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 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

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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.

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.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact us: The Road To Mental Wellness

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Missing out on life

Missing Out On Life.

I am willing to bet that many people with mental illness, have had their own battles with medications. Moreover, it’s very likely that many of you have played the game of trial and error; it can take a while to get the right combination before one starts to see the benefits. This process is necessary but perhaps it’s the biggest drawback is missing out on life.

Then, there are those like me, stuck in a unique situation of medication purgatory. It seems that I am truly at a medication impasse. This intersection I have reached on the road to mental wellness is just fine with me; to be honest, this pharmaceutical rollercoaster ride is getting to be way too much.

I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

Thankfully, there was one drug that showed some benefit, Sertraline. This med worked the best at keeping the suicidal thoughts at bay; which, in my estimation is a very big help. However, the only true effect I have is when its at max dose. 200mgs of heavy and sleepiness.

Pharmaceuticals, they always consider the risks vs benefits when considering treatment, a little tired over some symptoms is ok by me, especially at this point. But now, there are only two options left, continue to take part in therapy or do nothing.OF course, I will continue therapy but it feels, as time goes on, that I need to be near the functional end of this road to mental wellness.

Am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not!

On the other hand, being at the end of the pharmaceutical leg of my journey isn’t all bad. Its almost been more debilitating than the battle With PTSD and coping with depression. I have spent half the journey missing out on life. Being so sedated I missed out on so much, mainly time with my partner and experiencing quality time with my kids and parents.

The best way I can describe this near-constant sedation is; think back to a time when you had surgery and how you felt afterwards. Remember that tired and groggy feeling? That’s very close to how I felt, constantly. Sadly, I still do and will until I’m completely rid of this last drug.

Like what you are reading? go New Hope, a New Medication

So then, do I regret putting myself through the harrowing effects of every non-addictive SSRI going? Well, the short answer is no. A journey isn’t a journey if you remain idle so, I had to do whatever I had to so as to have the best chance at beating mental illness and put myself on a path to healing.

What to hear more strories of peope battling their mental illness? go to The Depression Files

My advice to people is this: If the mental illness has taken you, hostage, the first thing you have to do is accept that the road back will not be a pleasant one. So, learn to accept being uncomfortable. More importantly, do use these feelings of being uncomfortable to retreat. Real healing happens when you not only see the barriers in your way, but you actively seek ways to smash them down.

Learn to fight through the discomfort

Missing out on life

So meds don’t work for me, am I supposed to hang my head and give up? Absolutely not! If for whatever reason, I lose the opportunity to live a normal life, I will go down swinging. I went to war against my mental illness and therefore cam armed for battle. Recently, I have gotten back in the gym and am making improvements to my diet. I know for a fact that optimal health does wonders for mental illness related conditions.

Please, keep fighting and finding ways to win your war, you deserve to live. You are the warrior that can make that a reality. Sometimes, even if it means we are sometimes missing out on life.

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness