The Road to Mental Wellness

Saturday, 19 October 2019

After the Wellness fair, time to reflect on what I have learnt.

After the Wellness fair, time to reflect on what I have learnt.

After having nearly a week to reflect on the wellness fair I attended last weekend, I look back on the experience with a sense of pride and achievement. Once the dust of anxiety settled and the accumulated symptoms of PTSD have subsided, I can honestly say that I look forward to future events similar to this one; I enjoyed the opportunity, despite the difficulties it presented for me.

Feelings of a successful day aside, what is parked most predominately in my mind are the real-life personal stories of those who stopped by. Each had their own mental wellness journey they were on and once they knew it was a safe place to talk, told of how they struggled with depression, grief and loss and how their anxieties often hold them within its grip. Its an honour and a privilege to have complete strangers confide in me, I love hearing their life scripts. Thank you all for sharing.

See, we all need help from time to time and we all just want to be heard, even if that's all it is. Lending an ear in fact, listening or active listening as it's known in the world of counselling is a very powerful tool. Therapists understand the value of silence and being attentive. As a trained counsellor myself, I  can testify to the power of actually hearing what someone is truly saying. It opens up the door for them, they quickly become comfortable and as a consequence, they begin to talk and bare their souls.

How to talk about your mental illness

This is why it's such an honour to be an active participant in the upheaval mental pain produces; it's no easy task, to carry the weight of mental illness with you where ever you go. The fear that you will be judged or perceived as weak is huge. This fact is not lost on me and because of this, individual mental health conversations should be held in the strictest of confidence.

Being struck with mental health challenges myself, I really do understand the weight that tightens up the shoulders, the anxiety that makes one's jaw clench and they inexplicable sadness that cultivates within. That's why I believe that we also need validation for our interior pain, a pain that is very real, often chronic and not just mentally either, a mental health condition can produce physical discomfort to a very unpleasant degree. It's very tiring and often defeating.

Symptoms of mental illness

The good news? If we have an avenue that we can be heard and have our troubles validated with genuine and sincere concern, without the fear of being judged or stigmatized we can ease this pain, minimize the fears and start to move forward. Just think of the progress we can make. Think of what a better world it could be for everyone.

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

You may also enjoy: Slowly Walking My Way To Mental Wellness.

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Mental Illness: Sometimes it wins

Mental Illness: Sometimes it wins

Since the beginning of September, I have been participating in a coping skills group. The whole goal of this education style process is to arm you with tools to help guide you through the things that trigger your emotions, anger, sadness etc. The main theme of the group is centred around mindfulness.

I am also learning some very useful mindfulness techniques through my one on one therapy with my psychologist. So far, I have been slowly building the mindfulness tools to help keep me in the present and thus minimizing my time emerged in my deep and detailed PTSD mind, the part of my mind that ruminates in the past and stands on guard for potential tragedies in the future.

But yesterday, yesterday I was overtaken and defeated by my demons. I was triggered and like an ocean wave, crashing on the shore, I was overwhelmed by its might. It started when it was my turn to talk about last week's homework, we had to pick an example of an incident where our emotional overtook us and evaluate whether the feelings we were experiencing fit the facts.

having been charged with the task of mitigating the tragic consequences of high-speed accidents, I've grown to hate speeding, it evokes such intense anger deep within that I struggle to keep my hand off the horn. I try to let it go but all I can think of is that someone is going to put me into a situation where I am going to be forced to render assistance to an irresponsible speeder trying to shave mere seconds off their journey.

My mind in first responder mode, sends me down the rabbit hole of  PTSD's chaos, reliving some of the most tragic accident scenes I've been part of.

This is the scenario I presented to the group and its facilitators. I walked through all the items that were required of the assignment then the numbness started to set in, I could feel the wave of dissociation coming for me but it was too late to inoculate myself against its effects. I remember very little of what took place next. In fact, once it was time to take a break, I was too overwhelmed to return, opting for the quiet, low lit lobby.

How to cope when triggered by PTSD

I remained in the lobby for the remainder of the time, sitting in the comfort of the quiet only getting up to pace the floor every now and again. So I guess the question is, do I feel like a failure for leaving the group?  Well, the answer is no and it's not entirely because I measured how far I have come, I was simply in the grip of my firefighting past and was not strong enough to reclaim my brain to feel anything.

Let's be honest, we are all going to have our moments where we can't outrun the mental illness that lurks in the shadows of all things suppressed. So why pour salt into an already deep festering wound.

So, be good to yourself, when you are overtaken by the tide of your mental health condition, remember, your years and years of being at odds with the self have made you an expert swimmer, a mental health warrior. As a warrior, you know that the overwhelming waters will recede and all the progress you have made will help you win the day.

There's no shame in mental pain."
                -John Arenburg.

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

You may also enjoy: But a Mere Crawl: Slowly making my way towards mental wellness.

Contact me on my Facebook page:

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