Damage our mental well-being.

Damage to our well-being

Part 3. What are the factors that cause damage to our well-being?

The first time I took leave from work because of my mental health, I went into solution mode. I needed A fix that would see me making a comeback. But I was determined to this it right. I needed to be more than just functional, I needed to be even more mentally robust than ever.

How was I going to pull that off? After much research and a strong desire to move forward, I found the magic pill; I like to call it mother nature’s medication.

Natural ways to ease mental illness.

So, what is this smoking gun? Exercise; accompanied by a clean diet. When I start to apply what I had learned, I found that my mental illness, an anxiety disorder, was so much more manageable. In fact, adopting a healthy lifestyle was so effective at alleviating my symptoms that I was able to return to work.

While this was no doubt effective, what it wasn’t was a cure. All I needed to do to find this out was to go back to what exacerbated my metal illness in the first place; a lifestyle of sitting and eating the Western diet. Fast food and sugar can be considered stables in this diet.

What I learned from my obsessive research was surprising. My weight, it turns out, was a major factor in, not only my mental health decline but also to my overall health in general.

This fact was nothing short of a revelation for me. Never before had I given my excess weight any thought, much less seeing it as a clinical health condition. This perspective changed everything.

Being overweight was a health condition? Learning this fact changed the way I saw my weight, my mental health and my physical health. The only thoughts I did have about my weight, was a sense of self-conciseness.

Damage to our well-being
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

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Thankfully for me, science took the shame associated with my weight and made it seem like it was fixable; fortunately, it is indeed something one can fix. In my mind, I began to see that getting into shape was merely the treatment plan.

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With the majority of the shame out of the way, I was free to tackle my generalized anxiety disorder head on. I was motivated by this notion that I had a medical problem, not a social one. With that, I set out to improve my health not lose to weight. Looking at it as “improving my health rather than “losing weight” alleviated all the stress and social pressures that come with self-improvement.

How a good diet and exercise help the brain.

So, was my weight all my fault? I think my answer to this question is a yes and a no. I am a firm believer that self-improvement is ultimately our responsibility. However, science tells us that the Western diet is full of addictive properties. Substances like sugar are but one of many. Some studies indicate that sugar is more addictive than cocaine; an illegal street drug.

Is sugar addictive?

What does this mean? It means that I had an addiction and like that other addictions, comes dire consequences. With that said, I don’t believe in using the old, “I can’t help it, I have an addiction.” line. In my view, this statement is more damaging than the actual disease. Why? Well, because it gives us license to continue to do major damage to our well-being. It’s a slow burn that eats away at our mind, body and soul.

As someone with a background in addictions, I know that addictions are among some of the toughest challenges a person can face. I also understand that because they are so hard to overcome, it can be perceived as easier to continue on that path. However, as we age and continue to live a lifestyle that feeds our addition, we are often faced with an ever-increasing amount of health problems. Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease to name a few. And you guessed it, higher rates of mental illness.

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Sure, we may have an addiction, but we have no excuse not to try, not when this lifestyle is causing so much damage to our well-being. Additionally, I firmly believe that the only way we truly fail is if we give up. Even then, we can get back on that horse and try again. You may find it helpful to ask yourself:

  • What are the consequences of continuing this way of life? Write down as many as you can think of.
  • What if I looked at my unhealthy lifestyle as a medical condition instead of seeing it as socially shameful? (change your perspective).
  • What will the positive outcomes look like as I make my way to wellness.
  • What are my end goals? Realize that this journey is incremental, incremental is another word for progress.
  • Lastly, who else will benefit from my journey?

Please, be kind to yourself, your battle is hard enough. While it’s not a simple task, go slow and with purpose, never lose sight of why you are doing this; you don’t only want to lose weight, you, more importantly, want to be well.

This adventure in re-discover we are on will definitely help minimize the damage to our well-being. And as we go down the road to mental wellness, we will start to notice that we are stronger; not only physically, but mentally too. You can do this!

Checkout the book I helped to write — Available for pre-order

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!

Pre order today

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Nightmare's aftermath

Nightmare’s aftermath

PTSD nightmares just cause everything to be worse I call it Nightmare’s aftermath

One of the trademark symptoms of PTSD is the nightmares; a patchwork of post-traumatic memories that lurk in the shadows during the day and wreak havoc throughout the night. Maybe what lurks in the shadows during the day are the flashbacks?

In my view, these nightmares can be the cornerstone of PTSD’s power. I believe this because when I wake up in the morning with a deep sense of dread, it’s the nightmare’s aftermath that can derail the entire day.

With that said, this aftermath, may not be on your radar as a reason for your heightened symptoms during the day; but they very well could be the cause; a thought worth exploring I would say.

