This Mental Health Matters was written by Kim Pirnat, Director of Billing at Ravenwood Health 

2020 has been a crazy time in all our lives. Coronavirus has changed our worlds drastically and has increased stress, anxiety, and worry. Over the course of the last six months I’ve spent a lot of time walking the beaches of Lake Erie. We are lucky to live so near such a beautiful place and I find peace listening to the waves crashing, feeling the sand under my feet, and searching for beach treasures.  Being outdoors and at the beach clears my mind. As I reflect it made me think of the life of the beautiful blue sea glass I had just found…   

I was created as a beautiful glass jar—sitting on the shelf for all to enjoy. Until one day the kids were playing, I was knocked to the ground shattered and broken. Someone swept the pieces up, threw me in the garbage because I was no longer beautiful to look at it. I traveled in a truck, was swept away by the creek, and made my way to the lake. I bounced around through the waves -softening my jagged edges and weathering my bright colors. Until one day I washed up on the beach and a young woman picked me up delighted to have found me—a beautiful piece of sea glass washed up and ready to become a beautiful necklace.   

Our lives are much like that of a glass jar as we travel through the journey of life things happen to us and we experience sadness, heartbreak, loss, and other tragedies along the way. There may be times when like the broken jar we don’t feel valued or loved and we feel broken. However, those feelings are temporary, and the journey isn’t over.     

Just like that glass jar that tumbles through the waves we make our way through the journey of life.   With persistence, time, experiences we are molded into something new. Although many times we don’t have control over the circumstances around us, we do have control over our reaction to them and how we approach things.   

It starts with our attitude and outlook. Having a positive outlook isn’t always easy and doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulties along the way—it just means that we have a plan to overcome those hard times. Start with being kind—it is easy to respond to change in a negative manner—it is human nature and takes work to not have that be our first response. However, think about a time when someone reached out, asked how you were, left you a hand-written note…just something little, but it probably made your day and helped to shape your path. Aim to every day do something nice for someone—it will change your day and theirs for the better. 

Be Thankful. Express your gratitude. Start a journal and write down one good thing every day.    It will make a difference in your life, your outlook, and how you feel. It doesn’t have to be something big—it could be as little as the warmth from the sunshine after a rainy day. Find something good every day and reflect upon it.      

Be Mindful. Some people feel their best walking in the woods, some like to walk the beach, some just need to sit in a quiet place. Some people have an activity that brings them calm—painting, coloring, drawing, writing…Find something that allows you to clear your mind and make time for that place or activity. Learn breathing exercises that help to build a sense of calm, learn simple techniques that will help you to find your inner peace.  

Build Positive Relationships. That piece of glass tumbling in the waves isn’t alone—there are pieces of sand, rocks, shells, and other items surrounding it and helping to mold it into something beautiful.  Surround yourself with people that will support you and be there for you. Remove the negative people from your life and enjoy the journey.    

Just like a broken piece of glass the journey isn’t over because something has hurt us. There are ways to continue to fight, grow, and become better. October is Suicide Awareness Month. Life can be stressful, difficult, and can make us feel broken. If you are feeling lost, overwhelmed, or need someone to listen please find a friend or reach out. The COPELINE is available 24/7 by calling 888-285-5665.  Please know that you are never alone. If you know someone who is struggling be there to support them.    

This world needs more kindness and love. These are the things that will bring positive change.   I leave you with this poem from an unknown source. Remember—just like a broken piece of glass even when things are at their worst there is still an opportunity to come out more beautiful on the other side.  

I want to age like sea glass. 

Smoothed by the tides 

But not broken. 

I want my hard edges to soften.  

I want to ride the waves 

and go with the flow. 

I want to catch a wave 

and let it carry me 

to where I belong. 

I want to be picked up 

and held gently by  

those who delight in my 

well-earned patina and  

appreciate the changes I went  

through to achieve that beauty. 

I want to enjoy the journey 

and always remember that if 

you give the ocean something 

breakable it will turn into 

something beautiful. 

–Author Unknown 

Kim is currently reading The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. 

A fascinating read if you have a love for nature. You’ll think about communication and the world around us.