The journey of recovery from a mental illness is not usually quick and neither is it easy either. It can feel as though you are never going to get better because it is such a slow healing process, when will things be ‘normal’ again a common question you ask yourself.
I have referred to this experience of recovering from a mental health problem like that of mining and here is the short story, I hope you enjoy.
When I was doing my degree in teaching, before the time I had my breakdown I was advised by an elder friend that a good book to read is ‘Think and grow rich’ by Napolean Hill.
In this book there is a story about a rich gold mine owner. In this story he had bought a mine thinking it had gold inside but as his workmen mined no gold appeared. Days…weeks…months passed but still no gold! The owner began to sweat and decided there was no gold in the mine so put it up for sale.
To his surprise someone bought it from him, the owner feeling as though he had completed the sale of the century but the new owner knew otherwise. He continued to mine and only a few metres further into the walls of the cave he had struck gold, if only the previous owner had kept trying, he was now a very wealthy man!
The gold mine of recovery
I refer to this story in Think and Grow Rich because like mining, recovering from mental health problems is a dark place, hard work and can feel like you will never strike gold.
You are the miner with your pickaxe in hand , hard hat on and black dust covering your entire face and clothes, you are on a tough journey, the cave is your destination and resembles the mental barrier of ill health that you have to slowly but surely chipaway at.
As you chip away at this rock of bad mental health you feel that you are putting lots of effort in but seeing little progress, nothing is changing, you are just getting deeper…and deeper into the recesses of the dark cave.
You keep trying, you keep putting all your power into the mining but can’t see what is behind the rock you are hitting. It is hard work and you never know when you’ll find the gold, will you even see find it??!?
At times, you become so despondent, you look toward the light shining down the passage way you have came and you feel like just getting out and giving up…
Keep chipping away
As your arms begin to hurt and sweat is dripping down your brow you again, look back towards the entrance of the mine but this time you see a man with a cowboy hat on, his hands on his hips and his legs standing apart like that of a superhero but he ain’t no hero!
It is your arch enemy, he has heard you have gone down the mine in search of gold and he had to see it for himself, he wants and loves nothing more than to watch you fail.
He stands there with a big grin on his face, just his pearly white teeth in view and his dark shadow stretching down into the recesses of the cave towards you, belittling you, saying you’ll never do it, trying to make you give up.
Your head goes down, a tear enters your eye and your heart sinks and hurts like its been stabbed by a million daggers. You think to yourself, maybe he was right, maybe there is no gold. Do you give up?
No! You keep going.
You keep chipping away at the rock even harder.
Dink! Dink! Dink!! Dink!
Hours pass…then days…then weeks…then months…you are so far into the mine now yet you haven’t given up! You chip away again and …..
YYYYYYIIIPPPPEEEEEE!!! You’ve struck gold!!!
After months and months of hard work you finally see the fruits of your hard work, you’ve reached the gold and your enemies can’t beleive it! Now life finally begins to become a lot lot richer.
Why the mine of mental health?
Why did I chose to share the metaphor of the mine?
Firstly a mine shares the same word as ‘mine’, as in yours, a mental health recovery IS down to you, it is your (mine) very personal journey that only you can recover from. You can be guided to where the gold is but you need to take action and pick away at your problem.
Secondly, a mine is dark and dirty, when suffering a mental health problem it is probably one of the darkest times of your life and just how a mine shares the same word it also shares the same kind of feelings of being in a cold and dark place.
Lastly a mine contains riches and it is for you to discover them but the only way to discover them is for you to choose to use all your strength (picking away at the rocks) and take action to get back to full fitness.
The treasure inside your mine is not material wealth, it is your mental health!
There is no greater wealth than your health!
I hope you enjoyed this short metaphorical story about your mine of mental health, please feel free to comment below.