Strive For Success

Life is hard. It’s one of those clichés which happens to be true. Despite this, it’s always better to strive for success than to accept defeat. I know this because I have lived it.

Growing up, I’d always been an exemplary student. I was on track to being able to graduate high school early, despite my lifelong struggle with ADHD. That changed at age 17, when my bipolar disorder symptoms fully manifested themselves. Suddenly, by the end of my senior year, I found myself two classes short of being able to graduate and had to get them through special education.

This struggle continued into college. Due to my psychiatric difficulties, I chose to take only two classes, to see if I could get my feet back under me and get on with my life. Instead, besieged by my difficulties, I continued to struggle with completing assignments and passing tests, things which previously had not been an issue for me. By the middle of the semester, I was in danger of flunking both of the two classes. My social worker told me that my only chance of salvaging this mess was to sacrifice one of the classes in order to focus solely on the other.

Needless to say, I was distraught, discouraged, dismayed. I thought I could get things going again, but instead here I was being told to give up. I knew in my heart that, if I did that, I’d likely never be able to recover from the psychological blow of the failure. How could I possibly pursue my dreams if I didn’t even have the strength to pass two measly college classes? At the same time, from the position I was in, I’d basically have to have a perfect second semester to get good grades out of both of those classes, a very stringent task.

My choice was clear: give up and accept a mediocre life, or fight for the chance to succeed.

I chose to fight.

From that point on, I redoubled my scholastic efforts. I went back to my textbooks and forced myself to read each and every page, no matter how mundane. I poured myself into my projects, determined to overkill with quality. I made sure to be well-prepared for finals. It was a long, difficult struggle.

That struggle was rewarded; when the dust settled and the semester was over, I had passed both classes. One was a B, the other an A. This, when I was flunking both of these classes mid-semester. The biggest success, however, was mental: I had proven that I am still capable of pursuing my dreams. The struggle didn’t end there, of course, but I consider that point in time to be the moment where I reversed the decline my mental health had imposed on my life.

Since then, I continued for awhile in college. Ultimately, I decided to drop out and focus on learning how to work. From there, I taught myself how to code, and now I am blessed with a job which is able to support myself, my wife, and my child. None of this would have happened had I chose to give up and accept mediocrity.

If you’re struggling with the difficulties of life, especially if you’re dealing with mental disabilities, don’t give up. Keep fighting!

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