The Road to Mental Wellness
Showing posts with label Post-traumatic stress disorder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Post-traumatic stress disorder. Show all posts

Monday, 7 October 2019

Mental Health Assessment: A tale of strength.

Mental Health Assessment: A tale of strength.

I can still remember the weeks I went for my assessments to see if what I was going through was something diagnosable. It was mentally excruciating and absolutely exhausting. The psychologist and I were working with diagnostic tools to determine whether I have PTSD, anxiety and depression. After going through all that, it becomes more and more difficult to think of me as a weak individual.

Through that entire process, all I wanted to do is avoid the psychologist's office like it was on fire but my desire to find out what was going on was much stronger. It was this need to know that propelled me into the therapist's office and put myself through hell. Is this weakness or strength? If you answered strength, you'd be correct and if you feel this way, I know you can do it too.

What to expect at the psychologist's office

Like many uncomfortable things in life, the mental pain I put myself through was worth it in the end. Looking back on all those gruelling sessions, I can now say that I am glad I went through them. Not only am I happy I did so, but I am also grateful for all the support I have had during that time, both professionally and personally.

Now, six months after officially determining that I have Post-traumatic stress disorder, Major depressive disorder and Generalized anxiety disorder, I have not only made it my mission to get better, but I have accumulated a belief in my heart that the fight for your mental health is worth it, I know that you can do it too. Realizing that I am sick and that weakness is not at all synonymous with any mental illness battle, I only see action as courage, mental exhaustion as the limits to the daily battle.

It has given me hope, not only hope that I will return to my former glory but that I can help many others reach their mental wellness goals by telling my own story; strength over mental illness stigma.

Please know that you are not alone on your road to mental wellness, believe in yourself if you keep going, you will reach your goals and as you go you will see that mental health assessments are a tale strength that can lead to the path of victory.

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

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You may also enjoy: I am vulnerable: I'm good with that.

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Friday, 16 August 2019

Impending Danger, PT 2: How I'm moving on.

Impending Danger, PT 2

In part one of Impending danger: Psychological shock, I talk about how my fight, flight or freeze system is always engaged because of the hypervigilance that accompanies post-traumatic stress disorder and how it impedes me from living a full life. My mind is always combined my firefighting past with the present; off work and struggling with mental illness me. So then, how am I moving on?

More on Fight, Flight or Freeze

Well, I believe that the odds of success are more likely if one has a plan. In my case, my plan goes far beyond taking a pill and hoping for the best. The complexities of PTSD are far greater than "pill to make it better" approach. Nothing about this mental health journey I am on is easy, I accept it; for better or for worse it's amalgamated itself within every fibre of my being.

You maybe wonder at this point; "OK John, What's the plan?" Well, in order to increase my odds of beating this monster, I had to open up to the many options out there. I looked into and otherwise read about many potential options. Word of advice; if you're looking for answers too, don't take whatever you see on the internet and run with it. that could end up being a recipe for disaster. Rather, look for commonalities in your search. For example, through all the research I have done and it's been a lot, on better health, sleep almost always comes up. Therefore, I try taking sleep very seriously.

The absolutely crucial need for sleep tops my agenda of how I attempt to move on. The lack of sleep makes every symptom of PTSD, depression and anxiety so much worse. Noise, the hypervigilance and the startle response are all intensified when I am exhausted. My psychiatrist and I are working to try to quell the nightmares and help me sleep with medications.

I try to eat well and I exercise four days a week. Both of these are essential to symptoms management and are key to my survival. Isolation, for me, is essential but there is a fine line between healthy alone time and out-and-out hiding from the world. I have learned that, like it or not, I need social connection. I find that I end up really enjoying the company of those I care for.

Getting to know my internal conflict, that with mental illness, I have sadly but rightfully come to the conclusion that I am not the man I used to be. I can no longer successfully integrate myself in the wider world like I once was able to do. I have learned that I am too easily overstimulated to tolerate any length of time in a public setting. So, for now, I force myself outside of my comfort zone but know when enough is enough. I am learning how to cope better through mindfulness.

Ways of coping with mental illness.

So in the face of Impending danger, how are you moving forward? Man, it sure isn't easy, but it is so worth every battle you face.  Whether it's with your interior world or the external one around you, you are struggling with, learning good coping skills and other techniques will help you win your life back.

Forgot to read part one? Impending danger: Psychological shock PT.1

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