight to a diagnosis of PTSD.

Here are my suggestions to help:

  1. Pay attention to the longevity of that feeling of heavy. If its constant, time for therapy. Don’t mess around when mentally not feel well.
  2. Taking more sick time? Time to dive into the world of stress management.
  3. Are you irritated more often than happy? Kick its ass with running and or gym time. Exercise is mother nature’s medication.
  4. Hate what you are doing? Slowly make your exit and into your passion.
  5. Never see your friends or family? We are all living on borrowed time, make your loved ones a large piece of the puzzle.
  6. Do you know you have something mentally serious going on? ACKNOWLEDGE IT. It will help free you before you’re off work and mentally disabled; like me.
  7. Finally, understand that denial is nothing but a liar.

If you’re already diagnosed and struggling, these suggestions may still help you manage.

My friends, I have lost so much simply because I thought I could handle being a volunteer firefighter, a long-term healthcare worker, a dad, a partner etc. I could not! In large part it’s because I didn’t take time to care for myself. So please, if you find yourself in very similar shoes, take the time to rest, recharge and connect with you’re loved ones. Your life may very well depend on it.

Pre-order the book I helped to write; Lemonade Stand Vol. III Today

Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of 20 authors who have PTSD because of their military and or emergency services background. They bravely tell their stories in hopes that will help end stigma within the services and within mental health in general. Its other objective is to give people who are afraid to speak a voice.

When I read the stories from the other authors, it was like I was reading the story of my own struggles. I quickly realized that this book will not only help those with PTSD but may very well provide their spouses and families with insight into their loved one’s mental illness.

20 authors tell their story of PTSD
Pre order today

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How are you feeling in the moment

how are you feeling in the moment

How are you feeling in the moment? This may be the most important question to ask yourself especially this day and age. Are you angry, sad fearful? More specifically, at whom is your feeling directed?

I bet you think you know the answer; my spouse and maybe even my children. But I think one can make the argument that who you’re really upset with is you.

Ok, of course, I can’t say that for sure but I feel like we spend a lot of time obsessing over the notion that we must be happy; all the time. With that said, a number of questions must be asked; questions like, What is my definition of happiness? How do I achieve it? and is happiness really what I think it is?

In order to answer these questions, one must do so honestly. Moreover, one needs to accept certain things about what it is to be human.

are we in a steady sate of being?

Therefore it should come as no surprise that our entire existence is full of contradictions. A fact that can, in some instances, lead us down the road to mental illness. For instance, we all know that we experience a whole range of emotions so if this is true, why then do we, at the same time, want to prioritize just one emotion?

What’s is this much sought after feeling you ask? It’s happiness. We chase after it like its some sort of tangible item, a trophy we deserve just for trying; we see it as the ultimate prize and winning it will make our fairytale dream life come true. However, this simply isn’t the case.

Want to hear about other’s mental heath journies? Go to: A New Dawn

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pursue what it is your passion about; what I am saying is that, along with the pursuit of our dreams, life’s ups and downs are proof that happiness is a real human emotion and therefore, subject to the ebb and flow that make us who we are. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can possess; rather, it is a fluctuating state of being, as are the rest of our emotions.

How are you feeling in the moment

the happiness – depression connection.

So then, if we accept that the idea that happiness is raw emotion and not something that we can permanently acquire, what are the psychological repercussions?

In my view, being happy all comes down to how we feel in the moment. However, our mythical conceptualization of happiness is, for, many, a road of pain, fear and anxiety.

How to live in the moment

This begs the question; is the pursuit of happiness really just a journey down the spiral staircase to mental illness? Because we as people are always in a state of emotional flux, one is bound to come head to head with their other emotions; anger, sadness, fear and frustration. Are they wrong? Should we beat ourselves up for them and feel shame? I say no.

What’s more, it’s how you are feeling in the moment that really matters.

Only you can truly answer these questions for yourself. With that said, if we buy into the idea that we should always be happy; won’t we be setting ourselves up for failure? Can our misunderstanding of emotions as a whole lead us to depression and anxiety, or, even worse, lead us to develop anxiety and depressive disorders?

Look at it this way, we can never always be angry, nor can we always be sad or anxious; happiness is the same. We would do well to work on staying focused on the here and now and not beating ourselves up for feeling the range of emotions that are innate in all of us. Furthermore, if you don’t achieve your goal of being permanently happy, remember two things; one, we were never designed to be and two, it’s ok that you can’t.

What’s more, it’s how you are feeling in the moment that really matters; accepting that we are creatures who come standard with a wide range of feelings, will, ironically, make one more satisfied with life. As you move through your life, you will experience an accumulation of wonderful memories, when you pasted together, you will see, just what it means to be happy.

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

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Hijacked by anxiety

hijacked by anxiety.

why we sometimes fasely think we hate ourselves.

As of late, I have found myself slowly accumulating angst; anxiety that goes far above and beyond my daily battle with the beast. I know now, that I’ve been suffering more as of late because of the times we are living in. A fact that never dawned on me at the beginning of the outbreak. I now know that I was hijacked by anxiety.

This deluge of bonus dread snuck up on me like some sort of stealthy ninja; it was so slick that I really didn’t see it coming. However, in retrospect, having generalized anxiety disorder, I feel like I should have known better.

regardless of what I should or should not have seen coming, the fact remains that I did not. So, I simply had to deal with its fallout; move through it and not hate myself for it.

