I once owned a boat. I had this boat for many years. We had a lot of fun on the boat. So many great memories created while being out on the water. I do miss it as I think back on those times. Boats out on the water are awesome. While they are out of the water, well, not as much fun. Nice to look at, but it really just sits there. Sits there and requires a lot of maintenance to keep the fun going. There is an acronym for boat: bail out another thousand. I found this to be extremely accurate. It required constant care. Here in Illinois, the boating season is only a short amount of months. The rest of the time, the boat sits in storage unused. Due to the unuse, things come up that need your attention. If you want enjoy the fun part of the boat, you take care of the never ending stuff that arises. Well, I was very good at maintaining the boat…for a while at least. I did get lazy and neglect some very important steps that need to be taken to keep my boat running. I may have waited to long to winterize it one year…well ended up being the last year. Engines that play in the water do not like water in them they will freeze. The engine will express its displeasure by breaking. And when it breaks, I mean it really breaks. Like it does not run anymore kind of breaks. This was embarrassing to admit. Definitely, not one of my finer moments. The end of an era was here. Now, if I had just done what I knew that I should have done. Perform the proper maintenance, as was needed, I would have been able to enjoy the boat for a long time to come. Due to my lack of maintenance, the boat would not run.
Our minds are very similar to a boat. We need to provide it with constant maintenance or it will break down. This is something that everyone of us needs to do in order to continue functioning as we want to function. This is mental health. We all do something, whether we are consciously aware of it, to keep our minds built up. Every one of us.
Mental health and mental illness walk hand in hand. The idea of mental health does not necessarily mean you are dealing with a mental illness. Some of us have dealt with the nasty blows of mental illness. It happens. It has happened to me. It’s not awesome, but these blows are reversible. Everyone of us does deal with our mental health maintenance. It is a part of life.
You may not realize that you are doing different things to insure strong mental health, but you are doing it. No one is exempt. What is your favorite hobby? Do you like to exercise? Do you try and eat well? Do you enjoy socializing? I enjoy camping! These are just a few examples of things that we do in our every day lives to promote strong mental health. We all are doing something.
Some of the activities promote good physical fitness. Some of our activities promote emotional support. Nothing that we do has to be done under the “strong mental health” mantra, but all of these things support each other. Including mental health.
Whether we know we are performing these tasks for any specific reason or not, as we like to run on autopilot sometimes, we are all doing something. These tasks have to be done to aid in strong mental health. If we do not take care of our mind, it will break down.
I’m not saying that the mind breaking down is going to automatically lead you to a mental health crisis. I’m also not trying to imply that those of us with mental illness are not doing what we can to support our mental health. What I am trying to say is that we need to always practice what we can, what we can control, to promote good mental health. By sitting back on idle, we cannot expect to achieve better mental health. We need to actively do what we can, perform the maintenance, so our break downs are much less.
Those of us that are dealing with some form of mental illness have dealt with some type of breakdown. We may have been doing everything that we could do for ourselves and then…wham!… we find ourselves hitting our rock bottom. There are many aspects of mental illness that we cannot control. Genetics is a huge one for example, but we must do what we can to pull ourselves out of a low and also do what we can to minimize the crashes.
Breakdowns happen. That is the reality of mental health and mental illness. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid these breakdowns. What we can do is practice what we can to minimize the breakdowns. Keep ourselves as strong as we possibly can. The maintenance, is a mandatory requirement for all of us. Every single one of us. Without it, the breakdown, whether it’s big or small, will occur. Not a matter of “if”, but a matter of “when”.
Had I continued to practice proper maintenance on my boat, I probably could have enjoyed many more years on it. My lack of proper maintenance led to the inevitable breakdown. We must continue doing everything that we can to promote strong mental health and prevent, or at least lessen, the breakdowns. So get out there, do what you love to do! It doesn’t matter what it is, but it is essential that you do it. Somedays we don’t feel like it, but we need to push ourselves to prevent the breakdowns. We can do this! You can do this! It is always OK to not be OK…it really is. Bumps in the road happen. It is all part of our journey. Let’s keep walking together!
Have a great day!
Feel free to visit my music page over on Facebook:
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
Instrumental music that I add a positive message to aid in promoting mental health awareness