This could be the key to moving FORWARD

This could be the key to moving forward. Let your passion be your guide to true fulfilment and happiness. Don’t wait, follow your passions now and find your true happiness.

for many years, I spent my life in fear of what other people would think if I followed my true passion in life. Now, in my mid-40s, I’ve decided but I would walk away from this internal script and follow my dream of being a writer. So, an early fall of 2019, I started The Road To Mental Wellness to save myself from myself. While I pursued my dream and an attempt to alleviate my mental pain, my advice is to never let life get to the point where you need to work it out. You should listen to your passion. For this could be the key to moving forward in a life full of what you love, not merely going to work. You got this!

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Signs of strength

Signs Of Strength When mentally Ill.

When I started my wellness journey, it was met with fear and uncertainty. I was unsure for my future. Nonetheless, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for battle. Leading up to this wellness journey
I was barely clinging to the everyday routine of my life. Like a broken branch being violently tossed about in a windstorm, so too was everything I ever knew. I was caught in the turbulence of a force that I had not yet experienced. I’ve had my moments of being pretty ill in the past, but this time it just felt different. I learned that you have to look for signs of strength when mentally ill.
A new demon had rolled into town threatening to uproot the mental illness that had already staked its claim on my headspace. This new sickness moving to town wasn’t completely foreign to me, I had wrestled with him in the past. When this disorder caught up with me this time however, I grossly underestimated its strength, as a result, it slowly overpowered and incapacitated me. This overwhelming force is the mental disorder known as (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder.
Before this adversary, I was at odds with my resident mental illness, (GAD) generalized anxiety disorder. Powerful in its own right, it was a trickster I knew far too well to be defeated by it on its own. I was battling the angst it produced and winning the vast majority of the days’ battles against it.

it’s up to you to find the help you need and discover what those tolerances are.

It came at a cost however, my fight or flight response was always engaged and causing a significant amount of mental fatigue, but I knew this and compensated for it; going to bed earlier was just one of the ways I coped. I was still king of the mental health castle.
That all changed when the PTSD and the GAD started a turf war vying for absolute supremacy over my mental health. I could slowly feel the happy being withered away, caught in their crossfire.
Despite my health being held at the mercy of the two, I still went to work, still forced a smile on my face and tried to be the positive helpful John I had always been. I diligently fulfilled my personal obligations and went through great lengths to ensure my kids were none the wiser. Something had to give though, socially my life took on serious damage as I increasingly sought refuge behind the safety of my own four walls and as the battle within intensified, the need to withdraw became more and more frequent.

I gave up, retreated. Exhausted, I stayed at home, I was defeated, too weak to fight on; or was I?

At some point the two disorders decided to call a truce, good news right? Wrong! They figured they could have ultimate control over not only my mind, but they also realized that they would be stronger together, and they formed an alliance and have now attempted to take my soul and body as well. I was up against two very, very clever adversaries, and up to this very day they have wreaked havoc with my health, not only mentally but also physically.

Now allies at war with me, I felt powerless to combat the two, I felt weak, lonely, and defenceless. They were the perfect storm, intense and always in my head. The PTSD produced so much fear that I made retreating from public my second occupation. I constantly lived in fear of the possibility of seeing death or having to render aid to someone in an emergency. I was reactive to every little noise and the outside world had become way too loud and intolerable.

may I suggest that you are not weak and definitely not alone.

The GAD amplified the fears I had and still have around death, and being the ever-constant storyteller, it will construct scenarios of people dying in front of me in any number of ways.

See, the perfect partners. Their combined powers were too overwhelming and I eventually conceded to their power and became unable to face my job, the world around me, or enjoy the company of my loved ones. I felt like the weakest most useless person on earth, and I felt I had little choice but to surrender to my woes. With a feeling of shame and experiencing a numbing and persistent sadness, I gave up, retreated. Exhausted, I stayed at home, I was defeated, too weak to fight on; or was I?

Taking leave from work and faced with a lot of time on my hands I found that being absent from the constant stimulus of my occupation and the outside world, allowed me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the events in my life and all the effort I had put into trying to live a “normal” existence. Getting up every day, dragging myself through the everyday trials of life, work, kids, bills, dealing with conflict etc.
While all at the same time fighting not one but two mental illnesses and their tendencies to take the wheel and drive through whatever they wanted, like two teens without a license, taking me along for their destructive ride. Yet despite all this, I was raising my kids and doing a pretty good job. Not being able to work and contribute, although very tough, it made me realize that I had a tremendous support system.
“We the mentally ill don’t necessarily have disabilities, we have smaller tolerances, we simply need to learn how to work within them.”
(John Arenburg).
replaying my story in my mind, I have rightfully concluded that I wasn’t weak at all, that taking the time off was not a shameful act. I was merely aware enough to understand that my illness made me to sick to work, and perhaps, more importantly, it wasn’t because I was weak that I conceded to the PTSD and GAD, it was just out of pure exhaustion, battle fatigue if you will, physically and mentally spent. I needed and still, need time to get better.

