This past weekend I had to take my car to the shop. It had suddenly started making a funny noise, and so I took it in to have it looked at, and to just get it tuned up and make sure everything was working properly. The noise turned out to be some loose metal in the exhaust system, nothing major, nor expensive, and everything seems to be running pretty well aside from that.
The experience did, however, remind me that it’s important to have things checked out occasionally, just to make sure there aren’t any small problems, waiting to become big problems. Typically we hear that about ourselves in connection with getting a physical, or having some routine tests done to check for problems in our bodies, but we should also take time to do some self-checks of our mental state as well.
For me, that usually involves finding some quiet time, and reflecting. Not just on how I feel about life in general, but since I am known to have the ability to dissociate at the drop of a hat, to reflect on how I’m acting toward other people, and how they are responding to me.
Unfortunately, while being able to dissociate is a great way to focus exclusively on a specific task until it is done (ask my wife about how zoned in I can become trying to fix a technical problem..), it is a horrible way to go about keeping a check on your own emotional well-being. That’s why it’s important for me to have that time to stop, focus on just myself, my actions, and my emotions, and check up on how things are running. Sometimes a small problem, like noticing that my interactions with others are becoming a little more strained than normal, can be the thing that points me in the direction of a deeper emotional issue that I may not even be aware of yet before it becomes a big problem.
That being said, it’s high time for me to have some of that down time, and I intend to. After work on Friday, and before I get into what will be a very busy, but fun, Saturday, I’ll take advantage of being home alone for the night, and spend some time reflecting on the last few weeks and looking forward to the next few weeks, just as a way to check up on myself.