If I'm being honest

If I am honest

If I am honest, my old identity was killing me.

Today, I find it imperative that I am honest with all of you, myself included. My confession? Most times, I feel nothing. In fact, I feel so little at times that if it could be measured by a heart monitor, you’d see a flat line. Of course, my affect is not completely dead. I know this because every once in a while, there will be the occasional “beep” representing moments where I feel a moment of happy.

However, there is no device that can accurately display my truth; a truth that mental illness, specifically depression does hold me hostage more often than I’d like. Despite this, I if I am honest with you once more, depression’s mindset is designed to force me into isolation. While this isolation seems like it is of my own accord, it is, truthfully, not. I am being honest because I know in my heart, I would rather live in the sunshine than hide in the darkness; I mean, who wouldn’t. Therefore, I want to confront this demon.

This urge to hide from the world is, without question, PTSD. Oh, how I absolutely loath to see another life lost needlessly. Therefore, it seems safest to avoid all the potentials that lay beyond my front door. It’s pretty heavy stuff.

But it’s more than that. Many people who suffer from trauma, also have major depressive disorder. I am, unfortunately, one of these people. Let me tell ya; the two together make for the perfect mental storm. Their potential to do damage is enormous.

What it’s like having major depressive disorder.

If I am honest with myself, I have to admit, I hate this, I really, really do. However, like many things that have been laid at my feet, I must do what I have to. This includes, whether I like it or not, allowing these two disorders to run their course at times. Especially when super symptomatic.

If I were honest
Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com

If all this is new to you, if you have been recently diagnosed, hang in there. Let me tell ya. Honestly, it’s best to accept what lays before you too. Think of it, now that you know, you can research and rebuild a life that accommodates your illnesses.

I know my friend, it feels like you are being robbed of your identity. If you’ve followed a similar path as myself, a massive amount of who you are, was defined by helping others. This personality type is hard to untangle oneself from, but does one really have to? I argue that the answer is no.

Let me give it to you straight

Thankfully, the skills of a helper are fixable and very transferable. Honestly, there are endless ways to make a difference. When I could no longer work because of my mental health conditions, I ultimately decided to tackle it head on and start anew.

Once again, if I am being honest, I had to go through the pain of loosing who I was. I was a firefighter, a health care worker, and that’s all I knew; all I wanted to be. but…. I can’t be those things anymore, ever again…

Finally, after so many years, I have come to terms with my partial loss of identity. If I’m honest about it, I am glad those days are behind me. Why you ask? Well, Simply because what I loved so dearly and identified with so strongly, destroyed me. That by definition would be considered toxic in any other type of scenario, am I right?

The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

If it’s true that it was toxic for me, then why would I want to go back? Even though I have no clear direction at the moment, I have this: Firstly, I have the opportunity to heal from the life that brought me so much mental pain and secondly; My life is a blank slate and thus, full of opportunity. This is both scary and exciting and as I heal, I will fulfill my passion to help.

With all that said; like the book I co-authored; Lemonade Stand Vol. III, says; “When you’re handed lemons, you make lemonade.” So, that’s exactly what I have set out to do. During these most turbulent times in my life, I am finding the new me. As a helper at my core, I have dedicated my time to helping others by telling my story.

Rebuilding your life when mentally ill.

This blog, The Road To Mental Wellness is now part of the new me; My new identity if you will. From the feedback I have received since starting this venture, I can say that I am achieving the goals I have set out to accomplish. I want to continue to help others whist at the same time, find some therapeutic benefit too. Writing and advocating has been an amazing way to accomplish this.

At the end of the day, we get to choose where we put our energy, even if it’s not as robust and in a way we once knew. So then, how are you going to reclaim your own life? The possibilities really are yours for the exploring.

Check out one of my favourite mental health non-profits, fighting the battle against stigma; Sick Not Weak

If I were honest

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

A Critical Incident, yours?
While faced with memories of a critical incident or more, should we …
a difference a day makes.
I'm always amazed by what a difference a day makes. In the …
A Moment of Disassociation
a moment of disassociation.
A Side Effect
A few months ago I met with a chap who opened up …
LEAVE ME THE F*** ALONE!"

Leave me the f*** alone!”

Just leave me the F*** alone

One thing that I have always found both sad and interesting about my own mental health journey; is the paradigm between the health benefits of sleep and the lack thereof. Just imagine how much better life would be if nightmares didn’t constantly intrude on good night sleep?

It certainly appears to me, that the key to better mental health is a solid regime of good night’s sleep over a long period of time. It is often said that consistency is key. This, as far as I can tell, especially holds true for good mental health and the quality of rest one receives.

Benefits of sleep on mental health.

It’s damn sad really, this thing called PTSD. As time goes on I’ve grown to loath it yet, I have failed over and over to put distance between myself and the most tragic, and painful scenes I have ever strapped on the gear and responded to.

Read: Nightmares Aftermath.

Often, I hear myself saying inside my head, “please, just leave me the f*** alone!” Similarly, I find myself verbalizing near identical statements when flashbacks invade my mind, my eyes and my heart. Especially when I’m driving.

