There is two sides to every story

Two sides to every story

Remember, there are two sides to every story.

Before we start, there are two sides to every story… please consider donating to The Road To Mental Wellness, we are able to keep going because of readers like you. Thank you for your support.

As a mental health advocate, part of the work I do is to try to get people to understand the plight of those suffering from mental illness. This, as you well might imagine, is no easy task.

But perhaps even more difficult, is living with or trying to explain to someone but why you; say, jump at literally every single noise. You know, this is classic PTSD and it’s startle response. However, it’s been my experience that the majority of people who aren’t cursed with this invisible taser-like affliction, will likely see you as jumpy. Furthermore, rather than seeing one as ill, people who don’t know will either laugh or pay it zero attention. Hell, I’ve even been told to calm down. There are, without question, there are two side to every story.

One thing I would like to get better at, and I wish the rest of us would too; is learning to think deeper than just what we observe on the surface from others. Personally this has been a reoccurring theme in my life and it has done some real damage.

For instance, we could stop and ask ourselves what’s really causing the behaviour that we are seeing? Now, I know that this really isn’t the way we think, at least the majority of us; however, it would nonetheless help us better understand and thus better empathize those around us. So maybe empathy is something we should teach in schools?

How to cultivate empathy.

Empathy allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to try and understand and work with people who having unique challenges. In my case, If disappear and withdrawal for example, I’m not avoiding you intentionally, I am trying to recharge; so I can cope with the world around me. Understanding how depression works, will help you see that it’s not you, thus you may have more empathy for my predicament. The lack of trying on the part of others is, as far as I am concerned, further proof that there are two side to every story.

The sad reality of a person with PTSD is that the person you loved and once knew is gone. For us, this is a huge part of our journey because we are wrestling with a loss of identity. Our sense of self was once wrapped up in the services, our lives literally put on hold countless times to run to the aid of others. PTSD, takes that from us, at least in the way we once knew it.

There are two side to every story – yes even the non-sufferer.

With all that said, we, the mentally ill must consider that there are two side to every story of those on the outside looking in. For example. Do they know anything about PTSD, depression or any other form of mental illness? Furthermore, do we have a right to be mad at every human being who “doesn’t get it?” While this may be difficult to answer, it’s my contention that, no, in fact we can’t be mad with every Johnie and Joe; especially if they have only heard tell of PTSD on the TV or internet. Some people will never get past the words, “oh my. that’s terrible.” What can I, or you do about that? Others are outright dismissive whilst others are avoidant.

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Rally Point Retreat provides a quiet, safe, and relaxing, rural setting on Nova Scotia’s South Shore as a respite for essential services members in treatment for CIS/CSI/OSI/OSIS/PTSD to regroup themselves and reconnect with their families, to prevent further collateral damage from traumatic events.

http://www.rallypointretreat.org

While deep down I find that a bit sad and frustrating, especially when I have to provide a crash course on trauma wherever I go, I do accept that not everyone cares. It’s just the way it is. Does that mean we give up the fight? Of course not.

The most effective tool we as the ill, is the amazing power of education, not through agitation. The exception? Family and close friends. If they want to and love that special person with PTSD, they are going to have to commit like never before. I recommend that one’s partner, children and friends seek out the assistance of a metal health professional, educate themselves on the disorder and train themselves to look for the signs. Letting someone know who’s post-traumatic that you are going to make a loud noise, is just but one of the ways you can help.

How to love and live with someone who has PTSD.

So, it’s imperative that we see that there are two sides to every story. Firstly, people with mental illness need love, support and customization. It would be helpful for society as a whole to recognize this but that’s not practical. Two, we must understand that it’s not realistic to assume that the entire population is educated about mental health conditions or that they are cable of understanding it. This reality necessitates that we move away from the non-empathic or ignorant.

So, my fellow suffers, lets educate and not hate. We will reach some and others? Well, what can we do? I have always felt that the best way to change the world is by one person at a time. I will worry about those who are willing and not waste me very limited mental resources on those who don’t know or care. Remember, if we choose to fight against mental illness stigma, we must not waste our fuel. Rather we must ration it to help move the cause forward on the willing to learn.

In those momenets

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 services, 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!

There are two sides to every story, copyright, 2020

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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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

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But you’re too young

How Many times have I heard, “But You’re too young?”

Looking back on my mental health journey, I can do so with the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve tried my best. Working to tackle my mental illnesses has not been easy. Yet despite this, there are those who believe that I will make a full recovery. Not only will I beat this, they, see myself back at work. Perhaps the most famous tagline I hear is “but you’re too young”. Meaning I have many more years to be productive citizen.

It’s certainly true that in my past, I was quite proud of the fact that I was a “worker”. Indeed, I could handle tons of busy on my plate. I loved keeping myself busy and if I had my way today, I would still be running constantly; aw, to have the energy to go and go and go.

How to customize your life when mentally ill.

But if I were being realistic, my battle with mental illness has lasted well over a decade; in that time, I have literally gone to war, doing whatever it takes to kick mental illness’s asses.

This battle, is of course far from over; however, I am starting to lose faith that I will ever return to the person I once was. Perhaps the most important question here is; who was I as a person when I had bountiful amounts of energy? Was it a natural inclination towards wanting to be busy, or was I trying to run a burden that was much stronger and faster than I?

Read. What’s in your mental wellness toolkit?

Truthfully, I have the luxury of looking back and therefore I feel like, well I wasn’t formally diagnosed for much of my battle, I was indeed running from myself. It’s interesting because I was oblivious to it for so many years.

Although one cannot change the past, it is still influential in the way we conduct ourselves now and into our future life choices. In my case, my propensity to be going full tilt has most likely lowered my tolerances for, not only the world around me but my ability to navigate through it with sufficient energy to be “successful” in a traditional sense. Thus, my choices I made in my younger years, have impacted the course of my future.

So, when people say; “but you’re too young,” I gently remind them that being disabled either mentally or physical knows no age limit. Trust me, I’ve tried to just “get over it” but it turns out that, factually, PTSD doesn’t work that way.

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

While it was yet to be determined whether I shall be permanently disabled or somehow negotiate a truce with my mental health conditions; I am actively seeking ways that allows me to once again take on the world with strength and vigor. I must nonetheless, prepare for the very real possibility that I will have to customize how I move forward.

Want to hear others talk about their wellness journey? Go to The Depression Files.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that many of you are staring at the same crossroads in your lives. My advice? The life you were accustomed to is disappearing in the mirror of time, you can in fact, be productive and find meaning in your life. Sure, it may not be at full throttle but from my point of view, fulfilling passion is very obtainable. Just don’t let them push you back to where you know you can’t go; don’t let that saying but you’re too young set you up for failure by pushing you back into a world that you know you can’t handle.

Remember, you and you alone have a choice where you put your energy. Moreover, you are the only one who knows how much energy you have to give, if you know moving forward looks different from the conventional norm, advocate for yourself, you know yourself better than anyone. You’re ready for this change in life and be sure that you fight for it.

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
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 test of mental strength.
Let's make no mistake, this holiday season will be A test of …
Hang in, there is hope.
For those with PTSD, sleep can be their enemy; plagued by a …
Don’t let your illness define you
It was pointed out to me that we are more than our …
From fear to courage
We in the services go from fear to courage. If we didn't …