On Toughness

I grew up thinking that if I was tough enough I could accomplish anything. Until the age of 27, when I fell ill with schizophrenia, I thought I was Wonder Woman–a person who could do anything and had no limits.

For the past 10 years, I have tried and tried to accomplish things–sometimes big things, sometimes small things. Often, I fail. I have come to accept that I have a mental illness that limits what I can do.

I thought about all of this today when I saw a job advertisement that called for someone who “works well under pressure.”

Stress. It’s a killer.

Unless your job is ever-so-important, there’s no need to add stress to your life. Stress is one of the things that triggers my episodes. Stress contributes to a lot of health conditions.

In the past, I would have thought that being able to work well under pressure was a badge of honor. Now, I know there’s hardly a job worth it.

We grow up thinking that being “tough” is the highest good. In fact, taking risks that make us so-called “tough” shortens our lives and makes us less healthy.

I’m done with being tough. I don’t even care if you call me a snowflake. I’ll be a snowflake with a longer, healthier life.

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