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

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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
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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

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Social Media Therapeutic or Harmful

Once I walked out through the doors at the workplace for the last time and walked my way to a world that was not only overflowing with mental pain that was starting to bust out of my seams, I also faced a world of complete uncertainty.

This uncertainty, as you might well imagine is scary, to say the least. In the early days of being off work, I had no supports in place, no routine and, as a guy who needs to be constantly busy, this didn’t help matters any; especially in the mental health department. If you have been following my wellness journey here on The Road To Mental Wellness, Then you will remember that one of my favourite sayings is: “You get to choose where you but your energy”. Refusing to remain idle and allow the voice of mental illness to consume my authentic self, I set about finding ways to keep myself busy.
I have always been a helper, it’s what I do, it’s where I get my energy. You can look at it as my default setting in which defines who I am. So I naturally gravitated towards helping others. This time, my focus would be on those who are frozen in fear of stigma. I was then and still am now telling my story and hoping that it resonates with people; enough to put them on their own path to mental wellness.
Taking on this very important work in this day and age, social media is a necessity. You need to find ways to drive traffic to your blog. The work that goes on behind the scenes, just so you can read this post is very time-consuming. It involves networking with other mental health bloggers, getting your page to rank so it will be seen on Google and lots must be done to build and maintain an audience. Like advertising when you publish new material. 
This brings me to the heart of this post. I have found social media very therapeutic and have met many wonderful people from all corners of the globe. However, it does have a sinister side that can be just as toxic to one’s mental well-being, as toxic as forgoing treatment. The devil that lies within the binary code that is the algorithms all social media platforms use, can have detrimental effects.
These algorithms are experts at picking up what you involve yourself in. If you’re a huge fan of cars or flowers, your feeds will be dominated by all things car or flower related. Wonderful, for these are more passion-driven and can produce a lot of useful, even joyous information. But when the subject matter deals with the difficulties that come with life, this algorithm can encase one in a person of their own struggles. In my case, it can hinder any progress I make with my PTSD, Anxiety and depressive disorders. All I ever see are mental health adverts, other bloggers in my follow the cue and sponsored ads for mental health organizations.
It is for this reason that my social media presence isn’t as prevalent as it is recommended. Honestly, I can’t do it, It throws fuel on my mental illness fires that are always burning inside of me. But, like all things, I strive for balance and limit myself to mornings and I periodically glance at it during the day. Committing time to friends and family is essential for me; so in that sense, social media doesn’t work for me. Anyone who blogs can tell you that it can consume you. Something I’m not willing to do is allow the “customized user experience” to tweak the reward centre of my brain, leave me addicted and thus worse off with my mental health than when I started. For more on The impact of social media on your mental health, check here.

If you are into mental health blogging and feeling worse than when you turned to it for help, maybe you need to throttle it back and find the best balance for you. I believe that minimizing mental illness impacts is a holistic endeavour, one that requires exercise, downtime and the right amount of real social interaction. So, Mental Health bloggers, Is social media therapeutic or harmful? It’s worth taking a serious look at and fine-tuning your tolerances so you can continue to do what you love. If I only reach ten people, that’s ten lives I have helped. When you think about it, that’s awesome! I don’t worry about the number of page views, likes and shares, I worry about my health above helping the entire world. For tips on managing mental illness go here: How to stay mentally well. 

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





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