The Road to Mental Wellness

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Mindfulness And Being Present.

Mindfulness And Being Present.

How many times have you hear this; it's important to live in the present, the now? You can find customized versions of this idea all over social media. It is one of the main focuses of mindfulness and the one of the main tools in my therapy sessions.

It is a very valid therapeutic principle and is popularized for a very good reason, its fundamental to recovery and essential for anyone who wants to be present in those moments we so often bypass because we are too consumed by our pain.

It is, right to assume, so I believe, that those with mental illness are in a mental time machine of sorts; we either are busy ruminating on the disasters of the past or, like a screenwriter, writing  a screenplay for a futuristic movie, we are consumed with mentally writing out a interior script of how our future chaos will play out.

We are being poked and encouraged by our fears, fears formulated by our past who is nothing but a shady character that is a by-product of our anxiety. Consistently living like this feels to me like we are living in "the moment." The darker dimension of this mindfulness like state  keeps us shackled to the walls of our minds that sure feels very in the moment to me. I think of it as the evil counterpart of mindfulness, it's intention is just as effective but its goal is to erode the sick. its motives are nefarious and very damaging.

Now, I am very well aware that this isn't truly living in the moment as mindfulness defineds it but nonetheless, it is occupying and devouring your life in real time; hence, living in the present. Living in the present in this context is something that I have mastered and is something I take no pride in, being an expert in finding techniques that allow my mental illnesses to rob me in these moments in real time are not what I had envisioned for myself. Nonetheless, I can take back control, I have won my life back in the past and have lost it to my disorders once more. This is and has been my mental health life cycle.

So in a sense, I feel like, if most people with mental illness are like me, they are very good at living in the present; just not in a way that propels them down the road to mental wellness. It takes practice and dedication to intentionally give pause to the pain and learn to breath in the moment of the here and now, to be present enough to enjoy a date with your partner, a child's birthday or a coffee with a good friend.

Learning mindfulness can help you work those moments that are the most problematic by intentionally working through the troubling thought and seeing it to the end. I have just started this process with my therapist and learning it. I will learn that avoiding my PTSD for example is counter-productive to the healing process, giving them the attention they need in the hands of a healthcare professional is essentially working through them in real time.

To learn more about mindfulness check it out here.

The battle to retake happiness
So to summarize, I feel that living in the darkest regions of your mind is being present in a sense but only because you are being consumed by your mental illnesses and the symptoms they produce, living in a perpetual loop of despair in real time. Where as mindfulness, allows you to work through the pain, triggers, lows etc. By paying it more mind in a more productive way, by working through it and not avoiding, mindfulness will help you break free from the loop and once mastered, can lift the fog of disorder and free you up to live your life.

you may also enjoy: Apologize For What, Being ill?

Also, check out my friend's blogs:    

A New Dawn

Sick Not Weak

Abby's Chronicles

Friday, 10 May 2019

The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

The Mental Health Work Injury Called PTSD

As I rise this morning and prep my morning coffee, I began to hear sirens off in the distance, lots of them. They are fire trucks. After fifteen years in the fire service, they are unmistakable to this veterans ears.

At one time, hearing them responding to chaos would produce a flow of adrenaline and kick my passion for helping others into high gear; now, they are replaced with fear, angst and a numbing dread, all produced by PTSD. Often times it sends me into a mental health crisis and holds me captive for the remainder of the day. For coping strategies for PTSD go here: PTSD ASSOCIATION OF CANADA 

The sounds of sirens cutting through the silence of the early morning air, evoke in me such a range of conflicting emotions. Not only does it produce feelings of body numbing, anxiety, racing thoughts and fear, it also, make me very angry, sad and lost. Perhaps the hardest feeling of all is the feeling abandoned by those whom I believed to be my brothers and sisters of the service. The sound of sirens are an instant reminder of the sacrifices I made, time lost with family, and my mental work related injury that I sustained while in the course of my duties.

Moreover, they are an instant, PTSD triggering reminder that I have essentially been left behind. So, I am angry on two fronts, this intense feeling of being forgotten and I am pissed because I love the fire service, it's in my blood and shall always be woven into the fabric of my being. Having this reside in my heart angers me because I knew that when those bay doors closed behind me for the last time, I knew that it was indeed the end. I am now a mere shadow of my former self and a distant memory by those I battled the beast with.

The mental health work injury called PTSD has destroyed millions and disrupted the lives of those who have been touched by its symptoms. Yet, like all forms of mental illness, it goes unrecognized as a legitimate work related injury with in the service. But I ask you. How is it different than any other injury? It's constant pain, its, in my case, injured me to the degree that I am not able to work, it's managed by health care professionals; it also requires accommodation, symptom management and requires one to learn how to adapt their life to move on from dreams and passion they once were able to do with ease. Now replace mental illness with any physical injury; broken back, head injury etc. Now apply the requirements above to these physical injuries; symptom management, constant pain.....Again I ask you, How are they different from any other injury? THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. Wondering if you

Might have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD?) check here, Signs and symptoms of PTSD.

"I feel like a discarded garden, left to wither and die".

You may also enjoy: PTSD: The Impact Of Stigma On Firefighters

Please note: that if you think you may have PTSD, please contact your health care provider and talk to them. I highly recommend you request a referral to your mental health services.
There are also resources out there to help, organizations like Sick Not Weak, a non profit dedicated to supporting persons with mental illness.

Our email address:  [email protected]

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Mindfulness And Being Present.

Mindfulness And Being Present. How many times have you hear this; it's important to live in the present, the now? You can find cu...

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