It’s Family Day Monday, and the sun is out and the sky is blue. I love this time of year. The days are getting longer, and spring is approaching. I am looking forward to car show season, even though mine is not much to look at. I just love being around others that have the same passion.
I have a 2005 Ford Mustang, with the factory V-6 in it. The car is in beautiful shape, even if it is completely factory, and is a blast to drive. I bought the car in 2015 after my old car died, and it has turned into a hobby. I participated in several car shows last year, and have several more I am looking forward to this year, as well as helping set one up in my local community in August.
The car can be seen as an analogy for my mental health. Some people see an older car, whereas I see potential. The same goes for my mental health issues. Many people see mental health issues as a significant challenge. I have started seeing my mental health issues as expanding potential.
No-one sees the world through my eyes. It is an impossibility. My thoughts, my perceptions, my emotions are all my own, and no-one can with 100% accuracy claim to see them. I am one of a kind. Just like my car. Every knick, scratch, and ding make the car 100%unique. Just like my mind, just like me.
I cannot change the past. I cannot change how I perceive the world around me. I cannot change the core “me”, because if I change the “me” I am, I stop being me. What I can change is how I react to my perceptions. A couple weeks ago, because of my perceptions, I was struggling to get reassurance from my wife that we were good. She was feeling ill, and tired, and ignoring the phone. I texted her about a hundred times because I couldn’t turn my brain off. I was convinced that she was pissed off at me. I turned it in to a self fulfilling prophecy, by pushing the issue. At the time my brain perceived a problem, then caused one. We got things figured out, after a bit of time and space.
Events like those described above happen for more infrequently than they used to, because I am learning to calm my mind. I am learning to accept that the emotion behind the perception is real, even if the perception itself isn’t. Through mindfulness, through meditation, and through prayer, I am able to challenge my perceptions, and in challenging them, I am better able to cope with the accompanying emotion.
I still regularly face suicidal thoughts. I regularly have to challenge my perceptions. I regularly have to check my anger. Bad days do happen, far more often than I would care to consider. However dealing with them in a healthy, constructive manner allows me to grow as a person, and expand my potential.
Prior to my starting this blog back in September, I hadn’t written more than a paragraph since I was in high school. Writing is allowing me to expand my potential. I know I’m not the most polished writer out there, but I can speak from heart, from experience, and with empathy. I never once thought I would be in a position where I would enjoy writing as much as I do. By exploring my options, I am allowing myself to expand my potential. With some work, who knows how far I can carry myself. And that power is in all of us.
Just like my car, we are all unique. We have unlimited potential. We just need to do the work and develop the fortitude to persevere. The work is hard, I can guarantee you that. But oh so worth it.