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Sunday, 1 September 2019

Face To Face With My Mental Illness

Face To Face With My Mental Illness

This time last year I came face to face with my mental illness I had reached the tipping point as it were, the juncture where I finally summoned up the strength and courage to confront the demons who snuck in the back door and hijacked my mental health. Of course, this was more of a gradual take over but as brutal and as debilitating as a full-scale mind invasion.

Signs of a mental health crisis

In this particular type of scenario, there are only two things one can do; one can let the flashbacks and nightmares, irritability and hypervigilance see their hostile talk over to the end and thus allowing them to lock one down in a cold, dark and unforgiving dungeon somewhere deep within my mind. Or...... I could go to war with my what I recognized as the mental health condition known as PTSD.

Because of my fire service background, I recognized these hostiles as PTSD. Because I knew my invading enemy, I understood that I fight or I die. Faced with these two choices my decision was an easy one, having so much to live for, I set out on the road to mental wellness to combat this most formidable foe.

Essentially, I recognized that I had been involved in one too many traumatic incidents and I was spinning out of control into a full-blown mental health crisis. So then, what were my weapons of choice? For one, Giving up on denial; denial allows mental illness to intrude on every aspect of one's life and will eventually take one down.

Recommended reading

The other weapons I deployed to avoid mass mental destruction was - Firstly, not caring what others thought. This weapon is so important that I would not have reached for any other tool because fear would have been allowed to grow and fester had I cared about others opinions. Secondly, I worked closely with my employer to ensure that they knew and that I was taking time off. Thrid was medical and mental health professionals. Unshamed to reach out to them as much as possible to ensure I got the right care was very essential.  For those discouraged by the system, Please keep going. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease.

Over the course of the year, I have come face to face with my mental illness known as PTSD and have battled anxiety and depression along the way. I have deployed many other weapons on the war against mental illness, Including diet and exercise. There are so many things to try that it would be the longest blog post in my history if I wrote everything I have tried. 

Hopefully, my experience will help get you started down your own road to mental wellness so you can live once more.

Want help fund my book? donate: GOFundMe - The Road To Mental Wellness - The book

Friday, 30 August 2019

Psychotherapy - After the session

Psychotherapy - After the session

A trip to the psychologist's office is never an easy one. It's not that I dread it, its, as I'm sure some of you can relate, the hashing up of all the traumatic experiences. Sometimes it feels like I do enough re-living of my own though the nightmares and random flashbacks the seemingly come out of nowhere. So, these sessions can wake the demon of PTSD and cause me to disassociate, lose focus and as a consequence, I don't really get a lot of therapeutic benefits.

Things to discuss with your mental health professional

Despite all the triggering, I fight on because its what I know best. I need to. The latter option terrifies me. I find that overall, it does help keep me crawling down the road of mental wellness. And even though it's uncomfortable and exhausting, it must be done. I just have to keep telling myself that challenge is really uncomfortable, without pain there can be no chance for change.

Ways to Improve your mental health

Of course, I can't speak to the effectiveness of your sessions while in therapy because we are all different and what landed us on the therapist's couch is as unique as you and I. What I find most perplexing is not what takes place during the session but rather, how I feel afterward.

My experience with the post-session psychotherapy time is this; some days I can barely make it to the office, I feel so despondent but after the psychologist and I work through what we are working on, I walk out of there feeling renewed and wondering as if I am cured.

OK, maybe not cured but I do feel as though I can take on the remainder of the day with my authenticity. Meaning I see the world without the cloudy fog of PTSDanxiety and depression. Whist others, I walk in feeling triggered, anxious or dark from depression, go through the therapeutic routine and come out feeling like I was just caught off guard by a mental illness avalanche. I have yet to figure out why.

Has this ever happened to you? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

The aftermath of a challenging session sometimes puts me down and out for a few days and almost always takes me out for the remainder of the day. Sometimes I stress eat to try and cope, other times I shut the rest of the day off with slumber.

Having a counselling background myself, I know that the patient doesn't grow if not gently nudged to do so. In order to effectively get to the roots of the issue, one has to be challenged. So, if it appears as though you're are feeling worse, perhaps it's the therapists professionally guiding you towards the tools you need to get better.

Hopefully, through mindfulness training and coping skill-building I can l slowly start walking out of the session and right back into living, at least more often than not. I long for those times, I just know they are coming; I just have to work on it, keep going to therapy so I can start to feel free after the sessions.

Please, hang in there, if you have found the right therapist, then I'm confident you'll be on your way to a better you, on your way to healing. I'm rooting for you.

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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