Play to your strength

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After a couple of weeks of going full bore, I find myself with a fairly quiet weekend before me. I for one am not going to complain about this fact.

I can’t complain about the busy-ness life has had of late. It’s been feeling good that I have a drive again. Between covering events around town for the paper, doing poster drop off runs for a friend, and my usual Edmonton trips, life has been full.

Emotionally I have been feeling more confident, and even the soul-sucking fatigue that I usually have when I get overly busy has not been as bad as usual. I’ve been tired, but it’s been the type of tired that backing off the gas for a couple of days and relaxing should help.

Easing off for a couple of days is not a failure. It’s a fact of life especially for those of us who deal with mental health issues. I have come to terms that my mind is wired a little differently than the normal one, and as capable as I am at many things my endurance is such that I need to slow down a little more often to recollect myself, recharge, and move on.

To that end I have learned something else about myself. I AM CAPABLE. I am not my illness. Yes, it kicks my ass every so often, sometimes requiring hospitalization for severe suicidal ideation and self harm. But it does not define who I am.

I have been dealing with these issues since my late teens, and even still I managed to have a somewhat successful career in EMS, until PTSD took it’s toll on me. I have worked, albeit briefly, a couple times in the last 5 years, and it was never a good fit. I don’t know that with my issues I will ever be able to work a traditional nine-to-five type of job. That’s okay, because that’s not where my strengths are.

A piece of advice that was given to our local school’s graduating class last night at the prom ceremony was right on point. “Play to your strengths.” Use your abilities to your advantage.

In recent months, I have been learning that, and believing it. This blog opened my mind to the world of writing, and that is something that I forgot about as soon as I left high school. Since rediscovering it, my world has grown immensely. I help organize a local area writer’s group once a month. I work on this blog. I am a regular freelance contributor to my local paper. I am living the advice “play to your strengths.”

The journey through mental health recovery can be long and arduous. It can ebb and flow like the tides. It can be tamed, and dealt with in a way where the negative effects are minimized, and the positive multiplied. Do the work. Fight like hell for a life worth living. And if you take nothing else away from this, “Play to your strengths.”

Kevin

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