Balancing Stability and Ambition

For years I’ve been balancing on a tightrope, swaying this way and that while I reach for bigger and better things on the one side, but am knocked down by increasing symptomatic concerns on the other.

That’s the way it is when you have a mental illness.

On the one hand you want to achieve, you want desperately to earn more money so you can get off government assistance, so you can move out of your section 8 apartment and so you can see a private psychiatrist but your illness doesn’t allow it.

For every step toward financial stability you make, you take one step into behavioral and emotional instability.

You want independence, but that independence comes at the price of forfeiting your mental stability.

This has been the one overarching struggle for me in my efforts to get better.

I do more things to secure more opportunities but then I have to put the brakes on because I start to struggle with delusions and paranoia and depression.

The problem is that my ambition, my desire to get to where I want to be is much much more demanding than I would like.

Countless times I’ve had to sit myself down and ask why I’m working so hard to get to a place that essentially, won’t be that much different from where I already am?

The truth is I’m comfortable, I don’t need much else but the things I want outweigh my gratitude and my ability to be mindful of the blessings I already have.

This fire in my gut is unrelenting and I wish I could figure out a way to put it out.

It comes from comparison though, seeing my friends build families and buy homes while I’m still stuck in limbo.

There are slow ways around it though, there are ways to slowly build a life for yourself and that’s what I and people in my same boat have to remember, to take it slow.

Slowly pushing your boundaries, slowly building opportunities and getting steadily and steadily better year after year is something I’ve done a lot since I broke.

It was ten years this month since I was last in the hospital and I’m doing what I can to build a life that works for me.

I think the thing we all have to remember, myself included, is that there is plenty of time and we don’t need to have the things we desire right now, that speaks to something malicious and I don’t know if it’s the instant validation of the internet that has made us all so impatient but I know that there’s still plenty of time to get what we want out of life.

Really, none of us are going anywhere for a long long time.

This is a hard fought lesson that can get the best of you in the worst ways and we need to remember that whatever it is we’re looking to get out of life, things take time, they always have and they always will, whether you like it or not.

For now practice gratitude, mindfulness and patience and if it helps, get off the damn internet.

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