Feel the Fear

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Each and every time I post within this blog I realise that I’ve broken my promise.

My promise to myself was to write more frequently, not only about my progress from depression but my continuing recovery.

I’ve failed or have I?

In all honesty yes and no.

It might be a good reason or explanation on why I’ve not sat down and penned a more detailed assessment of my life through depression in a book format.

Because at times mental health, it’s just so difficult to write about.

Writing for me has been a growing passion, and in equal amounts of loving it, I equally fear it too.

Writing, once written, provides me with a sense of relief and achievement all at the same time.

Before it, frustration, self-doubt and anxiety.

Today’s article has been waiting patiently to be written, but when and only I was ready.

The problem being I was scared to write it, scared to express my emotions down on a page, despite doing it time and time before it.

Sometimes you just have to remember why you started things in the first place.

Writing has helped me just as much as the doctors and counsellors did.

That ability to open up and leave everything out on the page.

Write for yourself and no one else, it’s a personal journey, one that I needed to voice, and it maybe written in a format for the world to see, but it’s not written for the world to judge. 

Black behind my eyes is exactly how I felt in those dark moments of depression, others relate it to a black dog and each to their own on how we all describe it.

All I know is it’s one of the worst illnesses I’ve ever experienced and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, as it is that bad.

I sincerely hope you never have to find out.

Yesterday a flashback appeared against something I had written 12 months ago, I felt it beneficial to include it in this blog article today.

“Depression is one of the hardest things to explain especially when you don’t fully understand it yourself.

When you feel your just starting to turn corners your self doubt is so high it just hits you, whilst your self confidence is at an all time low.

I feel like I have no identity because the things I once held so close and my passions have disappeared with it.

I found writing to not only be a great release but I held it as a passion and right now through fear I may never write again.

The last few days prove to me no matter how much I want it, or how much I need it, I’m far from ready.

But I’ll always have hope, and by hiding away solves nothing, no matter how hard each day can seem.

I may lack in having an identity but I still have a vision, and the only way I’ll get to it is to keep stepping forward.”

I followed that up with this update.

“It’s weird, 12 months on, I truly felt at times that I not only lost my way but I lost my identity with it.

It’s difficult to truly explain other than imagine waking up and everything you ever knew, you doubted you’ve ever done or trust in yourself that you did.

Like a mind wipe, everything had gone!

Days like this, last year, I couldn’t even imagine getting better, coming full circle and returning to the person I once knew.

But I did!

And I’ll always be truly thankful for being able to do so.”

In reality even reading it back today it’s a great reminder of how far I have come, and will continue to keep going.

I’m still not where I’d like to be life wise and working wise, but I’m lucky, I’ve managed through time and patience to return back to the person I once knew, when hope was merely a word you clinged onto rather than believed in.

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A note for myself.

Whenever you feel the fear, just take a breathe and embrace it anyway.

 

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Trust Yourself

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Where do I really start?

After each entry that I write on here, I make a promise with myself that I’ll update this more regularly.

But each and every time I don’t.

Another month has passed, and although events have happened and emotions have been expressed, I’ve ignored the chance to write it down, at all, never mind on here.

My life is changing, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

To read back on constant daily reminders of how I felt one year ago today, each day, and in that moment continues to help me going forward in each day, today.

I’ve spoken in previous posts about when not posting, it’s sometimes because you are better and you forget, or you don’t want to drudge up bad memories and feelings that came from your personal darkness.

This time it’s different.

I’ve thought about writing a new entry for at least a couple of weeks.

But I haven’t.

And there has been a reason.

The question I asked myself when I wasn’t well last year and I first wrote my first post was this.

What would people think?

That wasn’t what I thought, but it was what my depression tried to doubt myself into believing.

I wrote that first post and the many after them because I needed too, I needed a release, and that is what has helped me.

What’s held me back in the last couple of weeks has been that very same question.

What would people think?

12 months on and then some, I’m a lot better, not ‘fixed’ as some do ask, but better.

So I asked that question once again with a clear mind, but forgot the reason on why I wrote and posted in the first place.

That reason was because I need too, I need a release, and what does help me.

When you start putting your life back together again, you, no I, thought more about what other people thought over what I think.

