Just because we may not struggle with anxiety or depression does not mean we shouldn’t focus on our mental health.
I’m going to be open and admit it’s been a rough couple of days for me. I spoke yesterday about my struggles with Boone and his broken arm. That was a rough experience in and of itself and, thankfully, one I was able to find a good bit of humor in. However, that has not been the only thing I’ve struggled with over the past few days. Our favorite cow is dealing with some sort of gastrointestinal illness. I’ve been spending lots of time tending to her and worrying about what the outcome of this illness will be. I hate to admit that I get emotionally attached to a few of these animals. Cody Creelman, a veternarian, vlogger, and host of the “Palpation Nation” podcast, always says that he cringes when he steps behind any cow that has a name. Well since I’ve been married and had kids, the number of named cows on our place has risen exponentially!! So it’s become more and more difficult to separate emotion from business over the past few years.
This particular cow, Queen Bee, was Levi’s first show heifer. Shes a 5 year old registered Angus cow who is raising her 3rd calf for us. Before this year, she has been an easy keeper, breeding back on time each year to do her job in staying in the herd. However, this year she has had a hard time keeping her body condition up. Over the summer, we have brought her close to the house so we could give her some extra groceries to supplement her and hopefully get her to put on some weight while she is raising a 400 lbs plus calf. She was beginning to put on some weight and beginning to look like the cow she really was until about a week ago I noticed her unusually loose and watery stools. Shortly after, I noticed her hair coat and overall appearance become less than ideal. So Saturday I called the vet out to come take a look at her. Although he could not make a sure diagnosis, he found that she did have a fever and was just a sick cow.
Besides dealing with a sick cow, we had a rough football game last night. I don’t want to post the score (I’m sure you can find it somewhere), but it was just not a great showing for our boys. I honestly don’t care if our boys win, but I do care about them being upset with themselves for their performance. It’s hard to see them struggle with something that they truly enjoy. Keri and I as parents know that these struggles make our kids stronger, but it does not change our empathy for them in the moment.
I tell you all of this to point out that everyone has some sort of struggle with mental health. It’s not only those of us who struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other disorders that need to focus on this. One of my favorite podcasters ( I didn’t say favorite, Clay) Ed Mylett talked about this a little on his podcast this morning. Mental health is on a huge spectrum. There are different levels of the struggles that people have with it. Regardless of how we think we are doing in life, we should be doing all we can to try and improve our mental health.
I believe this is an essential part of breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is for us to realize that each of us deals with mental health on some level. It may be as simple as worrying about how our kids are coping with their teenage struggles… or it may be someone struggling with clinical bipolar disorder. But we all deal with it either temporarily or chronically. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. But that doesn’t mean that the other 81.9 % of the U.S. doesn’t ever feel anxious. We must recognize that, for everyone, improving our mental health is essential to our overall well being.
What have you done lately to try to improve your mental health? Have you tried journaling? Have you tried just talking to someone about your feelings? These are all things that anyone can do to improve their mental well being.
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Until the next time