Moving ahead with purpose

Moving ahead with purpose

Keep moving ahead with purpose.

Before you reading, Moving Forward With Purpose, 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

There’s an old saying that I have grown rather fond of over the years. No doubt you’ve heard of it too. It’s this “put one foot in front of the other”. While it’s not that long and is seemingly unremarkable, it has nonetheless, seen me through some of my darkest days.

One of the reasons this short sentence ended up being on my favs play list is because when I think of it, it reminds me to slow down and that my battle is a hell of a battle. I need the right weapons to go to war. Plus, when I “slow down,” I can regroup and remind myself that I am indeed moving ahead with purpose.

Purpose, a single word loaded with a whole heap of helping potential. This was probably the single most important take away from my time at Rally Point Retreat, a peer support facility for service persons with PTSD. The owner told me that peer support is so important because it can help to define ones new purpose for moving forward.

Finding Purpose with PTSD

If you’re struggling to understand just how fundamentally powerful the word purpose is; perhaps you need to ask yourself these questions; How far can one make it without a sense of purpose? And furthermore, how can one see a future without it? Undoubtedly, you will reach the same conclusions that I have.

See, one small seemingly insignificant word does indeed play a pivotal role in one’s success, even at the best of times. But I happen to think that, for those with a mental health condition, it can be a matter of survival. I know in my case, it is, at times, the one element that can make me or break me.

Because I am also on the main battlefield of my own mind, fighting not only PTSD, but also major depressive disorder, I NEED purpose, almost as much as I need support and connection. Think it as the fuel that keeps the convoy of mental health tools rolling toward my internal conflict. Without it, I would be a sitting duck against depression’s impressive might.

The resources I deploy.

Ok, so shouting out that moving ahead with purpose is essential for survival is easy. However, how do we find things that matter? For me, and I am willing to bet, many others, there is a hidden passion hiding deep within; we are simply too afraid to let out.

In order for me to find purpose, I had to dust off a passion that I have held in captivity for well over twenty years; locked it away in a dungeon of fear. So, what’s this passion I speak of? Well, you’re reading it. It’s writing.

Ever since I was in my teens, I have dreamed of being a writer. Didn’t matter, songs, short stories, poems whatever, I loved it. Sadly though, I had to give up on this “pipe dream” to man up and follow the millions of young people who were conforming to the cookie cutter mythical expectation. I mean, we are suspposed to pick a career that supports a living that society says will get us the “dream” life. The house, the partner, the kids; the list goes on and on.

There’s just one tiny problem with this expectation, it’s someone else’s dream. Now that I am older and have tried the traditional lifestyle, I am just tired and mentally ill enough from it to understand that I want my dream. Thankfully, nowadays, I care little for what others think of me. Because I care a little for other people’s opinions, I am free, liberated to follow what it is I love.

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Essentially, I am moving ahead with purpose, my purpose. And I’m finally, I am chasing my dream and man, I’m doing it! This blog, has helped me make baby steps towards my goals and thus aiding my recovery. To add to it, I have somehow, despite spending over half my time in bed or hiding, I have become a published author, appearing in Lemonade Stand Vol. III. While I find it difficult to extract joy out of almost everything, I am grateful to have done it. The work that came with the project kept the super fuel, purpose flowing and thus helping memove forward.

While it’s true that this i’Ampossibe Project initiated book kept me going, I am perhaps most proud of my own book; The Road To Mental Wellness. This is a remarkable achievement because, I finally finished it, the final rough draft. It’s complete! Now it’s off to an editor for a good going over.

What’s so amazing about it is the very fact that, in the face of PTSD and all my time in bed, overwhelmed and otherwise symptomatic, I FINISHED IT! I know I already mentioned this but honestly, it can not be overstated. It’s monumental because there are few things I have seen through to completion once I got sick. So what’s the common denominator? You guessed it, a single word that means so much, purpose.

I sincerely hope that you find the strength to follow your passions and start moving ahead with your passions. I think if you do, you will find yet another reason to keep going done your road to mental wellness.

LEMONADE STAND VOL. III

If I were honest

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD.

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Storytelling will save the world… yes, even yours.

Storytelling will save the world… yes, even yours. A guest post By Josh Rivedal

Before you reading, Storytelling will save the world… yes, even yours, 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

Captain’s log, Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m twenty-six years old and thinking about dying… actually I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop… and I don’t know how to do that. Hell, two guys in my life—my father and grandfather—each didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop and now both were, well, dead.

But instead, “perfect” was unattainable (it always is).

My grandfather, Haakon—a Norwegian guy who served in the Royal Air Force (35th Squadron as a tail gunner) in World War II—killed himself in 1966 because of the overwhelming post-traumatic stress he suffered because of the war.

