Damage our mental well-being.

Damage to our well-being

Part 3. What are the factors that cause damage to our well-being?

The first time I took leave from work because of my mental health, I went into solution mode. I needed A fix that would see me making a comeback. But I was determined to this it right. I needed to be more than just functional, I needed to be even more mentally robust than ever.

How was I going to pull that off? After much research and a strong desire to move forward, I found the magic pill; I like to call it mother nature’s medication.

Natural ways to ease mental illness.

So, what is this smoking gun? Exercise; accompanied by a clean diet. When I start to apply what I had learned, I found that my mental illness, an anxiety disorder, was so much more manageable. In fact, adopting a healthy lifestyle was so effective at alleviating my symptoms that I was able to return to work.

While this was no doubt effective, what it wasn’t was a cure. All I needed to do to find this out was to go back to what exacerbated my metal illness in the first place; a lifestyle of sitting and eating the Western diet. Fast food and sugar can be considered stables in this diet.

What I learned from my obsessive research was surprising. My weight, it turns out, was a major factor in, not only my mental health decline but also to my overall health in general.

This fact was nothing short of a revelation for me. Never before had I given my excess weight any thought, much less seeing it as a clinical health condition. This perspective changed everything.

Being overweight was a health condition? Learning this fact changed the way I saw my weight, my mental health and my physical health. The only thoughts I did have about my weight, was a sense of self-conciseness.

Damage to our well-being
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Thankfully for me, science took the shame associated with my weight and made it seem like it was fixable; fortunately, it is indeed something one can fix. In my mind, I began to see that getting into shape was merely the treatment plan.

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With the majority of the shame out of the way, I was free to tackle my generalized anxiety disorder head on. I was motivated by this notion that I had a medical problem, not a social one. With that, I set out to improve my health not lose to weight. Looking at it as “improving my health rather than “losing weight” alleviated all the stress and social pressures that come with self-improvement.

How a good diet and exercise help the brain.

So, was my weight all my fault? I think my answer to this question is a yes and a no. I am a firm believer that self-improvement is ultimately our responsibility. However, science tells us that the Western diet is full of addictive properties. Substances like sugar are but one of many. Some studies indicate that sugar is more addictive than cocaine; an illegal street drug.

Is sugar addictive?

What does this mean? It means that I had an addiction and like that other addictions, comes dire consequences. With that said, I don’t believe in using the old, “I can’t help it, I have an addiction.” line. In my view, this statement is more damaging than the actual disease. Why? Well, because it gives us license to continue to do major damage to our well-being. It’s a slow burn that eats away at our mind, body and soul.

As someone with a background in addictions, I know that addictions are among some of the toughest challenges a person can face. I also understand that because they are so hard to overcome, it can be perceived as easier to continue on that path. However, as we age and continue to live a lifestyle that feeds our addition, we are often faced with an ever-increasing amount of health problems. Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease to name a few. And you guessed it, higher rates of mental illness.

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Sure, we may have an addiction, but we have no excuse not to try, not when this lifestyle is causing so much damage to our well-being. Additionally, I firmly believe that the only way we truly fail is if we give up. Even then, we can get back on that horse and try again. You may find it helpful to ask yourself:

  • What are the consequences of continuing this way of life? Write down as many as you can think of.
  • What if I looked at my unhealthy lifestyle as a medical condition instead of seeing it as socially shameful? (change your perspective).
  • What will the positive outcomes look like as I make my way to wellness.
  • What are my end goals? Realize that this journey is incremental, incremental is another word for progress.
  • Lastly, who else will benefit from my journey?

Please, be kind to yourself, your battle is hard enough. While it’s not a simple task, go slow and with purpose, never lose sight of why you are doing this; you don’t only want to lose weight, you, more importantly, want to be well.

This adventure in re-discover we are on will definitely help minimize the damage to our well-being. And as we go down the road to mental wellness, we will start to notice that we are stronger; not only physically, but mentally too. You can do this!

