You can't ignore PTSD

You can’t ignore PTSD

You can’t ignore PTSD

In our society, we tend to think that we are failures if life takes us off our planned path. But are we really failures? I’d like to make the argument that when life takes us off course, we can forge a new way forward.

When I was a firefighter, I pushed myself well beyond my mental abilities; thinking I could just shake off the traumatic events I witnessed and get back on the rig for the next call.

I suppose this myth I was telling my self worked for a while, or, so I had thought. Turns out, that I was not coping at all; I was, in fact, doing more and more damage.

Knowing your mental limits

When the time came that my mental strength was all but exhausted, I felt defeated; like I had failed. After all, none of my colleagues seem to be having this issue. On the day I resigned, I felt like a complete and utter failure. To add to this perceived failure, was this head to toe feeling of weakness and shame.

A double whammy

Who knew that pushing through my mental pain would be such a bad idea? I really wish I had known at the time; it may have saved the rest of my life from coming unravelled. However, my reality has been forged by the fact that I didn’t know.

Due to my decisions to keep fighting on with no regard for my mental health, I lost; my feelings of failure were compounded by the fact that I had recognized my illness too late. Perhaps its more accurate to say that I pushed it down and packed my trauma so tight that it finally snapped.

Whichever was the case, the mental pain my fire service days had leached into every facet of my life. This sad reality I faced would include my work life too.

Like what you are reading? Try Path To Mental Healing.

Making my living as a health care worker was not an easy one to say the least. I had witnessed some pretty traumatic incidents there too. While this was my was also my reality, the cornerstone for my PTSD without question, stemmed from the fire service.

Regardless, I had mentally bled out for far too long and before I knew it, my mistaken resilience crumbled under the weight of my mental illness. Only a few short years after calling it quits as a volunteer firefighter, I would find myself making an exit from my workplace as well; proving that you can’t ignore PTSD, it will indeed, get you in the end.

Is failure such a bad thing?

While I thought for years after I left the service that I had failed at everything I loved; I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Failure is just a conduit for success so long as you keep moving forward. Doing what I have to do, has been slowly leading me down the road to mental wellness and as a result, I have discovered new passions along the way.

man standing on rock during sunset
Photo by Mathew Thomas on Pexels.com

When every aspect of my life went off the rails, I turned to writing in a desperate attempt to sort out what was going on inside my head. Consequently, a new passion was ignited; a love for writing.

You can’t ignore PTSD, this is true but if you are manning up, shoving it down or in just plain old denial, please know that when PTSD becomes too much, there is life after the military or emergency services. Failure is an option as long as you understand this: PTSD or any mental illness is not something you choose to have and secondly; as humans, we are gifted with the ability to discover other passions. So in that regard, no matter what we go through in life, we can always find something that gives us our love for life back.

Keep moving forward.

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.

Pre order today at https://theroadtomentalwellness.com/blog__trashed/lemonade-stand-iii/

20 authors their story of PTSD

Checkout the book I helped to 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!

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

What we see

What we see?

Is what we see, really what’s going on? In this post, I argue that the answer is no.

Our eyes, they are the windows to the world. Because of them, you and I can navigate the world and take in its breath taking beauty. But sadly, what we see isn’t always what’s going on.

While there’s no question that waterfalls are indeed amazing, we, with our not so stellar observation skills, only see the rushing water, crashing into the waterway below.

With that said, is that really all there is to see? What else is going on? For instance, we can not see the source of the water flow; nor do we bear witness to the copious amount of erosion happening as the water rushes over the cliff face.

IS what we see, really what’s truly going on?

Our brains, if they were to take in all the surrounding stimulus, we would likely cease to function. It’s perfectly adept at deciding what requires our attention and what it can disregard. We, as humans are attracted to things that move; a survival instinct that helped get us where we are today.

Why does the brain filter out things? Why does it limit What we see?

Interestingly, there are other things going on that influence our perceptions. Things like, good old fashion logic. The simplistic view, pun intended, says, what you see is what you get. In other words, our eyes are telling us the entire story; but, are they? Is what we see happening really a simple logical deduction? Well, here’s my take on it.

Like what you are reading? Then you may enjoy You, Me and PTSD.

