rendered me useless

Rendered Me Useless

As I rose from yet another sleepless night, I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. This seemingly out the blue spike in angst shot through me and in an instant, rendering me useless. Thankfully, I was able to knock it down a peg or two before it highjacked my entire day.

Even though I was able to defeat the demon within, at least for now, I was still left with why did it happen? My therapist tells me that trying to figure out its source is irrelevant; it’s more important that I focus on the “now” and working on ways to reduce its grip. By using therapeutic techniques like mindfulness I can get through most mental health-related incidents. But not always.

Having spent years in the fire service, I am primed to act, not just sit like some sort of spectator.

Despite what the therapist tells me, I have made it my life’s work to overthink and find solutions for everything that runs through my head. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to obsess or consume my time trying to find its source. Rather, it found me. Usually uncovering the answer provides me with some relief; not so in this case.

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

So then, what set my anxiety ablaze? The answer is simple, Covid! Covid-19. Its everywhere and the fear it produces barrows it’s way into my head and becomes all-consuming. This virus is much more than a two-week fad on social media, in fact, it has been quoted as being the new normal, at least for the for seeable future.

I am anxious, not because of my anxiety disorder itself, but because, my PTSD has rendered me useless

If I were to be more specific about the source of my episode with angst, I would have to say that I’m impacted by two things. Firstly, I must confess that I am constantly being triggered by the bombardment of updates; the news constantly fuels my mental illness fire. Post-traumatic stress disorder hates this sort of stuff. Secondly, I am and always will be a helper. Thankfully, I am still able to help others in the capacity of a mental health blogger and advocate, which is I am grateful for. However, I am primmed to act in times like these. My many years as a firefighter have conditioned me to be this way. Making order out of chaos is our specialty. Sadly, in my mind, these two factors have rendered me useless.

Rendered Me Useless
rendered me useless

Want to hear people speak about their mental health journey? Go here The Depression Files With Al Levin

In addition, my years working in long term care saw there own moments of turmoil. There have been many times in my career where my colleges and I have gone toe to toe with a virus or two. Mentally taxing and physically exhausting, it was all-out war We did our best to tend to the sick and tried to isolate people the best we could.

Looking back on my life, I had made a career out of combating the worst of the worst. Sure, it pales in comparison to what the world is going through now in terms of scale, nonetheless, my years putting my own mental and physical health on the line to help others gives me a glimpse into what is happening around the world. For me, it’s not hard to see why my anxiety was so high.

Not being able to help is my new normal.

I can only conclude that today, I am anxious, not because of my anxiety disorder itself, but because, my PTSD. It has rendered me useless in our darkest time of need. That is a very hard reality to accept. When you couple that with the stress of knowing what it’s like, working in these trenches, I can’t help but worry about my former colleges, my family and my friends. Please be safe everyone.

I also can’t help but think of people who are in the same boat as me. The former firefighters, paramedics, nurses and doctors who have been injured by their jobs and now watch from afar; stricken with a life long affliction with trauma and are fighting it now more than ever. I salute you!

With that said, we can still do our part to stop the spread of covid; we can do this by following the rules of social distancing, washing our hands and isolate ourselves if need be. Literally, the less we do, the more help we will be. In these most uncertain times, this is how we minimize the chaos and serve our communities.

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

My Road To Wellness – Not Alone

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we hit the wall, or as some people call it, hitting rock bottom. Whatever one chooses to call it, its an excruciating period in one’s life where they simply can’t hand the barrage of painful events that life throws their way.

I, like the rest of humanity, have found myself face down in the mud of my own overwhelmed misery. As if the darker points in my life weren’t troubling enough, I have come to see hard times as the ultimate test of true friendship.
In my view, this phenomenon is both a sad and a positive thing. Those who really care for you will squeak out of the woodwork and be there through it all, while others will be but a puff of smoke, running like a cartoon character in the opposite direction. Sometimes we are fooled by the good friends we thought we knew.
There is another wonderfully positive thing that has come out of my most recent personal tragedy. This surprising and unanticipated thing is that of people whom I barely know or don’t know at all, rushing to be my side. It lifts my spirits because I know that the road to mental wellness is not a lonely one.
Most of these compassionate strangers have come from social media platforms. What I find so fascinating about this is that they are people from all over the world, all of which have been or are going through something very similar to myself. What’s most enjoyable about this is that we all lean on one another, its as though we have known each other for years. The best social media platform I have found for this is Twitter. People there are looking for the same as I  am. Maybe you are too. Follow me on Twitter here: ArenburgJohn
When it comes to those “friends” who jump ship, I have stopped worrying about them a long time ago. Admittedly, some of their departures have stung worse than others, but that’s life. On the positive side, it sets good boundaries, so I know exactly where they stand.
So, What makes a good friend? To find out, go here:  The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends

