A friend of mine once told me that the difference between successful people and those who are not is that the former “keeps on going”, no matter how difficult everything is. My first reaction was not a good one; I sneered at her, thinking what about me, a person with a mental illness? I have a disability and it feels like you’re erasing it by saying it doesn’t matter, and that you just need to work hard to succeed.
It took me a while to realize that this response was not only rude but reflective of my views in life. I am a defeatist. When the going gets tough, I flake or reject. My psychiatrist, when I told her this, chimed in and told me that I have a very negative perspective on life. I don’t know when I started being this negative. I can remember certain people during my childhood reflecting this negative behavior, and I suppose I got it from them, but it just doesn’t make sense that I would still have it now, when I’m 26 and am considered an adult.
And I ask myself, what is the difference between me and the people who have mental illnesses who have jobs, a family? Do they have a better support system? Are they stronger, more resilient? Are they “better”? And I realized that there is almost no difference except from that fact that I’m not fighting. I don’t keep going. I cower and run away from things that scare me. And maybe that’s fine for a while, but I can’t keep running away. I have to face my fear and move forward, no matter how difficult it takes.
So here’s to a new resolution for this year (even if it’s already March): to be stronger and to keep going. I’ll have a job this year, I’ll be traveling overseas, I’ll be traveling locally, and I’ll keep going, no matter how tough things become.