From a young age I have always had a dark place in my head and have never understood why. Over the years it has fluctuated up and down like most peoples. I’m not sure why but there is a huge stigma attached to men and their mental health maybe it’s seen as a sign of weakness, however I see it differently. At first, I kept it a secret, but when I started to be more open about it a lot of people said they felt the same way.
Personally, I do not think there is a cure for it. It is just something that you need to monitor and be aware of, knowing what actions to take on a negative day. For some people this maybe being creative, exercising or meditation, but for me it is driving on a cruise or country blast. I can’t think of a better anti-depressant than listening to an engine at high RPM, hammering through the gears with the roof down in the sun or my other hobby of car detailing.
Through school I always found it difficult to remove these negative thoughts from my head; pressure from GCSE’s and A-levels would not go away, so I used to zone out playing PlayStation. This all changed when my Dad bought me my first car, I had never been this happy. I booked my driving lessons straight away as I wanted to get one step closer to freedom, not to have to rely on lifts from people anymore and could drive around being in a private place to think.
The day I passed my test I felt free and I could not wait to start driving around. This opened so many positive opportunities for me; a place of privacy, the ability to go to car meets/social events, get a job away from home and to meet friends. The most important one for me was that now I had somewhere to be private and reflect on the thoughts going through my head. Another positive of this was that I could go to car shows cruises and become a member of numerous car owners’ groups. Through many social gatherings I have picked up many great friends along the idea who all share the same passion.
Being part of this community gave me something to focus on and enjoy with my friends. Instead of letting my mind wander into darkness, I could focus it on something new which I enjoyed. From researching all things car related I found car detailing was right up my street. I have spent hundreds of pounds on products and hours upon hours into research.
I love detailing cars, it is a form of meditation for me and it helps me step back and look at things in a new light. When detailing the pain, confusion, stress, and anxiety of life fades away which helps clear my head and refocus on the objectives of life. I used to spend maybe 5 to 7 hours on a Saturday cleaning the car inside and out people used to think I was crazy, in my own head at the time I was, ha-ha.
The same feelings applied when going for a drive, especially in the driver’s seat of the S2000, also partly due to the fact you know it’s not going to blow up randomly. I feel at peace with the world, nothing else to focus on apart from stamping on a few peddles and changing gear. Bring up google maps, pick a few of Suffolk’s country B roads and go for a tear.
In my late twenties I met Simon the Founder of Vint-Tro through a mutual friend at my last place of work. We got talking and he invited me to a local car meet in Bury where we spent all day on the Vint-Tro stand. After leaving the event I received a phone call from him asking me if I fancied joining the brand and I jumped at the chance. I can’t wait to see where this opportunity takes me as my dream job has always been to always work with cars. Being involved in Vint-Tro has brought such a positive to my life as we aspire to be the number one brand for all things car related.
In summary, to regulate my mental health I have channelled my passion for cars to keep me sane and focused on what I do in my life. I believe more people should be open about their mental health and find a way to remove their stress or negativity not necessarily cars but exercise or being creative. To be honest I have never been this open before, so I hope you enjoyed the read.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” — Dan Millman
Peace and Love Alex