Connection and Recovery

Connection and Recovery

Having a mental illness for as long as I have, you start to think about what caused it. Moreover, I can’t help but wonder why some of us make it through while sadly, others do not. Is there something to connection and recovery

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One would have to be a fool to think that some of us are stronger than others and that’s why some people make it. While there may be some truth to that; one thing that science knows for sure is that we are wired for connection. Could this be the reason some of us hold on?

I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support I am blessed with.

A study conducted by Harvard University over a span of 80 years has found that people need other people. People with strong ties to the community, to their families and relationships, are more likely to live longer. Essentially, the happier you are, the longer you will live. Find the ted talk on the study here:

Harvards 80 year study on human happniess

Perhaps what’s most fascinating to me is that positive social interaction can help you live longer even if your cholesterol is high. In other words, what factly makes us happy is the bonds we forge; not the jobs we have and certainly not the things we own.

So, why am I bringing this up? Well, is it then possible that people with mental illness who have strong ties to supports and have strong ties to others could also live longer?

Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.

Fortunately, when I read the study, it looks like it could be the case. Although the study doesn’t seem to focus on the mentally ill; it does demonstrate that social connection has a positive impact on mental health outcomes. Therefore, It’s not s leap of faith to suggest that this too applies to us.

Connection and Recovery

Now, I can’t find any good science to suggest this however, I can speak to my own experiences on having good supports in life. and I can say, for me; the social connection and love has literally been a lifesaver.

People have commended me for what appears to them, to be a sort of inner strength. maybe, but I can’t say that’s totally true. I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support of family, friends and a sense of duty to help others.

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As anyone with a debilitating mental health condition can tell you; one of the hallmark tendencies is to withdraw from any form of social interaction. This may sound counter-intuitive but when the outside world wears down your tolerance, this seems logical to the ill-minded individual

This behaviour, the need to isolate is in fact not the answer, at least not entirely. Should you take time for self-care? Absolutely! Should your self-care extend into weeks or even months? The answer is probably not. Rather, the answer mostly lies in connection and recovery

In short, we need connection and good support. We also must find the strength to integrate ourselves into something meaningful outside of our comfort zone. Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.

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

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

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Where to draw the line

Where To Draw The Line

It’s the damndest thing, isn’t it? How a mental health condition can take you on a wild ride of feeling worthless to feeling super productive. Feeling like a one on the wellness meter is by no means where I aspire to be. No, I love the moments in time when I feel well. It’s where we all strive to be but, I have to be honest, it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

Take last week for example, what a wonderful period of time. I took the opportunity to spend time with some good friends and even attended a community outing. A gathering that was full of strangers no less.

Sadly, I still fell victim to the powers of mental illness

While being social and getting out to public places is crucial, I sometimes forget that I am still fighting for the resilience required to handle it all. When I am at the top of my game; I stop paying attention to the fact that mental illness is all an ebb and flow.

Self care tips on maintaining mental wellness.

And, like radiation, if exposed to triggers for too long, I slowly start to become symptomatic. The best way to avoid a crash is knowing your tolerances, a skill that I don’t always adhere to. Trust me, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just feeling good makes me forget.

The trouble with forgetting is, is sooner or later, PTSD will remind me that it was only taking a nap. A sad reality I was reminded of the other day when I was so mentally drained, I slept all day. Oops. As a consequence, I am still feeling its effect two days later.

I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.

Where to draw the line
Where to draw the line

Sadly, I still fall victim to the powers of mental illness and because of that, I am not ready for the real world; not for eight hours a day, five days a week. While that fact is a crystal clear one, I nonetheless do what I can in these situations to measure any semblance of success. This time, however, I failed to see where to draw the line.

You know what? That’s ok. One of the areas of mass improvement for me is that I have learned not to beat myself up over it. It’s not a regression, it’s a mistake that leads to a temporary setback; one in I will recover from with a little downtime and some good self-care.

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Along my road to mental wellness, I have learned a lot along the way. One of them is that I must accept that there are going to be setbacks. In fact, I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.

So, where does this leave me this week? Well, I have purposefully kept my schedule light and have my to-do list short. My recovery is contingent on a low key, low stimulus environment; loosely translated, I’m gonna stay home.

Well, with that said, get out there and test your boundaries to see where you are at. If for whatever reason you can’t find where to draw the line, no worries; It simply means that you may have to do a reset with a lighter schedule and some “me” time. You know what? It really is ok. No self-blame needed.

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

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Mental Health Peace Talks

For me, if I don’t constantly negotiate with my anxiety it will initiate a hostile takeover. It will lay claim to not only my mental health but it will invest its control into wreaking havoc on me physically as well. Learn more about the physical symptoms of anxiety here: Physical Signs of Anxiety.

It’s a delicate relationship, the one I have in my head and at times, more often than I care for, I am fooled into thinking that my authentic self and the evils of angst are both honouring the agreement they have signed. That is to allow me to have the peace and happiness I deserve.
Of course, the odds are stacked against anxiety because there is never a desirable moment that I wish to compromise and allow it to have free rein over my life. This mental illness is well aware that I never intended it to have any say in how I conduct my life so it jacked up its negative talk, it’s fear factor elevated and wanted a seat at the neurological table.
But it only wishes to thrive by ensuring that I isolate myself and see to it that it tanks my self-esteem.  It has, sad to say, been very successful at claiming it’s dominance despite many psychological techniques applied and in defiance of the tools I employ to keep it at bay For more on coping tools for anxiety go here: Top 10 Simple Tools to Reduce Anxiety
There are a few things I find helpful, therapy being one of those but as we both know therapists aren’t like support call centres, they’re not on call 24 hours a day to provide assistance. But what I found the most helpful when therapy is not available, is to simply give anxiety permission to have the floor and I take the time to work through it, take a day when I need to. It’s important to realize that this can only be granted when is necessary.

What I’ve learned is that a zero-tolerance policy is a wrong approach to fighting mental illness simply because disorders of the mind do not honour any sort of peace agreement. It prefers to sabotage my happiness by its ever lingering presence in the background, becoming noisier and noisier as the annoyances of life slowly give it enough power to push my authenticity out of the driver seat.  Essentially,  I let it take the wheel and rest until it runs out of fuel and slips into the background once more.

Agreement

So it’s kind of like a summit,  Anxiety And the Mental Health Peace Talks seems a fitting title. Basically, what I am trying to say is it’s OK if you need a day here and there to allow for the symptoms of your illness to flare up, give yourself that permission. It will pass. Making peace with it and take time for self-care will go along way to maintain overall good mental health. Remember, total denial will only give it power. What’s not OK is avoiding what makes you anxious on a continuous basis.
I believe in you.

You may also enjoy: Mental Illness And Cleaning Out The Garage: What Do They Have In Common

If you are suffering from PTSD, 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