Think you may have PTSD? Go here: Symptoms of PTSD.

If the nightmares in themselves weren’t enough, the lack of sleep from them is intolerable at times. These two factors are, for me, at least, a recipe for a very triggered day.

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Every symptom is heightened; the startle response, the irritability, the flashback can be more pervasive and my mind thick with a mental fog. So thick in fact, that my thoughts strain to make their way through the merk.

The double-edged sword in all of this? The nightmare’s aftermath dominates the day. Not only because of the nightmares themselves but because of the overall lack of sleep.

So, essentially, the nightmares act as a terrifying ignition point and the lack of sleep is its steady state fire it produces. As many of you may already know, sleep is fundamental for good health and our mental health is no exception. In fact, a good night’s sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your well-being; right up there with a good diet and exercise.

What can be done to quell the nightmares and get a good night’s sleep?

Fortunately, there are many things that can be done. For instance, getting a referral to a psychiatrist. I recommend them over a general practitioner simply because psychiatric disorders are their specialty. They can find the right meds to help you sleep and deal with the PTSD symptoms, like the nightmares.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com – Nightmare’s aftermath.

In addition, see a psychologist that has training in PTSD and its treatment approaches. They can train you in mindfulness and often have training in EMDER therapy; (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). A therapeutic approach that has been found to work well with people with PTSD.

And finally, the big three, diet, exercise and connection. They will take you a long way to feeling like you again. I know, the last thing you want to do is put yourself out there but let me tell ya, it’s good for you. Let’s not let the PTSD run the show.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed to be a cure all but if we can get the nightmares under control, we will sleep better and our PTSD symptoms will be more manageable. The elation I feel when all of these elements come together is amazing. This is why I continue to fight every day. Life is better when you set out to defeat the nightmare’s aftermath.

Thanks for reading Nightmare’s aftermath Pre-order 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.

Lemonade Stand Vol. III
Pre order today

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I came alive at thirty-five



let’s face it, we all have a past and we all have hang-ups that we simply don’t confront. While this may be true, there are many of us who remain mostly unaware of the things that cause us conflict. Sadly, I was the latter of the two. Fortunately, though, I came alive at thirty-five

As I am sure is true for many of you, my latest episode of being off work isn’t my first. In fact, I have been off for mental health-related difficulties twice before.

It was under those circumstances that I began the process of deep self-evaluation. What was it that landed me off work? To find an answer, it would mean that I would have to be honest with myself and put the work in. From my point of view, when you’re unsure how to make that happen, you turn to the professionals

How do I know if I have a mental illness

On the positive side, my counselling background made this lege of my journey very easy. For those of you who are seeking answers for your own interior turmoil, think of it this way; when something isn’t working right, we know that we have to call in the pros; plumber, mechanic etc. Well, when faced with issues of a psychological nature, a trained mental health professional is the go-to for all things psycho-emotional related.

Fortunately for me, my knowledge gave me the courage to seek the help I needed; a good thing too because while I was aware that something wasn’t quite right, I knew that whatever it was, it was getting worse. This fact was made especially evident the first time I went off.

why did I wait so long?

As is true with most things requiring maintenance, I let my not so fully operational brain go until I was left little choice but to fix it. And, as with most things, there’s a higher price to pay for “toughing it out.” I foolishly thought that I could manage the havoc inside; boy was I wrong.

Came alive at thrirty-five

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In my case, I let my anxiety disorder fester to the degree that I found myself off work. In other words, I waited too long. Since then, I have worked hard on correcting the problem; I’ve been doing so since I was in my mid-thirties. In fact, I often say I came alive at thirty-five.

I believe that you can to…

You read that right, I waited thirty-five years to try and fix me; I suppose one could say that’s sad, however, I will be eternally grateful that I started when I did. I have learned that perspective also impacts our wellness.

Not only do we need to enlist the help from our doctors and psychologists, but we also have to put in work. For me, this means a holistic approach. changing my diet, getting regular sleep and exercise. Since then, I live by the philosophy of better late than never.

I am happy that I did include all of these things as I throttled down the road to mental wellness because they worked! As I implemented them I started to notice a better, more calm self.

Want proof? Here is where I would link a study that you could access to leand credibility to what I am saying but, instaed, I will challenge you to try all of these life savers for yourself. I will however give you this:

How to safely start an excerse routine.

So, in short, as long as you are alive, you have the capacity to create opportunity; and thus, a chance to get make yourself whole again. Ultimately, the best advice I can give anyone with a mental health condition is, do it in baby steps, everything you do gets you closer to a better you. While it may be true that mental illness doesn’t necessarily allow for a constant routine, I still had great success in getting to a better place.

I believe that you can to… I came alive at thirty-five, so regardless of your age, I am living proof that it can be done.

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