There’s a popular opinion out there that children are often told by their parents, their teachers, and even their idols, that they can do anything that they set their mind to. I’m not sure how common this practice is anymore, but those who struggle with mental illness know just how difficult that concept can be to grasp. After all, we need to fight against our mind in order to get most things done, to be successful, sometimes even just to get out of the bed in the morning.
When I worked at a store in Niagara Falls, there was this poster that was always hanging in the office; it showed two men sitting on a bus. The man on the right is smiling and enjoying the picturesque view outside his window of grassy fields and blooming trees. The man on the left is frowning, looking down, avoiding the view of the dark, haunting forest that is visible from his side of the bus. Above that image, the poster reads, “Every single day you make a choice.”
I absolutely hated that damn poster, although I kept this opinion to myself while I worked at that location. Whoever designed that thing clearly didn’t struggle with summoning enough motivation to simply leave their home. Because, Mr. Poster Designer Man, we don’t always have a choice. We can be determined to have a great day, to seize every opportunity, but all it takes is one small thing to trigger your anxiety or to cause you to have a panic attack or to send our thoughts into a tailspin, and the hope you felt when you woke up vanishes in the blink of an eye.
Despite my absolute disagreement with the moral captured in that blasted poster, I still like to think that there are still an unlimited amount of possibilities open to us. At times we may feel limited because we think that our minds are “broken” because they don’t work the same way as other minds do, but things are far from helpless. I try to stay optimistic as often as I can, and while I feel that it is not always my choice to feel positive or negative on any particular day, I’d like to think that I have the ability to improve my circumstances if I put in enough effort. Even though it can be extremely hard at times, I try to always believe that most things in life have a way of working themselves out.