And that needs to stop.

Emotions needs to be expressed, not bottled up and locked away, otherwise at some point, as only we know all too well, that darkness we have worked so hard to escape from will find it’s way back into our lives, but next time may not have the same ending to our individual and unique stories.

When I write, especially in this blog, I feel calm.

I leave all my emotions right here on the page, and I write for myself.

I know when I need to write.

I know when I have a build up of emotions that I just need to release.

And that’s when without any fear, I should just write.

I’ve spoken about triggers before, and what I do know now that I didn’t before is this;

My triggers are a build up of emotions, of feelings, that sixth sense that something doesn’t feel right but you don’t know what it is, or what it might mean.

When you feel that sensation, that’s when you need to stop.

That feeling is your body trying to communicate with you, to let you know that something is wrong and you need to slow down.

Years before this, I had these pangs, I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know how to explain them, let alone trying to stop or prevent them happening again.

I always try and put an analogy to everything now, as those people I talk too may recognise the analogy over mental health illnesses if they have never experienced it for themselves.

Think of a trigger being like an unexplainable feeling that is ignored, and then the build up of emotions and feelings that continue to be ignored (as you don’t know what they are or what they mean) intensify, building and building until you can’t stop them.

So imagine a washing machine in a spin cycle, and someone tells you to snap out of depression or anxiety like it’s a choice.

I say try opening that washing machine in a spin cycle, you can’t, and even if you did, think of the aftermath on the floor if you did.

Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health will never be like a tap or a switch that you can turn on and off.

It’s something the individual has to work on, daily, hourly, secondly.

Some days it’s fine and some days it’s not.

Thesedays, these triggers I can spot them quicker, occasionally before, more often the day after something happens.

And at that point I readjust.

It may mean stopping or slowing down, it may mean looking at something, someone or a situation differently.

I feel more in control than I ever did and that comes from trusting yourself, as you know more than you think you do.

 

New Year, Fresh Start

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14 days in, almost half a month down, so how’s that New Year, fresh start doing for you?

For anyone who has experienced depression, anxiety and mental health related illnesses, it’s never that simple, you can’t just decide to stop and simply say, New Year, fresh start.

No matter how much you wish it were to be that simple.

For me, there has been a gradual transition, and for me it would never have come had I not seeked help.

Each and every year I said it would get better, I would be stronger, I wouldn’t allow myself to be dragged down by this darkness.

But each and every year it would catch me back up and take it’s hold over me again.

Again, and again, and again.

No matter what I tried, no matter how I tried to block it out, the voice inside my self conscious always wore me down and it’s voice was always too loud to shut out.

Last year was different, I already spoke out, and opened up, I had already been diagnosed with depression, and even though that voice wasn’t as loud anymore, sometimes it wasn’t even there at all.

All the time I was being asked how I was feeling, and most times I wasn’t feeling anything.

It’s hard to explain at times.

Waking up to a sense of nothingness.

Not caring about anything, not because you didn’t, just because you didn’t have that ability to process your emotions as quickly as you used to be able too.

But this year, more than 12 months on, it’s very different.

It’s very different indeed.

I walked into 2018, a lot like I did in 2017, but unlike with last year being based more so on hope, this year was more on trust.

I trust in myself, and everything that I do, once, many times before I thought I may never be able to do again.

My life is far from where I would like it to be, but it’s within touching distance from that too.

As per my last blog article I spoke about a list of things I would work towards this year, something I did last year too.

And I’ve started this year, how I will go on, for each day forward.

With an inner strength and calmness, with determination and acknowledgement.

Depression is always going to be there, but it’s only here on my terms now.

It’s something that I don’t ever want to lose, it seems a little strange to say that, as it has ruined my life for so many years.

But it’s something that will remind me that not everything that challenges you, you can beat alone.

It will remind me that asking for help is never a weakness, it’s a strength.

It will remind me that even when your faced with your darkest days, with time and patience, your self belief will return and you can and will become stronger.

Depression has changed me.

It’s changed me in ways I never thought could happen.

It’s changed me on how I view my life and on how I view the world around me.

