A test of mental strength

A test of mental strength.

This holiday season will be a test of mental strength for all of us.

Before you reading, A test of mental strength, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

Today is the first week of December 2020, hard to believe that Christmas is just weeks away. Ordinarily, I would be excited for the season but this year? This year, it’s hard to know how to feel. With an uptick in COVID-19 cases, we may be limited to spending it with the people we live with. Although this is a hard pill to swallow, I understand the seriousness of the times we are living in.

In times such as these, I feel that we have a right to be disappointed. And its understandable that anxiety is high for most. In spite of this though, we can still choose where to put our energy. Albeit, easier said than done; there’s no denying that it will be A test of mental strength.

Yet, it is possible. So for example, while we may not be able to gather with our loved ones; we can still choose to embrace the day with those we are with. Furthermore, for those of us who are alone, it would go along way to boost spirits if we use things like video chat to connect and participate in the joy of the day.

How To use video chat to connect at Christmas.

Whatever happens, I am determined to do two things; One make the best of it and two, give myself permission to be sad about it. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly ideal, so I will set aside a bit of time to process that sadness, acknowledge that it is an appropriate response to the situation and the I will dive head first into a merry, modified Christmas.

I think it’s best to mentally prep for the day in advance. Having PTSD, I know it will try and steer me into the worst case scenario thinking. Therefore, it is imperative to help myself by saying; “Yes it sucks, but this year we will sacrifice to ensure that we can all gather next year.”

christmas gift boxes under fir tree
Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

For me, the holidays have always been my epicentre of gratitude. For years now, I have been using the festive season as a way to maximize my appreciation for all those I love. Essentially, when December 25 rolls around, and we are all still here, I breathe that in. This makes me happy and emphasizes for me the importance of family.

Thankfully, this perspective works well for me. It will, without a doubt be something that I think about a lot for the next few weeks. I know we can make the best out of these unprecedented times. Think not so much of this year, but look forward to the next. I will keep telling myself this.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

Equally helpful, is my experience in the emergency services. Despite that these years have damaged me, what seems like beyond repair; it has also taught me the frailty of life and thus, its necessity to embrace it. This includes learning to prioritize your time with those you love. Life, it really is but a flash in the pan.

This reality begs the question; If life is frail and over in the blink of an eye, what do we do to maximize it with the things that matter most? One answer, I think, is to do what’s best for those you love this year. We have the technology now to have a modified version of our most treasured of days. And while it will be a test of our mental strength, I am really excited that we have the ability to see my loved ones.

Please, be safe and have a great holiday season. We shall overcome.

Warmest wishes,

Jonathan.

In those momenets

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!

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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Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

PTSD comes standard with a hefty dose of collateral damage.

If someone asked me to describe what the last few years of my life were like, I’d tell them this; It’s been the biggest and most heartbreaking personal battle of my life. With that said, I am grateful that I was able to recognize the trouble I was in. In doing so, I avoided becoming a statistic. There has been however, a fair amount of collateral damage.

Personally, I don’t find that there is a whole lot of discussion around the damage our mental health conditions have. The damage it wreaks on our spouses and other loved ones is can be and often is, very devastating.

Speaking for myself, I know that I have been actively seeking solutions to minimize PTSD’s powers and depression’s ability to keep me captive. In doing so, I have been almost exclusively focused on myself.

Self-care, I believe it is absolutely essential for us to keep going. A recharge isn’t really optional when one has mental illness.

Collateral damage

But what of those who matter most? Who’s helping them? From my point of view, our symptoms radiate from within and spill out of us, infecting those around us.

A great example of this is PTSD’s startle response; To watch my partner walk around on eggshells because everything scares the life out of me, is heartbreaking.

While my reaction is a by-product of the PTSD, it doesn’t change the very real fact that she is impacted by it and by the multitude of other symptoms.

Partner have PTSD? Need help coping? Click here.

I work hard to try to acknowledge her feelings but a lot of the time the collateral damage is done. The pain is real and long-lasting and I don’t know what to do.

What I do recommend however, is that those who love someone with post-traumatic stress disorder find professional help for themselves. You are just as worthy and important as the person going through it, therefore self-care is vital. There is help, likewise, there is hope. It’s true that living with someone with mental illness can still be worth the fight, as long as you understand that you can’t absorb that flack without help. Go to our Mental health resources page for help.