Checkout the book I helped to write — Available for pre-order

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!

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

Our mental well being

Our mental well-being

Part one: The Impact of Work on our mental well-being.

This is Pt. 1 of a series that I am calling why are we mentally ill? This section discusses work and it’s impact on our mental well-being.

Those who know me know that I am a thinker. Almost, obsessively so. Not surprisingly, mental health is one of these topics that I dedicate a lot of mental energy to.

While the topic of mental health is a top priority for me, I tend to be a big picture thinker. This of course, tends to lead me back to mental illness and its causes.

For instance, I think a lot about economics and how that plays a roll on our mental well-being. To be more specific, what sort of impact does modern capitalism have on our psychological state?

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In my view, a lot. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the principal driver for the surge in mental health disorders. While it is certainly not the only factor, we only need to look at our own work environment to get a sense of how impactful a “free” market society is.

It systematically counters what makes us human and erodes our mental well-being.

Think about this; For those who work Monday to Friday, they will only get eight days off in thirty-one days, EIGHT! The remainder of their time consists of a few hours in the evening before they go off to bed.

In this real life scenario, we are left with little time for our brains and bodies to take a break. If that wasn’t bad enough, getting three or four weeks out of fifty-two a year for vacation seems like a bum deal too; doesn’t it?

So little time to be free and human. And employers have the nerve to get mad at us when we are sick! Hello! Why are we sick? We are designed to be outdoor dwellers and great explorers; not hunched over a computer or swinging a hammer for so long that it kills our bodies.

Sitting shortens our life expectancy

Equally true, we need rest. In our current form of existence, we’re essentially living opposite to the way mother nature intended. A fish can’t live on land and a lion can’t live in the ocean; why? They were each destined to live in a specific way and do what they are designed to do.

All this sound depressing? Of course, it does. That’s because it is. literally, we develop depression when denied our nature inclinations, like being outside, moving around and eating what we are designed to eat. When we are not allowed to rest and be free. It starts to chip away at our mental well-being

To put it another way, when we see caged and very unhappy looking mammals, we instantly know it’s because they are being denied their freedom; their natural instinct to run and be free is forbidden. Sadly, this is not something we recognize in ourselves. All work and little play can and often does cause mental illness.

This, my friends is not normal and it’s killing our mental well-being.

Saddest of all, from my view is that we accept this as the norm. Living for our weekends or our days off from shift work; exhausted from it and never really getting the time we need to recuperate.

In addition to this unconditional acceptance, we give our employers our loyalty. Our commitment to them is disproportionate to what we desire most in life; connection with those we love. In fact, this is so out of sorts, that our children are raised by strangers? For many, their children are in care more than they are home.

Yet, without a thought, it’s more of a priority to have governments subsides childcare, so we can work then demanding they pass legislation that give us a four-day work week. This would give us the opportunity to raise our children, yet it’s somehow not even on the radar? Additionally, for those who don’t have kids, it will give them one more day to be human again.

So, what does this tell us? Well, it says to me that we are so conditioned to be yet another cog in the wheel of capitalism, that we legitimately don’t see the damage this “good life” is having on our mental well-being. Nor do we see that being a work horse is impacting our children.

What can be done?

From my perspective, many of us become mentally ill when we are working more than we are living. But it’s more than that, countless people are working at a job they hate. I ask you this, is the stress and constant anxiety worth it?

Heres what I see:

  • Hating our job – we spend less time with our kids and more time working, so they can play sports, have game systems etc. – these distractions take away from, not only your dreams but also your family unit. You Can’t have a robust veggie garden if you don’t look after it, family can’t thrive without the attention it needs.
  • We have been conditioned to believe that material things make us happy – they don’t.
  • We have all these extras, meaningless items, cable, extra phones and cars, four Wheelers – what for?
  • Is killing yourself for a job you hate really working for you?
  • We measure success in dollars – the higher the number, the more successful we are. – wrong.

