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?

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Denial is nothing more than a liar

Denial is nothing more than a liar

In life, there are many things that are hard to face. Chief among them for me is coming to grips with my mental illnesses. Denial is nothing more than a liar.

Ah denial, the one word that, for me anyway, means push any bad feelings down deep and that will cure em for ya. But is sucking it up really a good form of therapy? Sadly, I would come to realize that the word denial is nothing more than a liar.

While it seems obvious in retrospect, I nonetheless, like may others, adopted this approach. I guess that putting your head down and blowing through it is merely what we are taught to do.

There is however, a price to pay for not deal with our demons straight away; sadly, some of us never learn this lesson and the effects are dire.

I really thought I could handle it.

Have you ever had a moment in life where you were convinced you could handle something on your own? Then, once in the thick of it you come to realize that you’re in way over your head?

achievement activity adolescent arms
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com – denial is nothing more than a liar

Meet me, an old school dude who thought I could mange everything I was seeing and feeling; getting up with a feeling of dread, ever more intense with each morning. Not only was it accumulating from just going through the motions, it was slowly burning away my mental health because of the critical incidents I bared witness to; those calls that just never leave; rather, they simply get heaped on the pile and left there to fester.

Facing my pain, better late than never

Although I was only doing what I thought was proper at the time, the job of dealing with my ever-growing anxiety and mental pain became way too much for me to handle. As a result, I was forced to deal with the monumental mess I had been neglecting.

First off, I became aware that the feelings I was bottling up when I was taking more time off work than normal.

The very thought of planting my feet in that building, created an invisible wall of anxiety. And as this continued to escalate, I knew I had made a horrible mistake by not dealing with my mental health sooner.

Truth is, we can’t destroy ourselves as we try to navigate through life. Self-care is essential if we are to prevent ourselves from becoming sick. In my case, my denial lead me straight to a diagnosis of PTSD.

Here are my suggestions to help:

  1. Pay attention to the longevity of that feeling of heavy. If its constant, time for therapy. Don’t mess around when mentally not feel well.
  2. Taking more sick time? Time to dive into the world of stress management.
  3. Are you irritated more often than happy? Kick its ass with running and or gym time. Exercise is mother nature’s medication.
  4. Hate what you are doing? Slowly make your exit and into your passion.
  5. Never see your friends or family? We are all living on borrowed time, make your loved ones a large piece of the puzzle.
  6. Do you know you have something mentally serious going on? ACKNOWLEDGE IT. It will help free you before you’re off work and mentally disabled; like me.
  7. Finally, understand that denial is nothing but a liar.

If you’re already diagnosed and struggling, these suggestions may still help you manage.

My friends, I have lost so much simply because I thought I could handle being a volunteer firefighter, a long-term healthcare worker, a dad, a partner etc. I could not! In large part it’s because I didn’t take time to care for myself. So please, if you find yourself in very similar shoes, take the time to rest, recharge and connect with you’re loved ones. Your life may very well depend on it.

Pre-order the book I helped to write; Lemonade Stand Vol. III Today

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

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

PTSD comes standard with a hefty dose of collateral damage.

If someone asked me to describe what the last few years of my life were like, I’d tell them this; It’s been the biggest and most heartbreaking personal battle of my life. With that said, I am grateful that I was able to recognize the trouble I was in. In doing so, I avoided becoming a statistic. There has been however, a fair amount of collateral damage.

Personally, I don’t find that there is a whole lot of discussion around the damage our mental health conditions have. The damage it wreaks on our spouses and other loved ones is can be and often is, very devastating.

Speaking for myself, I know that I have been actively seeking solutions to minimize PTSD’s powers and depression’s ability to keep me captive. In doing so, I have been almost exclusively focused on myself.

Self-care, I believe it is absolutely essential for us to keep going. A recharge isn’t really optional when one has mental illness.

Collateral damage

But what of those who matter most? Who’s helping them? From my point of view, our symptoms radiate from within and spill out of us, infecting those around us.

A great example of this is PTSD’s startle response; To watch my partner walk around on eggshells because everything scares the life out of me, is heartbreaking.

While my reaction is a by-product of the PTSD, it doesn’t change the very real fact that she is impacted by it and by the multitude of other symptoms.

Partner have PTSD? Need help coping? Click here.

I work hard to try to acknowledge her feelings but a lot of the time the collateral damage is done. The pain is real and long-lasting and I don’t know what to do.

What I do recommend however, is that those who love someone with post-traumatic stress disorder find professional help for themselves. You are just as worthy and important as the person going through it, therefore self-care is vital. There is help, likewise, there is hope. It’s true that living with someone with mental illness can still be worth the fight, as long as you understand that you can’t absorb that flack without help. Go to our Mental health resources page for help.

I want to thank all the family, friends and especially spouses who stand by their partner and fight the good fight with them……… Much love to my own partner… I am eternally grateful for you.

If you would like to help keep us going, please hit the donate button and follow the instructions. Whatever you can give is really appreciated

You may also enjoy: The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

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

Proud to be one of the contributing authors this book! 20 authors, 20 stories of people with PTSD. Available for pre-order today

Lemonade-III-Front
Josh Rivedal
pre order today

About the Book

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 their 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 AT

Lemonade Stand Vol. III on The Road To Mental Wellness.