Happiness is helped by discipline, and taking the gamble to believe in yourself.
Throughout my mental health journey, there have often been battles with the desire to ‘give up’ or ‘give in’ – this being to accept the idea that I’ve lost and return to despair, and when you’re feeling down, you unfortunately trick yourself into seeing this as the comfortable option; that to stop fighting will make things easier. But as anyone who has managed to come out the other side of low points will tell you, this is when you need to push for the change you want most.
In ‘Meditations’, Marcus Aurelius is quoted, “Your mind will take on the character of its most frequent thoughts. So dye your own with a succession of thoughts like these. For example: where life can be lived, so can a good life.”
It’s never easy to ignore the weight life can leave on your shoulders, but you can - often with the help of friends, family and role models - discover strength you never before realised you had. With this strength, you will start to find things just that little bit easier, just a little bit more manageable, the future a little bit more hopeful. One day, you will find you’ve come out of it a little bit stronger. This strength won’t make the difficulties of life go away, but you will start to be able to look back at the things you’ve overcome before and hopefully think, “I’ve gotten this far, I can get through this.” This will be the dye in which you can paint those thoughts brighter colours, and start to wash away some of the doubts, slowly replacing the dark picture in your mind with a rainbow of possibilities.
Another writer (thanks for the inspo, Clare) recently talked about how they were described as confident and how this was a trait they never imagined having themselves, let alone being noticeable to others. I think this is a wonderful example of how much growth and strength you will be able to attain despite - or IN spite of - mental health struggles. I’ve certainly had the same experience of surprise as a friend said I appeared ‘so sure of what I wanted to do’ when I felt like I had been missing a purpose most of my life.
My own experiences, the stories I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from others and the constant echo of Jazz Thornton’s ‘Stop Surviving, Start Fighting’ leaves me always wishing to spread the message that you can do this, not as a figure of speech or as good wishes, but YOU can do this. It IS possible to get better, it IS possible to get stronger, you will discover a capacity for the strength you never once thought possible.
And things will start to get easier. You’ll even end up finding things you never thought you’d enjoy.
Believe in yourself, you got this.
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