If we are making ourselves sick doing something we hate whilst at the same time accumulating stuff that doesn’t make us happy; then why are we sacrificing our heath and our true passion for things that matter less than the happiness our passion could bring?

When it comes to this modern life, find balance, you are more than a cog in the wheel of this economic machine, you are human. And as a human being, you can’t go against your nature without paying a price.

We need:

  • Time to recharge (Self care).
  • To be free and creative.
  • To spend time with family and friends.
  • And find work that gives us joy and purpose.
  • We were built for moving, get moving!

Above, is what I believe will help minimize the damage to our mental well-being. With that said, the ultimate key to a happy life is connection. Be kind to yourself, follow your dreams and re-establish connection with those you care most about.

What makes a good life?

Ted Talk

Available for pre-order Lemonade Stand Vol. III, A book that I helped write.

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!

20 Authors
Pre order today

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

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

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

Incident commander

Incident Commander

On the fire ground, the incident commander is the person who determines the outcome. With mental illness, you too are in command of the results.

Anyone who has been in the fire service knows that fire scene incidents can range in size and severity. Regardless of size, there’s almost always one person at the helm. Known as the incident commander, their job is to be “the” person who brings the incident a conclusion that minimizes damage and loss.

Doing so takes a high level of experience and education. This will help the IC to best predict where the fire will go and what tactics work best to efficiently extinguish the fire. In other words, they need to get a handle on the incident; quickly and before it gets a handle on them and thus everyone on the fire ground.

The officer in charge or the incident commander is generally good at staying a step ahead of their enemy; they have to be. and structure is fundamental. This is arguably more important on bigger calls.

Essentially, you have sector officers, safety officers; accountability officers and more. All of whom need to be put in place to ensure that what needs to be done, actually gets done. Breaking a large scene down into smaller sections is paramount if you are going to be successful.

But that’s not all! You need water supply, staging areas for firefighters; efficient communication systems and firefighter recuse teams at the ready.

Of course, I could go on but I think you get the point. Viewing a fire scene from a distance, all you might see is a disorganized shit show. However, it is actually a well coordinated and well oiled machine. We like to call it organized chaos.

How does this relate to mental illness?

Well, on the surface it seems like it has absolutely nothing in common with the incident commander analogy. However, I will do my best to explain.

Remember when I said that it’s imperative for the incident commander to get a handle on the fire? If not, the fire will get a way from them? Their job is to tame that beast and prevent it from destroying lives.

Like what you are reading? Go to The Mental Health Solution

person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com – Incident Commander

In comparison, we can ask ourselves; Who’s got a handle on our own mental health emergency? Using myself as the example; am I the one in command of my illness, or is my illness the one in charge of me?

For example, PTSD is a four alarm fire and whether you like it or not, you’re in it for the long haul; and like that of being an incident commander on the fire ground, you’re it, there is no going home. Nor can you afford to ignore it; if you were to, the fire would propagate and grow out of control.

Like that of the Incident commander, You’re it, there is no way around it.

Similarly, you are it, the incident commander in charge of what you do to mitigate the damage done by your mental illness. You get to call in the resources needed, psychotherapy, a fitness instructor, and or a psychiatrist, they can help get a handle on your mental health, after all, you know these are the tools one needs to minimize the psychological damage, Right? Besides, not calling in what you need for resources on the fire ground would be disastrous and irresponsible.

So, who’s got a handle on you? The four alarm fire that rages inside or you, the officer in charge of getting better? Own this incident my friend, for it is the most important call of your life.

Order my new book collaboration, Lemonade Stand Vol.

Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of 20 authors who have PTSD because of their military and or emergency services background. They bravely tell their stories in hopes that will help end stigma within the services and within mental health in general. Its other objective is to give people who are afraid to speak a voice.

When I read the stories from the other authors, it was like I was reading the story of my own struggles. I quickly realized that this book will not only help those with PTSD but may very well provide their spouses and families with insight into their loved one’s mental illness.

20 Authors tell their story of PTSD
Pre order today

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

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

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

person in black pants and black shoes sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com