When I was a kid, I heard of the legendary Heber J Grant. He literally became a “jack of all trades” and the best in everything he tried (except carrying a note) — because he kept trying. He carried with him an Emerson quote that said “That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased.”
I promise you that no matter how long you’ve been walking this recovery road and no matter how dark, desperate and burdensome it may feel right now, the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Things will get better. I promise.
After I became acutely symptomatic with what doctors recognized as being “treatment resistant schizoaffective disorder, rapid cycling bipolar,” I tried going to college full-time. Each semester, I’d start with a full load and later have a transcript of withdrawals in every class but one. It took me 5 years going every single term to finish what should have been 3 semesters of classes.
But, I did it.
Then I went to graduate school. I was accepted into one program, got sick before the semester began and moved home. Later, I started my second program, became catatonic partway through the first semester (after the withdrawal deadline) and was saddled with serious student loan debt. It took me years to pay off a one semester loan using a small portion of my disability check.
But I did it.
I was accepted to a third program in 2008, but became too ill to begin coursework. I never began that program. I felt like a failure. Three strikes. I was out.
But, I believed in additional innings.
In 2010, I was accepted into SDSU’s Rehabilitation Counseling program. My parents were panicked. My doctors commanded me to unenroll. Everyone told me I’d stress myself out and become institutionalized, again.
But, I refused. I persisted.
By 2010, 12 years after my initial diagnosis, I knew what my strategies were. I knew my wellness tools and I knew that God had a plan for me and would prepare a way for me to complete my plan.
I finished my master’s degree in 3 years. It was a three year program. To everyone’s surprise (including my own), I graduated with my cohort.
We’ll never know what we’re capable of unless we just keep trying. So, no matter how hard it is to keep trying, and no matter if your efforts at this time are but taking a shower once in a while and working your day 10 minutes at a time, know that I’ve been there, too. Believe me when I quote the ancient prophet Alma when he said “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.”
Sometimes the small thing is to remember to just keep breathing. You got this!
Your efforts will pay off. There’s no deadline on your potential. Be in this for the long game! It will happen. I believe in you.
If you’d like to hear more of my story, and learn how I developed emotional Self-Reliance, check out my podcast here www.psychrecoveryandrehab.com/1-2
Sarah (CSH Founding Member)