It’s important to have someone in your life who supports you, encourages you, believes in you, and refuses to let you give up no matter what. Sometimes there is more than one person who can do this for you in different forms and ways. When you are working towards recovery from mental illness, you need people or a person who will give you that gentle push to go forward and a person or people who will refuse to allow you to give up when you feel like you can’t fight anymore.
In my life I have had many people encouraging me to follow my dreams, telling me to never give up. People like my parents, grandparents, and some of my high school teachers. My mom always told me there is no such word as “can’t.” She said I could do anything I put my mind to. I believed her; I strived for good grades and I followed my dream to become a writer. My high school English teacher helped me enter contests and submit to magazines. My writing became my passion. I dreamed of publishing my first novel or book.
Then my depression took over. I began to doubt my ability to write and succeed. I started to think I was a failure as a person and writer. I tried many times to write book length manuscripts, but I couldn’t complete them. So I gave up. I told my family and my husband, Lou, all I could do was write short stories. Lou refused to believe me.
I thought my illness ruined my life, my dreams, and my ability to push forward. I thought I couldn’t do anything, but sit at the bottom of my hole. Lou encouraged me to strive for recovery. While I worked towards recovery, I still doubted my abilities to do more than a short piece of writing, but my husband was determined I was going to make my dream to write a book come true.
I toyed with the idea to turn a column I wrote for a local newspaper into a book, but I feared I couldn’t do it.
Lou looked into my eyes. “You can do it and I will not let you give up.”
So I started writing it. Each time I’ve become discouraged and told him I’m going to quit, he made me promise I would not quit. Each night he would ask me if I was going to write. When I’d said no, he would bug me until I agreed. He works in the mornings and goes to bed early. So when I came to bed, he’d wake up and ask me how many pages I wrote. With his encouragement I finished the first draft of my memoir.
He has done more than just encourage and support my writing. He has been my rock. When I want to give up my fight against my mental illness, he reminds me how strong I am and how far I have come. When I get depressed, he picks me up. He’s always there for me no matter what. He is my strength when I feel like I have none, he is my biggest fan, he is the voice whispering you can do it when I stop believing, and he’s much more. Without him I wouldn’t still be in recovery, and without him I wouldn’t have finished the first draft of my memoir.
We all need someone to stand behind us no matter what, and it doesn’t just have to be one person. Sometimes others can see something in us we can’t. Our illness can be blinding and we lose touch with our abilities and strengths. We need other people to see what we can’t and to push us to reach for recovery, for our dreams, and for much more. When that person comes into your life, cherish him or her. If you can’t find just one person, turn to a support group, friends, or family.
Set yourself goals and share them with others and have them help you reach those goals. Don’t let your illness stand in the way of your dreams and your road to recovery. There is always a way around the obstacles that stand before us. It’s up to you to find a way around them. It helps to have supporters who will help you, encourage you, support you, and give you a boost.
I worked around my learning disability and mental illness to graduate high school with scholarships, to get my associates degree, to work my job for 22 years, and now finish the first draft of my memoir. My family encouraged me when I was younger and now I have my husband and friends.
I thank God for Lou. He keeps me going no matter what. With his help I can get my memoir published, and I can continue to stand in the light of recovery.