Every day you hear about crazy stories in the news. Something heart breaking about a family losing a loved one in a tragic accident, or a poor family losing everything they had because of warfare. It’s hard to believe the stories I hear sometimes. It almost makes me feel like my problems are insignificant; realizing I haven’t really struggled in comparison to others. It’s definitely true. I was lucky to grow up to a middle class family, two older sisters, parents who have been together for 35 years that never drank, did drugs or threw me out on the street. I had many opportunities most didn’t, like education, chance to travel, meet new people and I was lucky to come out of those opportunities having low debt, successful relationships and career, as well as memories to last a lifetime. On top of that I live in a safe secure country. Therefore, what could I possibly ever complain about?
I always felt guilty for experiencing depression and anxiety because there was really no cause or reason as to why I was feeling that way. It was frustrating to not have any answers as to why. After a while I had to realize that mental illness doesn’t have to have a reason to be present. It will show up unexpectantly and the only thing we can do is accept it and find a solution for ourselves. Everyone has their own problems and is affected by mental illness differently. Therefore we all need treatment plans that fit us individually. We can’t feel guilty for our feelings, we just have to take charge and understand we are all human and that we all will go through ups and downs no matter if you come from poverty or prosperity. What will help us overcome mental health problems is by seizing the day and finding a solution that works for us. It’s important to understand that there are others out there who struggle. Having compassion for others is definitely very important, but we also need to have compassion for ourselves. Feel fortunate for what you have and move forward for a better you and a better life. It’s all about perspective.
As kids we were exposed to many Aesop fables that all had a moral at the end of the story. One that I’m sure most are familiar with is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The two compete in a race and in the end the tortoise wins. The moral of the story was that slow and steady wins the race. This moral has recently grabbed my attention because this is key to anyone who is trying to accomplish their goals.
In my case, I started university in 2008 and ended up taking ten months off due to being ill with mononucleosis. Doing this made me feel frustrated because I wanted to finish my degree the “normal” way (in four years), like my friends were doing. Once I recovered from mono I ended up transferring schools and starting a new program, which basically meant starting from scratch. In addition to starting a new program, I enrolled in the co-operative education program which meant prolonging graduation in order to complete 3 work terms. Then on top of that I decided to study abroad in Sweden for six months.
Yes I took six years instead of four to complete my degree, but in the end I gained so much. Transferring schools and switching programs from History to Human Resources was smart as I wanted to study something that was in demand and that I could get a job upon graduation. Completing three work terms allowed me to gain real life work experience in my field and the professional world, which helped me to obtain the position I currently have. Studying abroad opened my world and gave me a new perspective and allowed me to meet new friends. Taking six years didn’t burden me at all, it did the opposite. I gained so much success by going at my pace and not worrying about what others were doing. Everyone is different and everyone has different circumstances. Doing what is right for you, in your own way is all you need to focus on.
I feel everything happens for a reason, and we need to take what life gives us and learn from it and use it to our advantage. I seized every opportunity that came my way and worked hard to be where I am today. The next time you feel down on yourself because you haven’t accomplished your goal don’t fret. Take the time to make a plan and stick with it. Ignore what others are doing and see the bigger picture. Forward is forward. We all live our own lives, and we should do what is best for us. There should be no normal way. Keep going and eventually you will find success.
photo credit http://speakingautism.ca/slow-and-steady-wins-the-race/