I really can’t find evidence to say; “yes, I should hate myself.”

Although I tell myself not to hate myself and not to fall for mental illnesses powers of destruction; my anxiety hijacks my sense of reasoning, thereby turning my brain into the wild west. The main player is, of course, anxiety; with guest appearances from my depressive disorder and my old arch-nemesis, PTSD.

Once I caught myself being overtaken by my own mental health conditions and accepted it; I couldn’t help but think about how others were coping. There must be millions of others out there living in their own sea of fear and uncertainty.

Hijacked by anxiety

Likewise, there must be just as many individuals on every continent hating themselves for the way they are feeling. But, when you look at the neuroscience behind what’s making us hate ourselves, it clearly shows that we have little reason to believe that we are the awful people our minds make us out to be. Now, more then ever, we are being hijacked by anxiety on an epic scale.

Want to hear people talk about their own mental wellness journey? Check out The Depression Files

Even though science can clearly show that what I am going through is preception based on emotions and not necessarily that of reality; the neurological processes responsible, make this “I hate me” phenomenon look and feel real. Thus, this “false reality” is in fact, at least in my mind’s eye, real.

Despite what the science says, my own, real experience with self-loathing seems to be synonymous with low mood and a heavy sense of dread.

Thankfully, I have come to understand the difference between what makes me, me and what makes up the symptoms of my angst. In other words, I try not to let symptoms of a mental illness define who I am.

Personally, I prefer to call myself a worst-case scenario thinker.

Although I do have these feelings, I acknowledge them and try putting it in context. For example, Is what I am feeling natural given the current circumstances?(heightened anxiety) Absolutely! Moreover, is it appropriate to hate me because of world events that are beyond my control? No, there is no logical connection between the two; therefore, it’s the anxiety highjack at work. I really can’t find any tangible evidence to say; “yes, I should hate myself.” Here’s why.

our brains on anxiety.

A more in depth look at anxiety and the brain

Our brains are amazing! This malleable mass that sits between our ears is responsible for making us who we are. It’s so perplexing to me that this lump of grey matter, weighing just three pounds, is responsible for driving our temperament, how we interact with others and the wider world around us.

Sadly though, it’s susceptible to corruption; both by other regions of the brain and by external influences. There can be many reasons for this; however, anxiety and or anxiety disorders are a great example of how we can be hijacked by anxiety.

How anxiety disorder effects our brains.

Now, with all that said, let’s use my generalized anxiety disorder as an example. Simply stated, my angst is exacerbated over anything and everything and it never shuts off. Therefore, The results of this turn me into a clinical worry wort a fact that I find very disheartening at times. So, personally, I feel better when I refer to myself as a worst-case scenario thinker.

for those of us with anxiety disorders, this response is literally running the show.

So just how exactly does anxiety work? What gives GAD so much power in the first place. Anxiety is thought to come from our old brain or limbic system; more specifically, there are two almond-shaped structures in the brain the help with emotional regulation. Its main job is to modulate emotions like; anger, fear, sadness and, you guessed it, anxiety.

This cluster of nerve cells lurking near the base of our brains is the main driver of our fight, flight or freeze response; basically throwing us in survival mode. This is a very useful function when facing the prospect of being eaten. This prehistoric alarm system has helped get humanity where it is today. However, in a busy modern world, most of the fear we experience is not immediately life-threatening. With that said, our every busy lifestyle and exposure to tragic news twenty-four-seven keeps us on constant alert.

For those of us with anxiety disorders, this response is literally running the show. We are often in this fight, flight or freeze mode for no discernable reason.

“When it comes our brains, our emtional centre seems to take precedent over logic and reasoning.”

While it may seem like there is no seemingly real reason for your anxiety to be ablaze inside your head, I can assure you there is and it’s rooted in our neurobiology. Here, let me explain. Have you ever noticed that the more anxious you are, the less you seem to be able to think clearly? Does it feel like you’re fumbling around in a fog, full of forgetfulness? Maybe you felt like your memory has gone on vacation or your concentration has checkout? That’s because all this is really happening…For real!

Mental symptoms of anxiety

While it may seem like it, trust me, you are not losing your mind. I know, I know, it feels like we are; sometimes we even feel like we are going to die. Of course, the good news is that we are definitely not going crazy and so far, at least in my experience, I haven’t died yet. All of these feelings are anxiety-driven. They also include that self-hatred feeling.

I would encourage you to challenge this notion by looking at it with your logical brain.

Ok, so what’s really going on when all this occurs? Essentially, the amygdala highjacks the part of the brain that is responsible for your personality, your ability to reason and to make good decisions. This area is known as the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain sits just behind your forehead, cool eh?

Higjacked by anxiety

So, why the heck does the amygdala do this? Well, simply put, it senses danger, real or imaginary. And in sensing this danger, it overrides and dictates all priority to your survival. in other words, it doesn’t need you to think or rationalize. It feels like you need to flee or fight.

Sadly, this emotionally driven dominance over the frontal lobe of the brain seems to be “always-on” in people with anxiety disorders and wreaks havoc in their daily lives. Imagine, living in a blanket of brain fog, not having full ability to concentrate; man, it’s hard work trying to keep up.

Lastly, it’s tough trying to wrestle with this I hate me notion; no matter how untrue it is. Just remember that in all probability, you were hijacked by anxiety. I would encourage you to challenge this notion by looking at it with your logical brain; if you can find little evidence of this, then it likely isn’t the truth.

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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