This blog post is for them, those who are good friends, who’re friendships stay intact regardless of circumstance or duration of your challenge. I wanted to say thank you for staying by my side. Because of you, my road to mental wellness has demonstrated to me over and over again, that it’s not the number of people in your life that matters; it’s the quality of strong bonds that will see you through.

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.

Trauma Specialist, Dr. Jeffery Hosick: jeffreyhosick.com

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


Email: roadtomentalwellness@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/TRTMW

Social Media Therapeutic or Harmful

Once I walked out through the doors at the workplace for the last time and walked my way to a world that was not only overflowing with mental pain that was starting to bust out of my seams, I also faced a world of complete uncertainty.

This uncertainty, as you might well imagine is scary, to say the least. In the early days of being off work, I had no supports in place, no routine and, as a guy who needs to be constantly busy, this didn’t help matters any; especially in the mental health department. If you have been following my wellness journey here on The Road To Mental Wellness, Then you will remember that one of my favourite sayings is: “You get to choose where you but your energy”. Refusing to remain idle and allow the voice of mental illness to consume my authentic self, I set about finding ways to keep myself busy.
I have always been a helper, it’s what I do, it’s where I get my energy. You can look at it as my default setting in which defines who I am. So I naturally gravitated towards helping others. This time, my focus would be on those who are frozen in fear of stigma. I was then and still am now telling my story and hoping that it resonates with people; enough to put them on their own path to mental wellness.
Taking on this very important work in this day and age, social media is a necessity. You need to find ways to drive traffic to your blog. The work that goes on behind the scenes, just so you can read this post is very time-consuming. It involves networking with other mental health bloggers, getting your page to rank so it will be seen on Google and lots must be done to build and maintain an audience. Like advertising when you publish new material. 
This brings me to the heart of this post. I have found social media very therapeutic and have met many wonderful people from all corners of the globe. However, it does have a sinister side that can be just as toxic to one’s mental well-being, as toxic as forgoing treatment. The devil that lies within the binary code that is the algorithms all social media platforms use, can have detrimental effects.
These algorithms are experts at picking up what you involve yourself in. If you’re a huge fan of cars or flowers, your feeds will be dominated by all things car or flower related. Wonderful, for these are more passion-driven and can produce a lot of useful, even joyous information. But when the subject matter deals with the difficulties that come with life, this algorithm can encase one in a person of their own struggles. In my case, it can hinder any progress I make with my PTSD, Anxiety and depressive disorders. All I ever see are mental health adverts, other bloggers in my follow the cue and sponsored ads for mental health organizations.
It is for this reason that my social media presence isn’t as prevalent as it is recommended. Honestly, I can’t do it, It throws fuel on my mental illness fires that are always burning inside of me. But, like all things, I strive for balance and limit myself to mornings and I periodically glance at it during the day. Committing time to friends and family is essential for me; so in that sense, social media doesn’t work for me. Anyone who blogs can tell you that it can consume you. Something I’m not willing to do is allow the “customized user experience” to tweak the reward centre of my brain, leave me addicted and thus worse off with my mental health than when I started. For more on The impact of social media on your mental health, check here.

If you are into mental health blogging and feeling worse than when you turned to it for help, maybe you need to throttle it back and find the best balance for you. I believe that minimizing mental illness impacts is a holistic endeavour, one that requires exercise, downtime and the right amount of real social interaction. So, Mental Health bloggers, Is social media therapeutic or harmful? It’s worth taking a serious look at and fine-tuning your tolerances so you can continue to do what you love. If I only reach ten people, that’s ten lives I have helped. When you think about it, that’s awesome! I don’t worry about the number of page views, likes and shares, I worry about my health above helping the entire world. For tips on managing mental illness go here: How to stay mentally well. 

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





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

Check out my friend’s blog here: https://abbeyschronicles.com