This article is a part of Families for Depression Awareness’ Hope and Discovery campaign. As you read Kurt’s story, consider what activities give your family hope. Has goal setting been successful for you and your loved one’s wellness? Do you celebrate successes, even if they may seem small? The path from diagnosis to wellness looks different for every family, take some time to reflect on your path.
By Kurt Morris, September 20, 2017
My life has long subsisted on short-term goals. Often, they were as simple as getting through a school semester or even a work day. In high school, I couldn’t imagine life after those four years. I was doing my best to keep my head above water with my depression and anxiety. I had no interest in going to college—I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like. However, I grew up in a family where a college degree was expected. I attended the same school as my sister and graduated, but college was never so much a goal as another step in my path. Throughout my twenties, I tried graduate school, a job I didn’t like, and living with my parents, all while struggling with my mental health.
My mental health situation finally started improving in 2011. I couldn’t rely on my family for support, so I came to rely on friends. As I worked towards maintaining wellness, an acquaintance mentioned how much the book The Four-Hour Work Week had changed his life. I had read it before, but hadn’t found its lessons applicable at the time. Upon re-reading it, I found new significance in the section on goal setting. I completed worksheets in the book and identified dreams I had. No matter what they were, I included them. Then I started breaking down the steps I would need to complete each one.
Seeing them in list form encouraged me. I knew if I took them one bit at a time and only focused on that step, they were manageable. I set reasonable time limits for myself with each goal and wasn’t afraid to move the deadline if it wasn’t possible to complete it in the allotted time.
I’ve already seen some success in the past few months since starting this process. I was able to get a part-time job leading historical tours, which I am really enjoying. I’m also interested in writing more about my mental health and speaking in public settings about it. I’ve made small steps toward accomplishing those goals. These include writing blog posts for Families for Depression Awareness.
I received a boost of optimism through these achievements. These successes cause me to want to work even more toward my other goals.
In the past, it would’ve been all too common to spend a great amount of time beating myself up for my failures and not acknowledging my successes. Now, when I achieve a goal, I allow myself to appreciate the feeling of pride. Through this process, I have found hope that life can get better.
Kurt Morris is a volunteer with Families for Depression Awareness. To learn about Kurt and read more of his offerings, check out his website http://www.kurtmorris.net/.