Certainly it is an expression or saying (or rather the more common variation of it) which I remember from my own childhood. Sadly, I don’t really remember who it was who used to say it. But certainly I remember it being said.
Or how about this earlier version (circa 1797) “Large streams from little fountains flow, Tall oaks from little acorns grow.”?
But, no matter what variation we are familiar with, I wonder just how much we have actually taken to heart the truth (and indeed the warning) that it holds? Or how many of us, like me, simply thought, “Yeah, yeah, oak trees grow from acorns. I get it.”
Mental illness and/or poor mental health can throw us some real curve balls in life can’t they? And these curve balls can present themselves in a number of different ways.
For me personally, whilst some things are a constant struggle – even a constant battle – I also experience episodes when everything changes, everything can seemingly crumble. And of course when this happens – when these episodes come – I am faced with having to pick myself up and to repair whatever damage was done in their duration.
But thankfully I am learning. Learning from those ‘little acorns’.
Learning to recognize those things – those bad little acorns – which, if not addressed as and when they come, grow into those mighty oaks which can, if I am not careful, seemingly bury me.
And I am learning from those good little acorns. I have come to realize that if I can do my best to control or keep in good order those things which are important it will not only reduce the chances of those bad little acorns coming, but also limit the potential damage that they can do if, and when, they do come.
And these can be the most simplest – even the most seemingly insignificant – of things…
Having a tidy and organized house not only really helps with my mental health in the good times, but it also allows me to cope much better in the bad times. And it also reduces the amount of damage that can result from the bad times.
Having and keeping good and healthy routines really seems to help me. And I don’t mean keeping a routine to a point where you can’t allow or accommodate spontaneity or accommodate variation. But where you have a good grounding or foundation in order to accommodate and cope with such things.
Keeping a check on and maintaining good order – wherever possible – with my bills and finances.
Eating properly and regularly is another one as it directly effects my physical health as well as my mental health.
Taking my medication properly is another area which I need to keep a very close on eye. As I struggle with memory and focus. So I have had to put systems in place in order to address this.
And whilst I admit that these may seem obvious -even automatic – to some. These are areas where I know that if I can keep an eye on them it really helps my mental (and often my physical) health.
And additionally reduces the potential damage when my mental health plummets.
And these little acorns (or my approach to and management of them) also serve another purpose and provide another benefit.
The way my mental illness(es) seem to work is that my mental health either crashes and plummets instantly or rapidly or it gradually declines over a period of time.
In the first case – crashing and plummeting instantly or rapidly – I and/or everyone else notices pretty much immediately. But in the second case – the gradual decline – it seems to happen in such a way where I just don’t notice until it is too late.
But thankfully, the fact that; my house is becoming less organized or tidy, or that I am seeming to be less organized, or that I am missing meds, or meals, etc. Are all things that others can and often do notice and so they recognized that these are indicators that something is going wrong or that my mental health is slipping.
Over the past month I have completed the 30 Day Mental Illness Awareness Challenge and I have really been challenged by doing so. But I have also noticed how it has gradually become harder and harder – taken me longer and longer – to answer each question or write each post.
Additionally, I have noticed how my sleep pattern has been suffering of late and how despite the best efforts of my Carer my house (and especially my study) is also becoming less organized and less tidy.
I recognize these signs and I know the potential of these little acorns. It is time to put them back in order. And whilst I cannot guarantee that this will stop the gradual decline in my mental health – which usually indicates the onset of some sort of episode, I can hopefully slow it down enough and limit its potential damage 🙂