Quite recently I found myself in a bit of trouble. You see, I was having a horrible day already, and it wasn’t even 8am yet. I had washed my clothes the night before, yet I had failed to put them in the dryer. I got ready to retrieve my clothes and realized that I had forgotten to put them in the dryer. Needless to say, I went to work with some wet clothes on. My car was (and still is) in the shop to be repaired, so I was driving a vehicle that was not mine, that I was not used to. It was my Mom’s vehicle (which brings me a lot of memories but I’ll save that for another post). I looked down and realized that I was going a bit too fast on the road and began to hit the brakes to slow down. When I looked back up, I saw the State Trooper sitting nice and pretty on the side of the road. As I passed him, he entered the roadway, immediately coming up behind me and turning on those blue lights. I thought, what a perfect way to start out a day (sarcastically).
I pulled over on the side of the road as soon as I found a place safe, and rolled down my window, retrieving my identification. He kept it short and sweet, saying, “I pulled you over because you were speeding. [Too fast] in a [normal speed]. Can I see your identification please?” So I gave it to him. At that point, I had a choice. He asked me if I knew I was speeding. I could have told him no, that I had no idea, and made up some excuse about how I could have possibly been speeding. Or, I could have chosen to admit that I was wrong, that I was speeding, and then accept the consequences of my actions, regardless the circumstances of what caused them. Needless to say, I admitted that I was speeding, and I told him the truth, however simple it was. “I am driving a car that I am not used to and mine is in the shop. I realized that I was speeding, then looked up and saw you.” He then walked to his car and proceeded to do what I was on my way to do…his job. After what seemed like a long time, he came back and handed me my citation and gave me a clear explanation of what I was expected to do and had the options to do, and then he handed me my license back. In those words he said, “because you were cooperative…” which took me aback. I can’t imagine how many people might give him a hard time with what he does. So I accepted my citation and told him “thank you” with a smile.
You see, often time we are faced with the consequences of our own choices, our own actions, our own behaviors. Even in our mental health recovery journey. You see, I have the choice to recover. I have the choice to admit when I have made a mistake. To admit when I am wrong. To admit when I need help. I have the choice to choose how I will respond to others, how I will treat them, talk to them, and how I will love them. Too often we are so scared of the bad consequences that we fail to realize that there are good consequences as well. Mental health is hard. Choosing to admit that we need help is hard.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
What different choices are you going to make today?
April Brantley, CR Mental Health Champion