We are humane creatures in a highly modified environment with all the social, physical, and mental lags in adaptions that precipitate from that. So, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s a rockosophicle metaphor to be the spoonful of sugar taken with this glaring (and, I suspect, fairly stubborn) societal trend.
Let’s assume everyone experiences the full gambit of sentience; physical, social, and mental/emotional Goods & Bads, and those expressions are water in the stream ecosystem of life. The water is designed to flow flexibly, Goods & Bads in balance, adapting to an environmental obstacle course in the stream’s timeless progression. We are beavers to the flow of this stream.
Well, now the environment is different. Stuff that didn’t used to be there is there and the water has a bunch of new stuff in it and around it, pooling too deeply in some places and running totally dry in others. At some point, the Three Ds of Diagnosis poke out of the fray and a mucky pond of mental health imbalance is endangering the flow.
Does this deviate from your healthy norm?
Does this distress your health?
Does this cause unhealthy dysfunction in your life?
Progressively, we build a dam (*D.A.M.) to moderate things.
Diagnosable- What diagnosis is affecting your health? Answers- Where are the answers to address this? Management- How will you manage this into balance?
The dam is not permanent, but like the pacifist beavers of the world, it is crafted with stately purpose to provide food, shelter, and familial care while conditions constantly change with the flow of the stream and beaverly decision making. All the little things that happen to a flow are part of the stream as a complete system. There is never a positive support forgotten or a negative event irreparably marring when the stream is constantly amended, dammed, flooded, and all parts of the ecosystem are moderating themselves as part of it. Sometimes, the deepest part of the pond presents a drowning risk, or a leak might spring an alarming spray of chilling water. Just like everything else in the environment, the flow needs upkeep. A dam can be built up by adding strengthening elements, lovingly insulated, moved and reshaped, or progressively become obsolete by aquatic self-regulation.
They say that, technically, everyone can be diagnosed with some mental health disorder at some point in their life. This means we’ve all built a dam, or at least given one, to someone else in the course of our flow. Some of us are all sawing through trunks and slapping tails on the surface, and some swim below the waterline packing mud into leaks and widening ventilation channels. In a perfect system -which does not exist- each beaver’s stream would be perfectly stable all the time. The Goods & Bads balanced like the seasons and all water levels traversable because beavers are stronger than all the weathering forces of nature and circumstance. But ignoring the Bads does not elevate the Goods, it just ignores the Bads; sometimes to the point of needing to dam the situation. We've never accomplished anything divided, I don’t see why the mental health epoch should be any different. This beaver believes we all reach balance along our own unique and beautiful course, sometimes it just takes a good dam effort.
With love & nothing else,
*This metaphor is not taken from anything or a specific reference, I just made it up. It's not intended to represent everyone's experience, nor the full range of mental health anything. Please, enjoy it as an illustrative tool for the purpose of this awareness article.