Challenges by Timothy P. Divelbiss*
The effects of mental challenges are tremendously varied. There are people who are so afflicted that they need multiple accommodations to help them get through their life with a minimal of trouble. These are the ones that probably immediately come to mind when people think of the term “mentally challenged”.
But not all people with those challenges are like that. A good few are able to lead a very successful, normal life without a lot of side-effects of whatever affliction they might have.
I am one of those people.
Specifically, I have what is known as high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome. That means that I do have some challenges, but for the most part, I’m pretty normal. In fact, if you were to take a quick look at me, you’d never know I had anything at all. Yes, I’d come across as a bit of a sci-fi nerd (a title I bear proudly), but other than that, I’m your average American 17-year old.
Of course, that’s just for the most part. I do have some challenges, as I said before. Sometimes I find it hard to focus on something when I could be doing other things. But I think the biggest curse Asperger’s brings is the simple fact that it’s there. It’s very presence is agitating to me. In a way, it’s a little like Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars franchise. He doesn’t have a huge impact on the main story. He’s just sort of there. But he always manages to cause some kind of trouble, for the characters and the fanbase. I know that’s an odd comparison, but it was the most imaginative one I could think of. Overall, it’s the simple fact that I will always be a little different from most other people that troubles me the most.
Now, I don’t spend every day suffering from that horror, and I certainly don’t go around blaming every mistake or sin I do on it. But every once in a while, I do experience a huge amount of stress and fear – fear for my future – because of it. Often times, it will be when I am having a particular rough time with, say, a Creative Writing assignment, and I’ll end up feeling very stressed out.
In times like that, I tend to feel downright hopeless. It suddenly seems as if my entire life is just one big, biological accident, and that I’ll never break through that barrier, and blah blah blah. But you can’t get anything done if you just wallow in self-pity right?
One thing that helps is to not be so hard on yourself. Very often I end up mentally berating myself for not trying hard enough and that I need to do better if I want to get anywhere and…no. Just, no. You shouldn’t beat yourself up like that. All it does is make you feel worse, and you’ll end up digging a deeper hole for yourself.
What you should do is keep on trying. It’s a given that you’ll make mistakes, but that’s okay. What’s important is that you know how to pick yourself up and try again. That’s the key to it all; being able to have enough confidence in yourself to try again and not give up until you achieve your goal.
Remember: just because you may have mental challenges doesn’t mean that you’re hopeless. In fact, you’re far from it. With a little confidence, and maybe some outside assistance, you can overcome almost any challenge that life throws at you.