A complete list of PTSD symptoms.

LEAVE ME THE F*** ALONE!"
LEAVE ME THE F*** ALONE!”

Well it’s true, cursing and swearing, yelling and retreating never seems to be the cure; it is nonetheless is my desperate effort at trying to get through some of the most unbearable and vivid memories. Oh, and I would give anything to have my physical symptoms disappear. I get tired of having headaches, random extremity pains and this god-awful tightness that is so bad, my back and shoulders are full of knots.

The Road To Mental Wellness is made possible in part by readers like you… thank you for your support.

With all this said, I will once again close my eyes and begin the long nightly ritual of tossing and turning, of waking and being frightened. Not only will I try tonight with the hope that tonight will be “the night,” I will continue tomorrow night and the night after and the night after that. For I have purpose, I have love and I am supported. Therefore, I shall find the strength too soldier on.

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s finally ready.

I am excited to share that the i’Mpossible Project’s Lemonade Stand: Volume III (is available for order… today. Like, right now

I’ll be honest: This is pretty big. I, Josh, and Kathleen, have been curating this book for more than a year—fiddling with the right combination of stories, authors, and concepts. Kathleen and I have put our everything into this book. Absolutely everything. And you’re getting a little of us as well as the twenty incredible authors and stories when you get this book. It was exhausting and wonderful and a once-in-a-lifetime process to produce this book, and I am just now getting the confirmation I hoped for: It was all so incredibly worth it. Thank you for that. 

Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre

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

A Critical Incident, yours?
While faced with memories of a critical incident or more, should we …
a difference a day makes.
I'm always amazed by what a difference a day makes. In the …
A Moment of Disassociation
a moment of disassociation.
A Side Effect
A few months ago I met with a chap who opened up …

Unsurmountable odds.

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of going head to head with the heat of the fire ground. And looking back on those days, I count my blessings that I came home alive. Furthermore, I am proud of my contribution to the department and to my community. It has provided me so many valuable learning experiences that no amount of money could buy.

With all that aside, there are those out there who think that putting yourself in harm’s way is heroic; truthfully, most firefighters will tell you that they don’t see themselves as Heroes. I myself happen to be one of those. To me and many others in the service, we are simply doing what we signed up to do. Even though this is what we truly believe, it’s hard to argue that it takes a certain amount of courage to perform the duties asked of you in the emergency services.

Read: When Stigma Arises.

I don’t think there’s any question, even to the layperson that emergency service workers see things no one should really see. Indeed, the tragic side of humanity can be level 10 in intensity; many in the services try, to suppress this intensity. oftentimes winding up with the mental health injury, PTSD in the process.

I often refer to post-traumatic stress disorder as the disorder that keeps on giving because it’s never-ending; it’s torturous effects are hard on, not only the mind and body but everyone that surrounds you whom you love and care for.

Help for loved ones of people with PTSD.

If that weren’t enough, those who succumb to their injuries end up being the forgotten, the discarded and the misunderstood . This can be especially tough because from the time you enter the service, you’re often reminded of just how much of a brother and sisterhood it is. Sadly, like so many other organizations, the love can be conditional. Oftentimes, with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress occur, they can see you exiled from the family.

Like some sickly newborn animal, discarded by its family at birth, we are may get left in the wilderness to fend off what is essentially unsurmountable odds; all on our own.

So, in an attempt to overcome these unsurmountable odds, I have endeavored to bring awareness to, not only the services but also to the wider world and loved ones; who can have a hard time grasping our reality.

Looking For Help? Here’s our mental health resources page.

With that said, it is unrealistic for people in our position to assume that the world around us, including our one-time colleagues to totally understand what they are witnessing or experiencing from a person with PTSD.

In my opinion, at the end of the day all you can do is seek out like-minded folk who have a better grasp on what goes on inside the mind of the traumatic brain. furthermore, the reality is, that too large degree and probably for most of our lives, we will indeed be left in the wild to fend for our very survival.

I feel this way simply because no matter how supportive people are, it’s still a lonely and dreadful road to mental wellness. However, like back in the days where we worked ourselves to exhaustion to minimize the damage of chaos, and loss odlf life, we must work to absolute exhaustion to minimize the odds of a personal tragic outcome. Where at one time, getting to the belly of the beast meant extinguishing flames, for us, it now stands for extinguishing our own fires. PTSD is the fuel rhat keeps the seemingly eternal flame burning within our minds.

We may not all have the support we were expecting, nonetheless, we have each other.

Yes, our scenarios may be fraught with unsurmountable odds, but that does not mean we should give up; nor should we not dream of better days to come. Success should be measured in inches not miles, small achievements some days are the largest accomplishments. Please know, we are now the new brother and sisterhood, that of the PTSD clan. while it’s true that you may feel alone, you are not. Together we can beat these unsurmountable odds.

Order Lemonade Stand Vol 3 today!

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!

Click on the following link to order.

Lemonade Stand Vol 3

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

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