Putting out the main fire

Putting out the main fire

In order to get well I must focus on putting out the main fire.

Each and every human on earth faces their own struggles. Whether they have a mental illness or not. Similarly, many of us are stuck in what I like to call, self-preservation mode. It can feel like all we are doing is running around trying to minimize the effects of the enviable assortments of crises that pop up in real time. The daily battle is real.

Still, while this is a common experience, there are those of us that just refuse to deal. Often sighting that we are “too busy” to take a moment to figure out why we are going down the rabbit hole.

Listen to other people tell their story at: The Depression Files

But is this really the case? Sure, I can imagine that it may be extremely difficult for some. With that said however, there are indeed those out there who avoid their unpleasant feelings at all costs. The trouble with this approach is, it can get you in the end.

This can be especially true for those who have a mental health condition. I for one was just such a person. I mean, who wants to entertain the idea that they are somehow vulnerable? Stigma is such a scary monster, the very thought of addressing one’s illness, can freeze one into a solid block of oppression.

How to overcome stigma.

But by not putting out the main fire, you’re only allowing it to spread. Trust me, if left unattended it will consume you and leave you in a pile of ruins. So, it’s imperative to address the root cause.

Personally, what I find most effective is to indeed work hard at putting out the main fire. This, in my experience, helps to lower the number of spot fires and thus, helps my struggles more manageable.

In other words, be honest with yourself and work towards accepting your mental disorder. Tackling depression for example, is essentially fighting the main fire and thus making the smaller ones (day to day challenges) easier to contain. If you can figure out the source of your difficulties, you can devise a method of attack to save yourself.

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

A good diet, exercise and down time can all help one dampen down your depressive symptoms, boost your mood and make the wider world seem way less overwhelming. These actions are applicable to other mental health conditions, like anxiety, PTSD, etc.

Daily stress can be accumulative if we fight on without self-care. Every try running in the water? For me, it’s kinda like that.

I look at it this way. Trying to go full tilt while in a pool or another body of water will only achieve one thing; it will exhaust a person very quickly. Stress and taking on the world has this effect on my mental well-being. Oftentimes, it’s simply too heavy to navigate my way through the wider world. All I achieve is extreme fatigue. Yay, me!

Why depression is so exhausting.

All I can do is work on putting out the main fire. Or at least knocking it down to a degree that allows me to get back on the road to mental wellness. Over the years, I have come to realize that having depression, anxiety and PTSD, will always be a fire breathing dragon that I must contend with. So, even if I don’t slay the beast, through therapy, mindfulness and exercise, I may just be able to tame 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!

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

Ebb And Flow
There is a sort of ebb and flow to PTSD and depression. …
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 …
Putting out my own fires

Putting out my own fires

I admit, I suck at putting out my own fires. How good are you at self-care?

I answered my last alarm a few years back and ever since then, I have been putting out my own fires. This time, I am battling blazes that threaten to consume my mind and myself in my entirety.

At first, I hated that I was too “weak” to fend off a little thing like PTSD, I sure as hell, so I thought, had defeated bigger monsters in my life; this beast would be easy to slay, right? Man, did I ever pay a price for that silly assumption.

Fortunately for me, I saw the wall I was hurling towards at top speed. Thankfully, this gave me time to abandoned my foolish ways before I became yet another tragic statistic.

Putting out my own fires
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Even though I narrowly escaped a socially acceptable, yet mythical norm; that of plowing through every ounce of mental pain, I was, however, left with permanent injuries, ones I can now not ignore.

How to recognize PTSD

You know that old saying? That ignorance is bliss? Well, not in my case, had I not worked on putting out my own fires, my world could have been destroyed by my own ignorance. Turns out, that what you don’t know can hurt you. Whether you want to see it or not, it is still there.

While it’s true that I hoped that the tragic events imprinted on my memory would somehow dissolve over time, wrong! If that weren’t enough, I am also a helper by nature. This disposition is, by default one that sees people like myself at the bottom of their, “to take care of list.”

Want to read more! Check out I CAME ALIVE AT THIRTY-FIVE.

This approach is, in my view ridiculous. Why? Because running on empty all the time leaves you drained, lonely and unfulfilled as a person. Not After all, we love helping others, it’s what drives us but without self-care, we can’t reap the benefits of our work. At least, this has been my experience.

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

In conclusion, putting out our own fires needs to be the priority. Think of it this way. Militaries all over the world have learned that they must condition their troops. So, on the level of the individual, they must be in peak shape to do their job. In other words, they must look after themselves first. And so too should we.

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
Pre 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

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