What to hear real-life mental wellness journeys? Go to A New Dawn

I believe that if one exceeds their tolerances in life, as I had for many, many years one naturally, but incorrectly feels weak; simply because they are living up to someone else’s standards.
I think we would thrive if we acknowledge that we are all costumes made and have our own threshold, once exceeded we simply tire to the point that our body and mind say “enough”! Also, when we go against our own grain, neglect our true passions we then start to become ill and end up slugging our way through it because of our socially-expected obligations.

If this story sounds similar to your own, then may I suggest that you are not weak and definitely not alone. You’re also far from useless, you are a pillar of strength, an example of one who is strong; just drained and your tank is on E. Yet, despite this, you keep going.

I have had the honour of hearing many people’s life stories and I have yet to find one example of weakness, not one.  It’s OK to take time to re-learn your tolerances and as with any other illness, mental disorders come with their own challenges that need accommodation on your part, it’s up to you to find the help you need and discover what those tolerances are. these are all Signs Of Strength When mentally Ill.

To learn more about your limits click here: Mental illness and knowing your limits

Email:roadtometnalwellness@gmail.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/TRTMW

The Road To Mental Wellness

The very act of making my story public wasn’t and still isn’t an easy one. Despite this, It’s imperative that I do so, so I can continue down the road to mental wellness.

Welcome to the Road To Mental Wellness, a blog that I created to tell my story; a story of my long arduous battle, that of depression, anxiety and PTSD.

You see, doing nothing about my illnesses wasn’t and still isn’t an option for me. If it’s do or die, I’m going to choose to do, every time. The idea for this blog came to me after I began to write a book on my own struggles with mental illness. You see, I was so debilitated by my illnesses that I had little choice but to take leave from work and do whatever I had to do to get well again.

With that in mind, I put my energy into this book project as an attempt at a therapeutic intervention; while at the same time seeking many other avenues to wellness. Equally important, it gave me purpose while I waited to hear from a mental health professional.

Want to read more about my mental wellness journey? Go here

It was while writing this book, I decided to share my ideas with close friends and family. Their feedback ignited a passion in me. One that simply said; “you need to take this project a bit further, to look beyond yourself. So, The Road To Mental Wellness was born.

How to combat stigma

Frustrated by the way mental health is handled, I began sharing pieces of the book to with even more people; looking for feedback. This was to see if I was accurately communicating what I wanted my blog’s message to be. More than that, I wanted to gauge just how large the problem really is.

Even though my intent was to gauge how people felt about mental illness, what I discovered during the feedback sessions was this: Other people were more than willing to open up about their own journeys. As long as they felt safe to do so.

Furthermore, they also told me they felt like the book could help many others because it is a first-hand account, not a professional with a clinical background in mental illness. The readers felt that it could potentially be more relatable, more real and thus help more people.

As the sample readers with their own mental health challenges bravely opened up to me, I started to see commonalities within their stories. And upon learning of their struggles, I set out to talk with many others about my own challenges with mental health. I thought, “I might as well tell more people if it would help others discuss tell theirs.” In doing so, it quickly became apparent to me that I wasn’t the only one who needed a voice in this silent epidemic.

“I hope that we can bridge the gap, erode the stigma and create an alliance that helps everyone!” 

Sadly, most of those I talked to who are suffering from one mental described feeling fearful, lonely, isolated and dis-empowered.

A good example of what perpetuates one’s fear of speaking out is losing one’s job. Unfortunately, if people were to be honest about their illness, this could happen; a risk they don’t want to take. Therefore, they remain silent. A sad truth, one that I became emboldened to battle.

So… Being that my lifelong passion has been in helping others, I felt compelled by this mission. Fuelled by the commonalities of the suffers fears, coupled with being just plan tired of felling the same myself.

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

I decided that it was go time; time to face my own fears; fears that were echoed by the of many, and say F**k it! For all these reasons, I started to chronicle my ups and downs; on Facebook in the form of pictures and videos.

They display my good and my bad days. My hope is that those who sit in the shadows can see that they are but one of many.

Need help? Go to Crisis Services Canada

“LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER!”

The very act of making my story public wasn’t and still isn’t an easy one; I take no joy in”putting it out there.”  It tends to “feel wrong,” my mental health tends to hate it too. Nonetheless, knowing that so many are quietly eroding in the storms of their own illnesses; my genuine desire to help others pushes me onward.

Want to hear about people who are suffering just like You? Check out A New Dawn Podcast.

In doing so, the results of this social media adventure have been nothing short of amazing. I was totally taken back and inspired by the outpouring of support I received for myself but mostly.

I was and continue to be inspired by the number of people who so courageously reached out and wanted to tell me their stories. Furthermore, I am very honoured that they choose to talk to me about their everyday battles.

So here we are, blogging in an attempt to reach even more people, not just the sick but also those who are well.

Those seeking to better understand the plight of those who suffer day in and day out. I hope that we can bridge the gap, erode the stigma and create an alliance that helps everyone down the road to mental wellness.

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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