Sunset

More Important Than Ever

Finding my purpose has become more important than ever.

Thanksgiving of 2017 was a life-changing moment for me and not in a good way; at least not entirely. What started out as a warm and joyous occasion with family, ended with a young man’s last moments on earth. Upon hearing that there was an emergency on the front step of my aunt’s apartment building, I leaped into action.

Sadly though, I would be met with a wall of numbness and disassociation, rendering me unable to assist the young man. As a result, on this cool thanksgiving evening, the firefighter and long term care working in me died; leaving a shell of a man, standing beside himself, very, very, lost.

Symptoms Of PTSD

As much as I tried to shake it off and shut it down, like the big tough firefighter I thought I was, I could not. My nightly dance with the nightmares was too strong of a force to contend with; the flashback would damn near send me of the road and made it increasingly more difficult to bear. What’s more, my workplace was fraught with violence, and near constant noise. With this threat of being assaulted a constant and coupled with this noise, the new, not so cable self, was defenceless against its over stimulation. Essentially, I lived in zombie land, shut off so as to protect the shards of me that remained.

adventure beach lost man
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com – More important than ever.

Now, in twenty-twenty, I have only made baby steps down the road to mental wellness; with that said, I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that’s not saddened and frustrated. After all, I should be cured by now right? Wrong!

When PTSD Catches Up

With PTSD producing all this internal chaos; or, as I like to call it, the mental health storm of the century, I am left in a quandary. A battle that leaves me struggling to define who I am. Since I had no say in the “new me” I have no idea which direction to take. However, with all this uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to keep fighting like hell to find a me that can be defined; one that can contribute to society and an identity that finds purpose.

The One Thing I do have in 2020

Getting back to this holiday weekend and it’s overwhelming, triggering challenges, it has become more important than ever to take stock of all the great things I have in my life. Amazingly, it’s the practice of gratitude that propels more forward and because I am so fortunate, I have to believe that great things will happen along this long but healing journey. I have to have hope and perhaps most importantly, I have to keep moving forward.

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

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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After The Diagnoses

PTSD

In the last blog post, Mental Health Assessment: A tale of strengthI discussed how monumentally difficult it was to put myself through all those mentally draining assessments. I also wrote how I am very happy that I put myself through it. I was giving the demons inside my head a name. Identifying them was necessary if I was to win the war that has raged on for what seems like an eternity.

what to expect after a mental health diagnosis

With the diagnoses paperwork in hand, I recall getting into my car, unfolding the lengthy report and attempting to turn the black print on the pages into something my mind could comprehend. Hearing that I have PTSD was so much more impactful than I thought it would be. I was so disassociated by the time I landed in my car that I just sat there, a thousand questions flying threw my head. What did this mean for me and my future? When will I be able to go back to work? Can I even go back to work little lone where I have worked for the last eighteen years? The question that concerned more than any other was; How will those I am closest to feel about the official diagnose?

Eventually, I settled back into reality enough to drive myself home; from there, I went straight to bed. I could handle the world no more. Upon awaking I remember just repeating the words, “I have PTSD” over and over in my head.

I honestly thought that confirmation would have made things easier, I would now qualify for WCB and I could finally start to head down the road to mental wellness but I didn’t feel better, in fact,  I hunkered down into the safety of my own home for weeks, only going out if absolutely necessary.

Depression blanketed me with a weight that I had never felt before, so heavy that I was void of feeling, love, joy or hate, everything just stopped.

The only thing that didn’t change was the logical side of my mind, it took a few days off but eventually reported for duty and decided that no matter what happens, how bad things got, I would persevere and win my life back. Writing has been key to carrying on.

Moral of the story? Take the time you need to grieve then do whatever it takes to kick your mental illness’s ass. It will always feel like you are doing it on your own but You’re not, we are here for you.

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