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.

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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

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.

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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

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Going Against Your Grain

What lies between our ears is nothing short of amazing. Our brains are unlike any other animals on the planet. Its ability to reason and problem-solve, create and dream are top of the intellectual pecking order. 

Our neurology and its intellectual powers have provided us with a lifestyle unimaginable to our ancestors.  In fact, some argue that this is the best time in human history to be alive. We live in a so-called golden age thanks to a few key things. Technology at our fingertips and our most prized possession, money! It is after all, what makes the world go round, right?

Yep, this is the life, technology at our fingertips, easy access to all the yummy treats we can get our hands-on and Netflix, can’t forget about Netflix. I have never known war, never felt the pain of starvation and have never had a park bench for a bed. I believe the majority of us who have all the necessities in life are grateful for them, Yet we seem to be sick and unhappy, why? In our case, we will focus on mental health.

So then, why is mental illness conditions on the rise? why aren’t we living the eutopia mass marketing is promising us? Well, I believe that mass marketing has re-defined us in such a way that tells us that we are nothing without the latest and greatest gadgets, the newest, in-season apparel and dictates what the definition of beautiful is. All of these things don’t make us who we are, but they sure have us convinced that they do. Mental illness can rise out of never being good enough.

The impact of mass marketing on society

The negative impact materialism has on society is undeniable, yet in my opinion, it is not the most impactful on our mental health; rather, its the way we set about to buy the things that exacerbate and or contribute to mental illnesses, it’s our occupations for most of us. We are but a cog in a large wheel that few of us have a desire to be participating in.  

Going Against Your Grain is the reason I think so many suffer from within. We all have a “pipe dream” that we would all rather be doing, but alas, we need to do what it takes to put clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. 

If all you want to do in life is be a writer, a stay at home parent or a scientist, yet you slug along in a profession that is the polar opposite of your passion, I believe that going against your grain will produce anxiety and depression. For many, it will blossom into a disorder. 

We are dreamers and our mental wellbeing suffers when we can not fulfill the passion that burns within us. Perhaps we need to re-define what our passions are in terms of how they play a roll in our lives. Can’t do it for a living? make it a hobby, become an unofficial expert on what you love and most importantly, don’t let your fears stand in your way; if opportunity knocks…… Answer.

benefits of doing what you love.

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: Slowly Walking My Way To Mental Wellness.

Contact me on my Facebook page:

Check out my friend’s blog here:

Pursuing Dreams With Mentally Illness.

So you have a passion, and…… You have a mental illness. Now what? How does one chase a dream through the foggy dark world of dread, convince their mental health condition to behave, just well enough to make any given dream a reality? This question is something I have wrestled with since I was in my teens. Fortunately, the majority of the time, I have been able to come out on top, fighting through the fog to have a few dreams realized.

Steps to make your dreams come alive.

Sadly, there have been times in my life when I have also been blinded by this fog the degree where I literally lost my way. This round, I am really lost and for the first time, I have no idea how to find my way back on the road to mental wellness. At least this is how it feels. That said,  I’ll be dammed if I remain lost forever. I have things I want to do, goals I need to complete, so I will crawl my way out if I must.
You might be saying, “it’s great to be so determined, but how do you plan to do that when you struggle to leave the house?” Well, I live by two words, acceptances and customization. As far as I’m concerned, acceptance and customization are fundamental for success when one is on a life long mental health roller coaster ride.
Before going any further, I must explain why I have adopted these two concepts into my life’s journey. If your journey is as turbulent as mine has been, then you need to find something to help you be as functional and productive as you can. Hence, for me, acceptance and customization are how I achieve my goals and dreams.
Acceptance seems fairly straightforward, simply embrace what’s in front of you and get over it. But, as anyone with anxiety, for example, can tell you, that “just accept it” doesn’t work. Try running an electronic without a battery. Many others with different mental disorders also can’t easily turn it off. Mentally ill, your mind is hijacked, whilst the mentally well is more adept at not getting stuck on their troubles. 
I know I can’t simply get over what my brain does (illness) so I have to accept it. I may never be able to extend my threshold far enough to get back to where I once was mental. Acknowledging this allows me to build a life that is within my range of normalcy. (Customization)  I believe that we are all on a spectrum of sorts, some can go full speed, all the time, others, this simply isn’t so. It isn’t so because it just can’t be so.

Understanding the stigma against mental illness.

I am now trying to tailor my life around what I can do and not what I can’t. If there are days when I can’t face the day as I did yesterday then I don’t. If all I can do today is finish writing this sentence, I’m ok with that. I will get the pics up tomorrow.

Writing is wonderful, not only for its creative freedom but also for its inherent flexibility. It doesn’t care if I leave it half done, til I am well enough to pick it up again. I want to totally customize my life off of, and around writing. I will succeed in my quest to live again! How do you customize your life so you can get busy pursuing your dreams with mental illness?

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: Slowly Walking My Way To Mental Wellness.

Contact me on my Facebook page:

Check out my friend’s blog here: