Love and Loath

Love and loath

The emergency services; it really is something to both love and loath.

Before you reading, Love and loath, 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

I would be lying if I said that waking up every day with PTSD wasn’t a monumental challenge. It also would be accurate to say that, at some moments, I loathe the choices I’ve made. Sometimes, I feel like I walked down the wrong road when I signed the dotted line and joined the fire service.

While it’s true, there are times when my blood boils with regret for doing so, I know deep down in my heart of hearts that I was part of something great; I don’t hate that bit. But even still, its slowly morphed itself over the years into the very definition of a love-hate scenario.

With that said, my thoughts branch off to other sub categories. For instance, I often think about the old saying; that one person can’t make a difference. I disagree. For it depends on the scale in which you are talking.

For example, if you are a firefighter in any small community, one’s efforts in the can and often do have a monumental impact. All it takes is the will, the determination and the love to want to help. I have met countless people in the service who have all of these qualities.

How to make a difference in your community

I had recently met a fire chief who ran a station in a small community and does so on a very scant small budget. Yet, despite this, he is pouring his heart and soul into the building, into the equipment and its members. He was and is working his guts out to better his community.

Sadly however, the wider community, regardless of its location, they’re cannot fully grasp the enormous sacrifices that are made by both paid and volunteer personnel on their behalf. It is for this reason, I think anyone in the emergency services are nothing short of amazing….. I thank you so much.

This is the element of the service that I was and am still proud of. Those individuals who sacrifice their family time, their work time, hobbies and in tons of cases, their own health. Whether you were paid or not, there are real risks associated with running into an inferno or extricating someone from a vehicle on a dark, rain soaked highway. While we are lucky that there are people who give their all, those working themselves to exhaustion on countless opccasionsin does something to does real damage.

Read: Carbon Monoxide And PTSD.

Specifically, I feel like exhaustion plays a significant role in first responders’ mental health. And if that weren’t enough, the constant barrage of unspeakable and unique tragedies, accumulate making the two combined a recipe for disaster.

How to remain healthy while being a first responder

So, it’s not too hard to fathom why I both love and loath the service. I know first hand how truly amazing the contributions of a few people is. A few in a community of many. They really do make a difference. But like in all things, there is a price to pay for some. The cost? PTSD. I wish with every fibre of my being that the images burned into my soul could be obliterated, they can’t. However, setting my heart and mind free will always be the goal I put in front of me.

I don’t have to like my symptoms and the unique scenarios they present. In fact, I can even hate them. What I can’t do is reject my efforts, my passion and love for the fire service. I did my part, and I am proud of my sacrifice and contribution.

Thankfully though, despite this constant tug of war going on inside me, the love, the gratitude, and the honour to have served my community, always outweigh the darker aspects of the service.

Love and loath
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com – Love and loath

Finally, I see PTSD as a devastating force in my life but thankfully, I also see it as something I’ve earned with distinction. I may have forever altered my health but when I look back, I know it made a difference.

Truly, someone has to do it. And for those of us who suffer a mental health injury and succumb to it as a result, deserve so much more than fading into casual conversation around the station and never to be engaged with again.

Listen to others talk about their mental health journey at A New Dawn.

I know for many of my colleagues this can be difficult, but all I will say is this; being forgotten by those you risked your life with, spent countless hours training beside and helping both in and out of the station, when they stop talking to you, their wounded colleague, it only serves to further devour who you define yourself as. For us, it feels like a building fully engulfed in flames; it’s not only isolating but it’s an utter and total loss.

Please hang in there! We, the mentally injured have our own community. If in Nova Scotia and have PTSD from being in any branch of service, or planning to come to Novas Scotia, please check out these amazing peer support facilities below.

Please know that there is an entire community of those with mental health injuries from all branches of services who are here and will be here for you to help redefine your purpose, try to minimize your isolation and do what they can so that you feel supported and part of something bigger than yourself. Please…. Reach out.

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

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

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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We must resist ourselves

We must resist ourselves

If we are to win the battle against mental illness, we must resist ourselves – John Arenburg.

Can I do this? Can I move on from this painful episode of my life? Or am I destined to be trapped in this ocean forever?