The stereotypical sense of rock bottom allows you to re-evaluate everything in your life, it makes you question everything that you have done, it makes you question all of your hopes and dreams.

And then over time, with that developed patience, you can, like me, and many more, gradually come out the other side.

Feeling better, calmer, safer, stronger, and in reflection able to see a brighter future once again.

It’s not easy.

It’s incredibly tough.

It’s like having your mind erased.

But gradually, gradually, you will find your way back.

In the opening two weeks of this year I would say I’ve achieved, I’ve been struck down with a bug, but I have still progressed most days.

It’s important to back yourself, but just as important to acknowledge yourself too.

It’s not about having detailed plans of things to achieve, it’s about working your way towards a better life, no matter how long it takes.

Timeframes go out of the window, they are no longer important.

If you need or want a down day, you have one, if you need it have two, it’s not a problem.

Don’t put added stresses on yourself, your life is changing, it’s improving, and as long as you can acknowledge your difficulties in your life, take on support when you need it, find patience in yourself when things don’t sit well or feel good, you will feel better for it.

It’s not about what you do every day, it’s about the small steps you take to achieve your ultimate goal.

Time doesn’t matter, but how you feel is everything.

This year for me is many things, but the important one that overrules everything is my own self development.

There’s nothing more important than yourself and your own happiness.

Sometimes you have to hold yourself in a higher regard than you once did.

You need to start putting yourself first, or certainly higher than the bottom of your list.

Value yourself, don’t let people in your life take you for granted, and believe in yourself more.

And never feel guilty for putting your own happiness before others either.

Because when you do, everything else will start falling into place too.

Resolutions or Wishes

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This time 12 months ago I did something that I have never done before, and because of it something that I will continue to do forever more.

I’ve not been big on resolutions, that pointless, waste of time, personal challenge that you’ll break about as quick as it takes you to draw your next breath.

But last year was different, I woke up feeling numb, although I felt I was getting better, the harsh realisation was each new year symbolises hope, and in that moment I felt like I had none.

At the end of October, early November of 2016 I was diagnosed with depression, and in that moment of uncertainty I felt like I would never get back to the person I once was.

So I decided to make a list.

This list consisted of things I was going to work towards.

Things that I could measure and reassure myself across the year.

And you know what?

I looked at this list many times over and I’m pleased to say what I hoped to achieved, I’ve achieved, and have gone onto achieve so much more.

Here was my 2017 work in progress list.

Life Objectives

* To overcome all my personal battles and learn to live with them.

* To find my inner happiness and be at peace with myself in each day going forward.

* To sell my house and start again.

* To find a new job, hopefully within the town and help Bishop Auckland reach its full potential.

* To write, all different things, books, poetry, blogs, children’s storybooks to travel guides.

* I want to write a book highlighting my depression and recovery, hopefully if it gets picked up by a publisher I can donate all profits back to a mental health charity.

* Kynren – Its a big part of my life now, but there is two elements of Kynren, one is the show. The second one and the one that is far more important to me are the people, that reason alone will keep me coming back for more.

* I want to travel and see the world, to write about my journeys and let people become inspired by my words and photos.

This isn’t a list of things I want to achieve, they are things I’m going to work towards.

The first two being the only things that truly matter.

The first two are the only ones that matter and I know I have achieved them, and because of this I will always remain extremely proud and grateful for doing so.

Other 2017 personal highlights have been:

* UK Blog Awards Finalist in April.

* Writing and collaborating for a new London music publication.

* Presenting and producing my own show on local radio.

* Creating, planning and organising the now annual ‘Bishop Celebrating Together’ community event.

And a lot more inbetween…

So what’s next?

What’s my working towards list for 2018 going to be?

* Continue to work on me, just because I feel better doesn’t mean you should stop learning about yourself.

* To find full time employment, and quickly, and show my employers why they were right to give me an opportunity and make those that doubted me regret it.

* Writing – Continue to write, each and every day, on lots of varying topics.

* Create a personal website whereby I can collate all of my work under one page.

* To write the first draft of a book.

* To always remain open to opportunities to improve myself, taking a chance has lead me onto some unbelievable opportunities in 2017, something I wish to continue into 2018.

