It seems like just yesterday I was fighting my parents over going to school. My attendance during high school was far less than satisfactory. Everyday became a war. A war to get out of bed, to function, and to participate in life. I felt like throwing in the towel more than once. Not only did I want to quit school, I wanted to quit life. Adolescence was supposed to be about having fun, experimenting, and goofing around with friends. Mine, unfortunately, was nothing like that. It was nothing like I thought it would be. Instead, I was the teen who stayed home on the weekends. The teen who had trouble fitting in, and the teen who felt lost. I honestly felt I had been cheated out on experiencing a “normal” adolescence due to bipolar disorder. Every night I took about a dozen pills to help me function, to help me feel well, and to keep me alive. I have never experienced such turbulence in my entire life. All the errors, the side effects, and the emotions. Those pills were a constant reminder that I was unwell and “flawed.”
As a high school student, I was extremely depressed and my grades definitely reflected that. I actually almost didn’t even graduate on time due to all the school I had missed. I thankfully did end up graduating, but at the bottom of my class..
After high school in 2006, I attempted to take some classes at a local community college that very fall, but I ended up dropping most of my classes and only completed about two during a two-year period. I was still emotionally unstable and therefore, I decided to take a break. During that break, I fell into some extremely unhealthy relationships with people who were anything but supportive. They were actually rather cruel and brought down my self-esteem a great deal which worsened my condition and behavior. In 2010, I attempted college once again at a university in Chicago. I was registered for three classes there, but once again, I ended up dropping those classes as well due to my condition and a terribly toxic relationship. A few months later, my toxic relationship had come to an end. I then took some time to recuperate and tried to find my footing again. In late 2010, I met someone. A very good someone. A year and a half later or so, in 2012, I decided to try to go back to school again. I felt motivated and determined. My head was in a better place, I was in a great relationship, and my mental health was relatively stable. More stable than it had been in a long while. To my amazement, I ended up succeeding semester after semester. I was actually accomplishing what I thought I could not handle previously. I was even able to work and maintain a full-time class schedule. I admit, it is and has been quite difficult especially when living with a condition that requires constant care and moderation. There were many times I had to call into work and miss class due to the stress and depression, but I feel myself getting stronger. I find that I am able to cope better the more I work at it.
I spent many years waiting for the storm to pass and then I did it! I ended up graduating with a college degree this time around… and with honors! Just when I had thought all had been lost and was hopeless, I surprised myself. All the hard work and stress had finally paid off. I am now one step closer to my goal.
In time, I believe and have learned that we can accomplish and overcome obstacles that once seemed impossible. Sometimes, time is all you need. Never, ever give up! Keep going because you may surprise yourself too.