These questions constantly plague my mind; almost as frequently as my PTSD. While this may be true, I’d like to think that I’m doing okay, unfortunately, the consistency I need to defeat this beast simply isn’t there. Perhaps one of the roadblocks I am experiencing is my resistance to support.

Sure, I have goals and dreams, ambition and work ethic but essentially, like that of someone trapped at sea, I can only tread water so long until I tire and float backwards, to where I began.

my main weapon against my own tyranny is love.

I suppose that for someone living with a mental health condition, this particular battle comes standard. with all that said, it doesn’t make it any less exhausting. Yet, despite being tired, I have learned long ago that I am the only one that can save myself; for when I am drowning, it is up to me to reach out and find the help I need.

We must resist ourselves
we must resist ourselves

Of course, having a healthy dose of stubbornness goes a long way to ensure one’s survival. Like that of stubbornness, there are many more reasons that keep pushing me towards the shore. And while the length of my battle may defeat me at times, l shall stay the course and I shall survive, nay, I will do better than that, I will thrive.

The Depression Files Podcast Have a listen to others as they tell their mental health stories

How you ask? Well, quite literally, my main weapon against my own tyranny is love; love for thy self and love for all those who see me through

This my friends is a sure way to drown

While we may want to run and hide, lick our wounds in secret, we will not survive alone. In fact, isolation can lead to a worsened mental health condition; or for some, the outcome can be dire.

Human connection and it’s impact on us

Truthfully, or at least from my point of view, we should be doing the opposite; resisting the perceived need to withdraw and hug it out with those who are in our corners.

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

Don’t you feel like sometimes you have a bit of self-sabotage going on? I know I sure do. On one hand, we feel like we are navigating these rough seas all on our own and on the other; we are ignoring those in the rescue boats all around us and those who are tossing us, life preservers. This my friends is a sure way to drown; something we have all been working so hard to prevent.

At the end of the day, we must resist ourselves, that temptation to go it on our own. While you may not feel worthy, I know you are and you mean so much to those who love you. Please, stop resisting the help that in reality, has a much better chance of getting you down the road to mental wellness.

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!

Lemonade Stand
Pre 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

Find Time To Do What You Love.

Having decided that I was going to go for something for the first time in a very long time, which was making the decision to create The Road to Mental Wellness; I was proud of myself considering the amount of mental pain I was in at the time. But, I had to do something.

But perhaps even more than that, I finally set myself free. For years, I had denied this love inside me that I felt I had to suppress because of the social mandate that lays out what’s expected of us when we reach adulthood. I made up my mind that I would forgo social convention and do something that would not only make me whole but would serve as a therapeutic release.

Writing, I loved to write and it was evident when I was young. I spent a lot of time writing in my teens. Sadly, when I grew into adulthood, I had so-called more important things to do. Work till I dropped, feed my anxiety and depression and never stop running. Ah, adulting. So I shelved my passion somewhere in the back of my mind and pretended I was enjoying the ride. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, it was too late by the time I realized that slugging alone in the template of life met all the conditions to allow mental illness to grow exponentially. It eventually became too much once PTSD was thrown on top of it, and before I knew it, I was face to face with a monster I had ignored for far too long; a monster |I had created.

Now here I am, off work since September of last year, getting the help I need and walking towards the road to mental wellness. Part of the healing journey for me is to write, finally. What a tremendous help it has been to pull my passion off the shelf, dust it off and find that I love it just as much now as I did back then.

When you deny what you were meant to do, it feeds the flames of anxiety and makes you feel like you have less control over your life. This can head one down the road of depression. In a lot of cases, we may not be able to make a living doing what we love but if we think outside the box, we can at least find time to incorporate it into our daily lives.

With all the challenges I face right now, writing has at least made it easier for me to push my way through. I have a place to put my energy. It’s very much a coping tool because its something I love, I am free to create which is what I have always wanted to do.


Find time to do what you love. Even though it might not pay, the rewards are worth so much more. You may find that you can’t escape from the everyday riggers of your life but at least you’ll have a therapeutic release to help you navigate your way through. So, what dusty passion is hidden away in the back of your mind? Why not dust it off and fall in love with it, all over again.


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


Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe – The Road To Mental Wellness – The book


You may also enjoy: 
 The Mental Carbon Monoxide And PTSD

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

Check out my friend’s blog here: https://abbeyschronicles.com