I want to thank all the family, friends and especially spouses who stand by their partner and fight the good fight with them……… Much love to my own partner… I am eternally grateful for you.

If you would like to help keep us going, please hit the donate button and follow the instructions. Whatever you can give is really appreciated

You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

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

Proud to be one of the contributing authors this book! 20 authors, 20 stories of people with PTSD. Available for pre-order today

Lemonade-III-Front
Josh Rivedal
pre order today

About the Book

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 their 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 AT

Lemonade Stand Vol. III on The Road To Mental Wellness.

Depression's mindset

Depression’s mindset

Since the world fell to the mercy of the COVID-19 virus, I have been plagued with a low-grade sense of dread; a feeling that I have become all too familiar with over the years; my life has been held hostage by depression for as long as I can remember. To make matters worse, my mind has been hijacked by depression’s mindset.

Ways to cope though COVID-19:

Depression’s mindset

Over the years, I have learned that each mental illness has its own language; an interior dialect that can dictate how far down the rabbit hole I go. For example; when my anxiety disorder is speaking the loudest, it does so after it incorrectly accesses the environment I am in. When my anxiety is high, it will tell me that no one likes me.

Of course, this conclusion can’t really be true, can it? In reality, there’s no evidence of that. Similarly, depressive talk is responsible for brewing a deep sense of sadness within me. While this is somewhat obvious when we think about depression, its how my mind gets there that’s important.

Depression’s mindset is born out of the chatter in our heads.

In short, I am held captive by depression when I am experiencing the absence of something that gives me meaning or that I hold dearly; like friends and family. When denied, I find it difficult to defend my rational self; the sorrow just becomes too much.

How to find meaning in your life.

When this great brain invader speaks, my energy dwindles and I isolate myself. Pretty powerful right? So powerful in fact that it takes me out. Normally, I am a person with high energy and loads of passion. Sadly, but when the darkness settles over me, I am forced to retreat to my bedroom; mainly because of a few reoccurring lines bouncing around in my head.

Depression’s mindset

So then, what are these few dominating sentences that form depression’s mindset? Since my biggest passion in life is the love I have for family and friends, I tend to ruminate on them when I am experiencing a depressive episode.

What gets me down or exacerbates my lows is constantly thinking about their absence. Moreover, I tend to get angry at the fact that few of those I care for reach out. Although I understand that this is not done to be malicious, it nonetheless makes my isolation all the more difficult.

I mean, what the hell are we so busy doing?

What fuels the flames of this anger is this line; How can people not want to reach out when they care for someone? Sure, you may think about them often but that does little for those who care for you. I’m reminded of the old saying; “deeds not words.” Oneway relationships really cut and make you feel like you’re the only one trying.

Furthermore, my depressive voice only makes the dark even darker when I find myself saying; “It’s silly for people to use the excuse that they are too busy to call, go for coffee or stop in. To me, there’s no greater feeling then when someone whom you love calls and takes the initiative.

Want to hear other’s talk about their mental health journies? Then A New Dawn podcast is what you are looking for.

Sadly, this rarely happens. When I am well, it still bothers me but I manage it well; when held captive by depression’s mindset, it makes me want to sever ties with everyone. After all, why should I be the only one making the effort? Truly, does being “too busy” really trump the company of someone you care for? I mean, what the hell are we so busy doing? Binge-watching Netflix, playing video games and constantly staring at our phones? In my mind’s eye, we aren’t busy so much as we, just don’t “feel” like it.

you just might save a life

Equally sad, is that this “too busy” phenomenon has, at some point been normalized and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how we justify deprioritizing those who matter the most.

Finally, I remain hopeful that this unprecedented health crisis will help us to realine our priorities; to show us that we must make time for our loved ones; thereby cultivating our very real survival need for connection.

So, if you wish to quell your anxiety, fear and depression, put down that device, pause Netflix and whatever else you are doing and just reach out. You never know, you just might save a life.

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

Ebb And Flow
There is a sort of ebb and flow to PTSD and depression. …
A test of mental strength.
Let's make no mistake, this holiday season will be A test of …
Hang in, there is hope.
For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy; plagued by a …
Don’t let your illness define you
It was pointed out to me that we are more than our …

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