When the fog rolls in

When The Fog Rolls In

If you happen to be in touch with your mental illness(s), you know when a storm is brewing. A mental health storm, at least from my experience, has a certain familiarity to them. You just know when the fog rolls in that it may decide to hold you captive.

In my case, I can tell you exactly when my PTSD has acquired enough strength to highjack my wellness. While it may be true that I am often oblivious to the cause, even still, I attribute its source to a forgotten nightmare. Why? Because its symptoms often set in after I wake.

It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode.

All I do know is that when the fog rolls in, its near impossible to mount a defence. This of course, isn’t every time but when it’s especially thick, often, my only option is to hunker down and wait it out.

Not surprisingly, my major PTSD episodes start out with a consistent feeling. A feeling of dread that lingers off in the distance when I first wake. I find it very similar to when I was staring face to face with a traumatic incident; leading me to believe that something dreadful followed me back into this reality.

Full list of PTSD symptoms.

It is for this reason that I feel forgotten nightmares are responsible. I have reached this conclusion because more often than not, it comes for me in my slumber.

It is under these circumstances when I feel it’s often too late to prevent a full-blown traumatic episode; as the fog rolls in, no amount of mindfulness can fight it off. Similarly, I find any other form of therapy ineffective.

Want to read the perspective of another mental health blogger? Go to Encourage Green

Needless to say, trying to navigate my way through this heavy brain fog is difficult at best and completely impossible at worst. Ironically, it’s the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder themselves that are to blame.

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With these symptoms, there seems to be a sequence to them. They are as follows:

  1. A deep sense of dread upon awakening (whether I remember the nightmare or not).
  2. Level 10 brain fog.
  3. An increase of my fight, flight or freeze response.
  4. Thus, turning up the dial of my startle response.
  5. Easily irritated or angered.
  6. Find everything overwhelming.
When the fog rolls in

So, if you were to ask me which PTSD symptom is the most difficult, I would say, in short, all of them. However, with that said, being easily overwhelmed and the inherent startle response, is, without a doubt the ones that put me out of commission.

So, what’s the remedy?

The only thing I can offer in the way of advice if you go through something similar is to do nothing. Moreover, learn to be ok with that.

Despite what we think, we are human, not superhuman and because of that, we must learn to understand PTSD, depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions are going to win a battle every now and then; that my friend is a fact.

Ask yourself this; Can I have a day here and there to just ride the wave? I’m happy to say that it works for me and it too can work for you. In my case, It’s effective because I feel zero guilt and not an ounce of shame. I’m sick and I’m done pretending otherwise.

Ways to be self-compassionate

I truly hope that the next time the fog rolls in that you will be kind to yourself. The storm will pass and as long as you’re not running away from it every day; riding it out can be the best thing for your mental health.

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Contact us: The Road To Mental Wellness

The Results Are In, Am I Healed?

As I entered the final week of the election, where I was a volunteer, I experienced a gradual decline in my mental health. In contrast, the week leading up to the election, I was feeling well, mentally and was well for the best part of two weeks. It was great to be freed from the feelings of threat, stress and near-constant anxiety. I never say it out loud but when I am feeling well I am always so hopeful that psychological tournament has been mysteriously extinguished.

I believe that being off work for as long as I have been energized me enough to try and get back into some sort of everyday routine and as a result, I was excited at the opportunity to test the waters; like a child on Christmas eve, I was so excited to see what a shot of normality would bring. After all, I was feeling better and felt like I had turned a corner. The Results Are In, Am I Healed?

Sadly, No, being out of the safety of my home where quiet and feelings of safety reign supreme, the exposure took a hammer and chisel to this happy reprieve from my minds struggles and by the end of it, my startle response was a constant seven or eight and the consequence of exposing my mental health to the onslaught of noise, sirens and constant busy have demonstrated to me that I am not where I had blissfully thought I was.

How to cope with the world when mentally ill

So, what does this experience teach me, teach you? Well, there’s more than one way to look at the experience and its outcome. I could feel defeated at the knowledge that the periods of mental wellness always fades like the sunset as it is overtaken by the night’s darkness, or I can acknowledge that I can’t always have sunshine and roses and understand, that when a period of post-traumatic stress and or depression blanket me in their symptoms, I have little choice but to ride the wave until I hit the shores of calm, happier points in time.

When in the throws of the heavy, exhausting feelings of mental illness, I must keep in mind that I will be granted tempory leave from my mind’s tournament. Perhaps most importantly, I have to be good with that, the way the cards have been dealt.

when I’m able to do that, I feel like I live a fuller, more manfully life because when I’m feeling well I don’t throw myself forward in time by saying, “This good time won’t last.” Instead, I live in the moment using mindfulness 

f 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
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Post-Traumatic Stress Tested In Real-Time

In three days it will be exactly one year since I was forced off of work due to mental illness. If you take the time to read through my blog site, you will undoubtedly start to see how long and difficult The Road To Mental Wellness can be. I hope that you can also see that despite the long and arduous battle, it is, without question worth the struggle to keep moving forward.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
You know, PTSD is a hell of a thing, the nightmares replaying the most horrific scenes in my head while I attempt to sleep can write off the rest of the night and even the days to follow. Fear of leaving my home, my mental made prison can really keep me in a perpetual loop of avoidance. I see potential emergencies lurking around every corner.

So, after all this time making myself scarce, sometimes for a week or two at a time,  only braving the world to see the people I am closest to or to sit down a discuss mental illness with other suffers, I decided to volunteer my time to help a political candidate in their bid for office in the federal election. 

I decided this because I need to start to gauge my tolerance in what is essentially a work environment, I felt honoured to be asked to help. and I thought, “What a pressure-free way of testing the waters”. This prospect excited me because all I want to is move on with my life and get to a point where I can manage well enough to walk among the working world regularly. 
Sadly, this social integration experiment is not going as well as I had hoped. Ever since I’ve started,  my startle response is at a constant high and I’m overwhelmed by the exposure to others bustling about. Overly loud vehicles rumbling by, just outside the office door, tear my already dwindled concentration away from what I am doing and my most triggering thing of all, sirens, lots of sirens. There is so much constant stimulation that I tire so quickly.

How to reduce stress in the workplace

At the end of most days, I am left in such a state of hypervigilance that I remain awake most of the night; this only compounds everything I have mentioned above when the next day rolls around.

My saving grace? The fact that I am a volunteer, I can do as little or as much as I can tolerate, I take full advantage of that flexibility. But, we all know that the working work demands one to be on all of the time, something that I simply cannot do. Testing out my PTSD symptoms in this voluntary environment has taught me that.

I will get there though, I will persevere and I will win the day… You can too, just keep working towards a solution that works so you can be productive and feel like your winning your mental disorder war.

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

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