REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS

 We all have dreams.  Sometimes our dreams take us on different paths in our lives and sometimes it takes time to reach our dreams. It’s up to us to make our dreams come true. Too often obstacles get in the way of making our dreams come true. Obstacles like mental illness. Mental illness can be debilitating and you lose sight of your dreams. You can feel that your dreams are just a hopeless cause so you give up on them.

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   In high school I strived for high grades. I had to prove I wasn’t stupid because I had a learning disability. I dreamed of going to college and becoming a journalist. When I graduated from school I started at Jamestown Community College. While at college, I fell to the bottom of my dark hole. I couldn’t keep my food down, I couldn’t sleep, I was injuring, and I became suicidal. I tried hard to keep going to classes, but my depression increased. It made it almost impossible to continue going to college. So I took time off and started working at a grocery store.

   I felt like a failure. My mental illness got in the way of my dream. I was too sick to finish college and become a journalist. There was no way I could ever become well enough to go back to college and get my degree. My sadness seemed endless, but I vowed I was only taking a year off from college. So how would I ever get well enough to finish college?

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   It was my determination that drove me towards recovery from my mental illness. I had a dream and I refused to allow my illness to stop me from making it come true. I struggled to fight my illness and in a year I returned to college part time. With my learning disability and illness, I needed a lighter schedule. It took me four years to complete a two year college, but I did it. I received my degree and made my dream come true. I continued to work at the grocery store and write.

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   Since I was little, I lived in my fantasies. I told stories to my younger sister and by high school I started writing my day dreams down. When some teachers told me I was a talented writer, I began to dream of having my own novel published. I had short stories and newspaper stories published, but books are a bigger challenge. I attempted to write novel length manuscripts, but I found myself giving up. I didn’t believe I could do it. I told my family they would have to just accept I could not write anything but short pieces.

   For a time I stopped writing. I lost faith in myself and in my dream. I struggled with my self-esteem. My self-doubt and negativity overrode my dream to publish a book. Instead of fighting for my dream, I gave up on it and on myself. I sank deep into the depth of my hole and found it impossible to see beyond it.

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   I kept making excuses why I couldn’t write a book. I’m learning disabled and I can’t edit very well. I don’t have what it takes to write long pieces. I was meant to write short stories. I can’t come up with enough ideas to fill a novel and I kept making excuses.

   In therapy I started working on my self-esteem. In the process I found a new confidence in my writing. I decided to turn a column I wrote about growing up around the family garage into a memoir. I decided to push past my self-doubt and fight for my dream. Now I am almost done writing the first draft of my manuscript. I’m going to fight to make my dream come true.

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   Don’t let your illness get in the way of your dreams. Find a way to make them come true. Look at your mental illness as an obstacle you have to work around. You and only you can make your dreams come true. Don’t let anything stand in your way.

   Don’t be disappointed if your dream doesn’t happen exactly the way you planned. I didn’t become a journalist, yet I’m still writing. It’s taken me years to write a book, but I’m doing it. I didn’t go to a four year college, yet I have an associate’s degree. My dreams took different paths, but yet I made and am making them come true.

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   I write a blog post weekly and I’m striving to finish my memoir. I’m not going to let anything get in the way of my dreams. There will be no challenge I can’t find a way around. I’m determined to make my dreams come true, no matter what, and this helps me stand in the light.

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