* I want to keep being inspired, by people, by surroundings, by things that capture my attention and make me take notice.

* And to progress as a person in the happiest way possible, to look back in 12 months time and acknowledge that more great strides have been achieved in my life.

12 months ago I wrote this:

I’m no longer making plans, yes I have dreams, aspirations and objectives but 2017 doesn’t represent a brand new year, it just represents a change in date.

I want to live every day, not just exist in them, I want to challenge myself to become the person I always hoped I could be.

I’m going to try regardless of the result for nobody but me, so one day I can look back at my life and say that was the moment that was life defining and to be proud of myself.

And that’s exactly what I did and will continue to do.

Happy New Year to you all.

When facing your fears, embrace them with all your might, and step into the unknown, because when you do, you will become more alive than you could ever dream possible.

 

 

Contentment and Reflection

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So from my last post (Christmas Festivities) to this one (Contentment and Reflection), it’s an article I could have written a few days ago but chose not too.

One date centres around my Christmas Festivities and that’s not Christmas Day, not Boxing Day or even New Year.

That date is 27th December.

And if you’ve followed this blog you’ll know without detail it’s been what I would class as my darkness day.

A day that I wrote a year ago that I hoped one day to share but that day won’t be today, it now might be never.

With all key dates you know they are coming, they have significant meaning to them, they recoil so many memories, good and bad, and quite often you become quite transfixed on the significant meaning of them.

This year… not so much.

I’ll always have demons but they are only here on my terms now.

Over the last 12 months and a little bit longer, I have learnt to trust myself again, be confident in the decisions I make are for the right reasons to keep progressing forward.

I knew the date was coming, but I wasn’t anxious, I was surprisingly calm, friends asked me how I was and I replied with a stereotypical answer of “I’m fine” but with intent and belief because that’s what I am.

Over that time I have rebuilt myself from a dark and dispaired existence, to an unrecognisable person even before my own very eyes.

I came across this quote and it’s a good one, I only wished I had written it myself.

“make peace with your broken pieces”

I feel that’s exactly what I have been trying to do my whole life, but all the many years before trying to do that without any instructions, in complete darkness and without the correct tools.

This year, through time, patience, through belief and support and many other contributing factors, I have gradually made steps towards a comeback.

And those steps were probably some of the hardest I’ll ever have to make.

Sometimes forwards, sometimes back, sometimes side to side, but the important thing was never to stop.

I’ve been broke, I’ve been lost, confused, and broken down, and frustrated.

But I’ve finally been able to make peace with my broken pieces by being able to accept my broken pieces.

Life is hard, nobody needs to tell you that, at times it feels like it can be too hard, but it’s always worth the fight.

I’ve written more in this blog over the last few weeks than I have in most of last year, because it’s easier to forget than it is to face it.

Yes, I’ve had depression.

No, it will never define me as a person.

I will probably always have it for the rest of my life, but I have everything in place to counteract it whenever it arises again.

In the next 12 months, these blogs are going to share my story, my thoughts, my emotions, hopefully it will help people, it certainly helps me.

I said 12 months ago that I wanted to write a book highlighting my depression and recovery, and hopefully if it gets picked up by a publisher I can donate all profits back to a mental health charity.

That’s what I’m going to do, I need to write, I need to express my emotions, I need to finish off writing chapter after chapter and then close the book to a significant part of my life, which I will hold deep in my memory as it allowed me to discover who I really was.

I want to support mental health charities and in my case the NHS who listened, supported and gave me a platform to help rebuild my life again.

For all these people who helped to steady me when my whole world caved in I will always be truly grateful.

2018 is a new year but it will never hold any significant meaning, only today holds that for me now, only today.

Christmas Festivities

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So today is Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is Christmas Day, but what will you see when you look at me?

Behind my fake smile, it’s a period of time that I’m just not interested in.

It’s a time that the world becomes joyest and I’d happily watch time fly by and head straight to January.

And while January many consider to be the most depressing month of the year, behind my fake smile I’d beg to differ and say December is.

Christmas is a weird time.

For me it symbolises ‘family’ and it’s without doubt a happy day, but once it ends and you return to your own home, and close the door behind you, your back to your own life, your own existence, and your own mind.

