Summer time brings with it the excitement of theme park vacations. There are theme parks all over the world as amusement rides transcend cultural bounds. One of the most popular attractions at any good park is the roller coaster. Often they are billed as the biggest, baddest, wildest, most death-defying ride of the park. And, generally speaking, you will have to wait in line for your few minutes of thrills because they attract large crowds of thrill seekers.
Roller coasters come in many types. There are wooden coasters, suspended coasters, accelerator coasters, flying coasters, floorless coasters, and even out and back coasters but they all follow the same premise. They send you hurtling down the track at frightening speeds before shooting you through loops and twists. They take you up a steep incline then drop you over the other side into perceived oblivion until the track once again rises up under your car and you feel yourself touch down on the seat again. By the end of the ride, your emotions are frazzled but you know you have survived. And, just for a minute, you find yourself hoping that the control operator will just shoot you down the track again. Roller coasters are a safe way to add some excitement into your theme park visit. They are safety tested and well maintained and we know that we can trust them to return us, safe and sound, to the depot.
Roller coasters also make an excellent euphemism to mental health. The track, much like life, has many steep climbs and unexpected drops interspersed with sharp turns and corkscrewing twists. The highs and lows of anxiety and depression are well represented and the out and back roller coasters exemplify the effects of bipolar disorder with the inherent sudden emotional shift. And, much like metal and steel roller coasters, mental health is often safe even if slightly disconcerting. Problems occur, however, when general maintenance is not performed. Tracks can become rusty and fittings can become loosened. Without someone maintaining the track, the coaster develops the propensity to leave the tracks or to get stuck in a never-ending loop. While fun, roller coasters were never meant to be ridden continuously without a break.
Therefore, it is important to take care of maintenance. Just like at the theme park, you need to ensure that the track is secure and the safety belts are in working order. You should regularly attend physical checkups and while you are there, mention to your physician any unusually symptoms or disconcerting feelings you are having. Just remember, at a theme park, there are specialized maintenance people to work on the roller coaster just as there are specialized physicians to assist you with mental health issues. If you feel like your life is spiraling out of control, you should contact an expert so that you can be sure that you are safe during the healing process.
Most importantly, though, remember to have fun. Life is supposed to have some unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes, you just have to throw your arms up in the air and trust the track to bring you back to safety. And, don’t forget, at the end of the ride you will have an opportunity to see a snapshot of your ride because, after all, memories of the fun times are always important.
Enjoy the ride!
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