It’s the damndest thing, isn’t it? How a mental health condition can take you on a wild ride of feeling worthless to feeling super productive. Feeling like a one on the wellness meter is by no means where I aspire to be. No, I love the moments in time when I feel well. It’s where we all strive to be but, I have to be honest, it’s hard to know where to draw the line.
Take last week for example, what a wonderful period of time. I took the opportunity to spend time with some good friends and even attended a community outing. A gathering that was full of strangers no less.
Sadly, I still fell victim to the powers of mental illness
While being social and getting out to public places is crucial, I sometimes forget that I am still fighting for the resilience required to handle it all. When I am at the top of my game; I stop paying attention to the fact that mental illness is all an ebb and flow.
And, like radiation, if exposed to triggers for too long, I slowly start to become symptomatic. The best way to avoid a crash is knowing your tolerances, a skill that I don’t always adhere to. Trust me, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just feeling good makes me forget.
The trouble with forgetting is, is sooner or later, PTSD will remind me that it was only taking a nap. A sad reality I was reminded of the other day when I was so mentally drained, I slept all day. Oops. As a consequence, I am still feeling its effect two days later.
I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.
Where to draw the line
Sadly, I still fall victim to the powers of mental illness and because of that, I am not ready for the real world; not for eight hours a day, five days a week. While that fact is a crystal clear one, I nonetheless do what I can in these situations to measure any semblance of success. This time, however, I failed to see where to draw the line.
You know what? That’s ok. One of the areas of mass improvement for me is that I have learned not to beat myself up over it. It’s not a regression, it’s a mistake that leads to a temporary setback; one in I will recover from with a little downtime and some good self-care.
Like what you are reading? Check out Why You Shouldn’t Quit
Along my road to mental wellness, I have learned a lot along the way. One of them is that I must accept that there are going to be setbacks. In fact, I have learned to embrace them and see them as my new normal.
So, where does this leave me this week? Well, I have purposefully kept my schedule light and have my to-do list short. My recovery is contingent on a low key, low stimulus environment; loosely translated, I’m gonna stay home.
Well, with that said, get out there and test your boundaries to see where you are at. If for whatever reason you can’t find where to draw the line, no worries; It simply means that you may have to do a reset with a lighter schedule and some “me” time. You know what? It really is ok. No self-blame needed.
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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness
Bio: Addictions counsellor by trade, John spent 15 years in the volunteer fire service and nearly 20 years working in a long-term care setting, helping those with mental disabilities and mental illness. Off work because of his mental heath injury, PTSD. He dedicates his time to his blog and his book The Road To Mental Wellness where he is telling his story about his struggles with PTSD, depression and anxiety, hoping it will resonate with others. He is also very active politically, fighting for mental illness at the policy and legislative levels.
He regularly meets with people, both online and in person to help them with their own mental health struggles. He lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with his partner and two children.