Christmas symbolises family time, but it also symbolises everything that you don’t have.

All the things that you want or wanted in life that you don’t have, things that you may have lost.

Christmas as it brings so much joy to many, leaves just as many if not more with sadness.

Oh how many times do I hear;

“Bah humbug”

“Where’s your Christmas spirit”

If only you knew…

Over the last 12-15 months I’ve been very open when I talk about my mental health and my journey through depression, one that I will continue to remain open about as well.

But even though I feel mentally strong, Christmas time will still be a time I may never enjoy again.

It’s a time that reminds me of so much, flashbacks to things I tried to bury from my mind with drinking excessively and then feeling even worse.

Failed relationships, a bleak future, a sense of not being wanted or needed, getting older and not having the picture perfect life that I thought and dreamt I would of had in my 20’s fast disappearing, until it’s not even a dream more like a haze in existence.

Me and Christmas.

I’m genuinely happy for everyone who is in the “Christmas Spirit” but as much as you don’t want people to bring you down, don’t be one of those people that think what you feel is what everyone should feel just because it’s Christmas.

It’s a shit time for many.

Looking through the life windows of others can be a completely different take of the life they lead.

Many people don’t have their shit together and even if they do, many don’t realise that they do.

“If only we could see our lives from the people who view us”

The above is a quote I stumbled across at a point when I was going through a low point of depression many months ago.

It really resonates on me and I think it probably does on many too.

If only we could see how other people view us, would we ever feel so lost and lonely again?

Or the flip of this quote, if your family and friends could really see how dark and troubled your mind is in the depths of your depression, would they understand and appreciate it more?

Like a lot of my posts, certainly this month, they start with a topic and then go more into ramblings but I suppose these are just as important to write down and get them out of my mind too.

I’ve learnt that it’s important to express your emotions, channel them into a passion to get them out, whether like me it’s writing, for others it’s running, or the gym, or to paint and be expressive.

To think back, now, right in this moment, of how I was, who I was, it’s like watching back a drama, or a documentary film about my life, played out in my own memories and flashbacks.

Flashbacks of every single key date of my life.

I wonder how I did it.

Sitting here now I don’t know how I did it.

The pain, the torment, the anguish, and when it finally subsided where I could no longer drink anymore, or have no more tears left to cry, finding courage to go again, knowing that no matter what I said it would catch me up again, I really don’t know.

It’s amazing how much inner strength we actually do possess.

Feeling trapped inside your own tormented mind at this time of year is the worst, everyone looks as though they are doing well.

And your mind convinces you of that too, I felt like a failure, my mind convinced me that no one would understand, my mind wanted to continue to play a game where only we were playing but to the outside world only I was.

A game that I could never win.

The hardest things I’ve ever done is find the courage, when I had no other alternative was to reach out and finally open up after years of torment and ask for help.

It has also been the best thing I’ve ever done too, as it has allowed me to get better.

It has allowed me to see again.

Not walk around in a haze or a dense fog in life, being secretive and trying to stay two steps ahead of everything and everyone.

Going at 100mph, not sleeping, being agitated and irritable (All the time).

I have never been in more control of my own life than I am now, I can see everything around me, and can appreciate it too.

I have discovered passions and persue them now instead of burying them as I felt I shouldn’t be happy and inside my head my life had to constantly feel like pain.

But everyone deserves to be happy.

If anyone has stumbled across my articles who is struggling, I feel for you I really do, depression is the worst of the worst.

I may have had depression and I can relate to what you are going through but one thing no one can tell you is that they understand, because in reality they don’t.

Only the individual feels the emotions that go through their own head are.

But, what I can say is this.

I was once where you are, I was once faced with pain and frustration, and loneliness, and anger, and a not knowingness.

But I don’t think I would ever be where I am now if I didn’t find the courage and inner strength to ask for help.

And because I did I am changing my life.

So to try and wrap this update up, Christmas time is a special time of year to many; others, including myself have lost our way, I need to embrace it, the best I can, enjoy it the best I can, and try and place better memories ahead of the bad ones for each key date, or better still go and create some.