My father, Douglas—an American guy who was chronically unhappy and an abusive man—killed himself in 2009, the catalyst being a divorce with my mother along with some long-term depression and other mental health issues.

How did I get to such a dismal place in my life so quickly, just shy of my twenty-seventh birthday? Coming out of high school and high on optimism, I thought by the time I reached my mid-twenties I’d have it all together. After a couple of years singing on Broadway, I would have scored a few bit parts on Law & Order and transitioned seamlessly to being cast with Will Smith in the summer’s biggest blockbuster. After which, my getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and my face would grace the cover of National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Not to mention, I’d have my perfect wife and perfect family by my side to share in my success.

But instead, “perfect” was unattainable (it always is). I only managed to perform in some of small and medium sized professional theatre gigs and on one embarrassing reality television show; and over the course of the previous eighteen months my father killed himself, my mother betrayed me and sued me for my father’s inheritance, and my girlfriend of six years broke up with me.

I had to figure out a way to reach people like that.

This storm of calamity and crisis had ravaged my life… and I wasn’t talking about it to anyone. My silence led to crisis and poor decisions—to the extent that I was hanging out of a fourth story window.

Both Haakon and Douglas suffered their pain in silence because of the stigma surrounding talking about mental illness and getting help. I too felt that same stigma—like I’d be seen as “crazy” or “less of a man” if I talked about what I was going through. But I didn’t want to die and so I had to take a chance.

I started talking. I pulled myself back inside and first called my mom. She helped me through that initial crisis and we became friends again. She never called me “crazy.” I then started reaching out to the positive friends I had in my life. They hugged me and helped me with open arms. They never told me I was “less than a man.” Soon I got more help by seeing a professional counselor, and by writing down what I was going through in a journal.

But this idea of keeping silent continued to bother me. I did some research while in my recovery and found out that each year, suicide kills over one million people worldwide… and that many of those one million never speak up about their emotional pain because of stigma.

The i’mpossible project.

As a result, I had to figure out a way to reach people like that. So, like any other actor, writer, or comedian living in New York City whose life dealt them a crappy hand, I created a one-man show (the love child of stand-up comedy and traditional theatre) … and it toured theatres and universities in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia—and people were getting help.

But I had to keep talking because this isn’t just a Rivedal problem or United States problem… it’s a world problem.

No matter what society says, it’s COOL (as in “okay”) to tell your story.

I had to get other people to tell their stories, so I started The i’Mpossible Project. Why? Because storytelling is one of our oldest traditions. Stories can make us laugh or cry… or both at the same time. They can teach, inspire and even ignite an entire movement. 

The stories of The i’Mpossible Project are true tales from real people who have achieved incredible feats in the face of overwhelming odds, showing that impossible is just a state of mind—and that anything is possible. In Lemonade Stand: Vol. III we have first responders, emergency service personnel, and military members who have faced the elements every day to protect us and keep us safe. These real life superheroes had to deal with the mental pain of PTSD, anxiety, and depression; and then push past the stigma of asking for and receiving help (you can read a couple of the stories HERE). They show us it’s okay to be struggling, it’s okay to need help; people have your back… there’s hope.

It’s been nine years since my own crisis and life is definitely looking up. The writing and being creative thing is going well, I have an incredible and massive support system; but most importantly I’m able to give and receive help and love, and with hard work I’m able to stay mentally well—all because I took a risk and told my story.

His mental health based curriculum, Changing Minds, combines lecture, group discussion, storytelling, and improv theatre.

No matter what society says, it’s COOL (as in “okay”) to tell your story. Don’t ever forget that you are important, and your story needs to be heard so we, the human race, can learn how to live and love better. #iampossible 

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You can pre-order a copy of the new The i’Mpossible Project book at www.iampossibleproject.com/preorder

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Storytelling will save the world... yes, even yours.
Josh Rivedal – founder of the i’Mpossible Project and creator of the Lemonade Stand series -Storytelling will save the world… yes, even yours.

Josh Rivedal (founder, executive director of The i’Mpossible Project) is an author, actor, playwright, and international public speaker on suicide prevention, mental health, and diversity. He curated the inspirational anthology series The i’Mpossible Project of which there are currently five books. He wrote and developed the one-man play, Kicking My Blue Genes in The Butt (KMBB), which has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. He writes for the Huffington Post. He is a co-author of three journal papers; one on the trajectory of the survivor of suicide loss, another on the art of living with chronic illness, the third on surviving trauma. His mental health based curriculum, Changing Minds, combines lecture, group discussion, storytelling, and improv theatre.

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You have the right to refuse
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE
Every stage of life is a gift.
Can a new day be a new start?
CAN A NEW DAY BE A NEW START?Tweet NEED HELP? DON'T KNOW …
Have I figured out the meaning of life?
Have I figured out the meaning of life? When battling major depression …