In my view, mental illness is a great example of the dangers of taking thing at face value. To illustrate what I mean, I will use PTSD as the example.

person in blue jacket and black pants standing on rock near waterfalls
Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on Pexels.com

Post-traumatic stress disorder comes with a whole host of symptoms. These symptoms include; Irritability, nightmares, a heightened startle response and more. None of them are pleasant.

To further demonstrate my point, I will pick on one symptom; the wonderful feeling of the startle response. Besides being very unpleasant for the diagnosed, it can be very problematic for a spouse or other family members.

What those closes see when I am scared by every single bang and clang is the often times very intense reaction; being very vocal, jumping out of my chair, etc.

When you couple all this together, what you get from family members is the “walking on eggshells” reaction, rightfully so. I mean, never knowing what will cause this intense reaction is very difficult.

Help for spouses and family of someone with PTSD

With that said, my goal isn’t to put those I love most in the world on edge; despite what they see and how they react to it, what’s really going on is I’m symptomatic. My reactions have nothing to do with them personally and if it were a choice, why would I put my loved ones through such a thing?

It’s true, I get where they are coming from but there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Therefore, the best advice I can give people trying to love someone with a traumatic injury is this; If you plan to be around for the long haul, you will very likely need support from a mental health professional; there’s no shame in that.

Even though mental illness is monumentally difficult for everyone impacted by it, those who suffer from a mental health condition deserve love and support. Equally true, is that those who love us, deserve the same.

Lemonade Stand Vol. III

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.

Lemonade-III-Front
Lemonade Stand Vol. III
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

Simple things

The simple things that matter.

When it comes to healing, it really is the simple things that matter.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think of the days when I was an active member of my local Volunteer Fire Department. Those days taught me so much in so many ways. Overall though, it made me a much better human being. While this may be true; it has also left a permanent psychological scar, right where my hopes and dreams used to reside; and honestly, I hate it!

Regardless of how much I loathe this injury, there is little I can do about the choices I made to join the fire service at the young age of nineteen; none of us can go back in time.

Likewise, I will never be able to bring back those who lost their lives, many, way before their time. So then, what do I do? I have indeed been working my ass off to try to get back to the land of the living; man I miss those days. But alas, like that of my past, there is little I can do. By that I mean, I can’t snap my fingers and wish the mental pain instantly away.

On second thought, maybe it’s not there’s little I can do but rather, it’s the little things I can do. If this is the case, then  I have worked on a ton of these little things that have added up over time.

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING.

A great example of this is a simple technique I learned in therapy. In fact, the idea is so simple that I thought; “that won’t work.” happily, I was wrong. See, sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

Simple things you can do to boost your mental health.

the simple things that matter.

As many of you may know, nightmares are synonymous with PTSD, they rob one of their sleep and constantly terrify them in the process. This easy to-do task is this: When you awake from a nightmare, take note of anything and everything in the room; try to include As much detail as you can. So, got a nightstand full of knick-knacks sitting on the top? Describe all of them, shape size and colour. The very act of doing this forces your focus on the here and now; the “now” is where the healing happens. And if for some reason you’re still awake, keep mentally moving around the room. See, simple and, personally, very effective. It really is the simple things that matter. I highly recommend it.

Another useful tool to try is simple exercises. Walks are like mother nature’s medication and… it’s free! Take that big pharma. Despite this one being seemingly obvious, it can seem monumentally difficult to initiate. However, you can’t beat the price and over time, your noggin will love you for it. Try getting a friend or a loved one on board, it will make this venture a lot easier.

TRAINED AS BIG PICTURE THINKERS, IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO SEE THAT THE SOLUTION IS OFTEN THE SIMPLEST ONE.

Thirdly, don’t take this life you’ve been given for granted, take stock of all things, big and small that you love and cherish. For me, my family is everything and when we are together, I do my best to soak up every memory made with them. Love, it’s simple and not limited. Our animals are our pet therapy and it’s so easy to get lost in their unconditional loyalty. What I love about taking stock is that it places you in the present and it does so without very little effort.

In conclusion, I really do think it’s the simple things that matter. Not only do they matter because life is too short, they pay off big time as you travel down the road to mental wellness.

If you or someone you know is looking to find people with Military and emergency service backgrounds that also have PTSD. This book is for you. Lemonade Stand Vol. III is a collection of authors who have paid the ultimate personal price for their service, ending up with PTSD.

Lemonade-III-Front
Pre-order Below.
Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here: Crisis Services Canada

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