For anyone that reads these articles, thank you for your support, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that if you are struggling that the upcoming year is a happy and healthy one for you and your loved ones, and you get all the love and support you need.

Self Motivation

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I’ve always said that writing this blog was always ever going to be in the moment, my moment, whenever I felt the need to write.

I also made a promise to write more often, to open up and share what it is I’m feeling, good and bad, and downright frustrating too.

I’ve sat on this quote for a number of days, and had I wrote when I found this quote I know my entry would have read completely differently to how I’m about to write it now.

For me, mentally I’m good, health I’m great, but life, not so much, it’s downright frustrating most of the time.

I’m sat up in bed, unable to sleep, and it’s partly to do with not “feeling it” and not being able too or comfortable enough to write and release a build up of emotions.

That has a lot to do with frustration which at times builds to anger and then back to frustration and with it a feeling of being lost.

Heading into Christmas and my least favourite month, I have way too many bad memories and reminders of key dates that will always trigger flashbacks to my past.

And with a brand new year less than a couple of weeks away, what is to look forward too?

Hopefully work.

It’s the one thing I wish for, it’s one thing I desperately require and need.

I need some routine and structure in my life, I need to stop spiralling and not having control of my present, let alone my future.

One thing I never anticipated was that it was going to be this hard.

Had I known and if I was strong enough to hide my depression would I have opened up?

Absolutely not.

I would of allowed myself to drift day to day, trying to stay two steps ahead and using damage limitation to hide it from as many people as possible in the process.

But hindsight is always going to be a wonderful thing.

I may not have the life I want, the life I probably deserve, the life I am desperate to have.

But what I do have once the frustration subsides is a clear mind and clarity, and trust, and self belief, that one day; and hopefully one day sooner rather than later, someone decides to give me a chance I need to prove myself and helps to let me develop into the person that I know I am.

Where I am?

I’m back and forth with applying for work, half opportunities that look like a start date change into postponements or nothing at all.

And for me it’s highly frustrating.

The one thing I’ve been crying out for, for months, probably around 6 months is employment.

And it’s not only for financial reasons but without it, I can’t self-develop.

I can’t move forward.

I haven’t got a lot of routine and structure in my life, and haven’t had for most of this year.

I volunteer a lot, at times I write a lot too, and look to give back to my community wherever I can help and look to make a difference.

But everyone needs more.

We need to feel wanted and needed.

We need to earn financially to balance the lives that we have and without it, all it does is continue to build emotional pressures to everyone of us.

I’m no different.

As I sit here in bed, has this lifted a weight off for me to shut my tired eyes and fall in a deep and much needed sleep.

Honestly not at all, I’m even questioning why I should post this entry at all, as it feels like a rambling article that no one will understand, hell I don’t even understand it.

The blog title is about self motivation, it’s about having belief in yourself that everything will and can work out in the end.

Part of me knows that is true, each day I look back on memories that I wrote on each day 12 months prior whilst I was going through depression.

Days of unknowing, days of a lack of, actually no, having no confidence in myself, constant fear, and uncertainty.

Now it’s like viewing the life of another person but at the same time acknowledging that these words were mine and almost watching a scene play out in front of me with flashbacks to my past and with it my old life.

What do I know?

I know that even though my life isn’t how I want it to be, I know it’s already better, richer, happier and developing daily.

Had I been stronger I would never of opened up, I would never of got better, I would have lived my life in a constant bubble, a haze, pretending to myself and everyone around me that everything was “fine” when it really, really wasn’t.

Nor was it ever going to be.

That it would just suddenly automatically correct itself.

Maybe tonight I just needed to write, maybe it doesn’t need to flow and maybe it doesn’t even need to make a lot of sense.

Maybe I just needed to write, release all my emotions down on the page, release all my frustrations that no matter what I seem to do at present, it just never seems to be good enough to get me over the line and back into full time employment.

And yes it does frustrate me, because I’m trying, and I have lots to give and lots to offer, all I need is a chance.

So to close this up, the quote says:

“Self-Motivation is key”

It’s correct, because without it your life can’t improve just on someone else’s say so.

We (and this is a reminder to myself too) we have to keep going, keep trying, keep getting up and showing up, and stand out.

And when we believe anything is possible.