Mental health maintenance

With the busyness and demands of modern life, we sometimes forget about the routine maintenance required to keep us running efficiently. Jim Ferran, a specialist in vulnerability training, explains that it's OK not to be OK.

Recently my wife told me that the tumble drier was not working properly.

“Best investigate before getting a new one,” I thought. Moving it, I noticed a small pool of water on the floor and a damp musty smell from the outlet pipe – a quick check revealed a blocked external vent. A simple fix and its efficiency was returned.

The last 12 months of my life have been hectic. Two friends lost their battles against cancer, a beautiful new grandson arrived, my son got married, my daughter moved to a new house and our  business has grown quickly.

All of these required a lot of my energy and attention. Life marched on. Some apparently less important things got overlooked.

What has this got to do with being vulnerable? Well, everything, as it happens.

Think of yourself as the tumble drier. You work effectively and have a variety of programmes performing different tasks. But sometimes you forget the routine maintenance. You become less efficient. It may be persistent tiredness, being prone to short temper, losing interest in things you once enjoyed or constantly feeling anxious.

It builds slowly so you often miss the signals. Those feelings become the norm and you accept it as part of a busy life.

Others notice, but we sometimes ignore their concerns.

Becoming vulnerable is an inevitable by-product of being human. It’s when our personal characteristics combine with external factors to create a situation where we are less able to manage.

It’s OK not to be OK, what is not OK is to ignore it. Be aware of yourself, take time to talk to others and above all don’t be embarrassed to be human.

“ It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to admit that you don’t know all the answers.”
John Loughbrane

Jim Ferran is the managing director of a JRC Training,  a contemporary training consultancy that specialises in bespoke training design and delivery.


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