Realistic and Positive: My Recent Life Journey
What if I told you that no matter how bad your mental illness is, you can still be successful?
Would you believe me?
If you believe in something I like to call “realistic positivism,” you can do anything you set your mind to do. First though, you have to be realistic about your definition of success. If you haven’t left your house in 5 years, your goal of getting a six-figure job tomorrow may be a little much. But then again, if you look on success as getting out of bed, showering, brushing your teeth and walking to the mailbox, I have no doubts you will be successful.
But, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself a bit. This time last year I was struggling to survive every day. It took a trip to the bottom to change my belief in what I was capable of.
I’m proud to say that this year my goal is to launch a community to help others who are affected by schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and get 1000 members! What a difference a year makes!
It’s All About Attitude
I have to admit that most of my life, as I was dealing with a severe mental illness, I was very negative and had a bad attitude about everything. I blamed a god, society, my parents; anyone I could that didn’t have anything to do with the real problem. I was under the misplaced idea that everyone and everything else was the cause of my problems.
The truth was and is: I have a brain disorder and probably more than a few issues that need to be worked out in therapy. Blaming others was not solving my problems. I constantly fought myself in a circle. Nothing I did helped my situation in the least. It took something shocking and life-changing to change my mind about my life course and illness.
You Have to Hit Bottom Before You Can Look Up
In May of 2014, I believed my life was over. I had left mental illness go pretty much unchecked through my mind for so many years that much damage had been done. I was going from crisis to crisis, barely making it through one before the next would come along and slap me in the back of the head.
I was extremely unhappy and so was my family. I was psychotic, depressed, paranoid and anxious. I was also very suicidal. I was very familiar with suicidal ideation; it had been a constant companion for as long as I could remember. I had several attempts in my life: nothing serious enough to actually kill me, but I did end up on the wrong side of a mental ward gate a few times.
But 2014 was different. I was 45 years old and I was tired. I was tired of fighting, tired of course after course of medication and tired of this thing I called life. After a final, desperate crisis, I decided it was finally time to end it all. It was time to put an end to my pain. I look three handfuls of pills and awaited my destiny, not knowing that 6 hours later I would be shaken awake and loaded into a waiting ambulance for a trip to the hospital that would save my life.
As I spent the next ten days in treatment, something in me finally started to change. I looked at the other people who were sharing my journey with me at that moment and something adjusted in my mind. You could call it a fundamental shift in perception, or just a simple epiphany, but after a few days of deep thought, I was a changed man. Of course, just a small shift in perception wouldn’t change anything. I had to follow up and learn and grow from this experience. I had to gain the knowledge I needed to put my new plan into action. I couldn’t afford to be complacent like usual; I had to push myself to the correct frame of mind and reference.
It was a battle, and still is. I am still learning every day. But after a few months back then, I started to see a definite improvement. I wasn’t looking at life the same way, and I had started on the path to “realistic positivism”. There was no turning back and I was glad for it.
It Can Happen For You
Now, I am nobody special. I’m not a genius, or one of this worlds great thinkers. Anyone can duplicate the results I have achieved. All it takes is that idea to plant a seed in your mind and get you to thinking. Then one day, it will just click and it will be clear to you. You may not know where to go or what to do to start, but just take a step in a different direction and see where it leads you.
My first steps led me on a quest to be a better father, husband, son and person. It led me to something that has been calling me my whole life: the need to help others. Who knows where it will lead you?
Maybe you will finally be able to go shopping at the mall by yourself? Maybe you will decide to go back to school? Maybe you will decide to volunteer? Who knows what path will come of your change in focus? It may by incredibly scary at first, but don’t let that stop you from following that different path.
It Is Up To You Now
I can tell you my story, and give you some hope, but I’m afraid the next steps and the hard work are up to you. You have to arm yourself with knowledge: from books and the internet, from doctors and therapists. You never know where your positive ideas will come from, so always be on the lookout for opportunities to grow and thrive.
It won’t be easy, but I know you can do it.
I wish you great luck and loads of happiness! Just remember to be realistic and be positive, and nothing can stop you.
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Jason Weiland is a Writer, Mental Health Advocate and Entrepreneur currently working on Our Elegant Minds, a community for people affected by schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and the people who support them.
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