“Hush my darling don’t fear my darling, The lion sleeps tonight”  George David Weiss / Hugo E. Peretti / Luigi Creatore

Whether one suffers from mental illness or not we all need the courage to face the next day. But where do we get that courage from? 

courage photoIf there was a boxing match between two men and one was slightly more physically fit while the other was slightly more mentally fit, who would win the contest? Most people I asked this question would go to the one mentally prepared better. Now if we propose the same question about life but instead of physical versus mental we compare mental versus spiritual what would the answer be? Once again most people recognize the superiority of the spiritual.

History is full of example of the underdog persevering under extreme condition to win victory. An in-depth study of the civil rights movement or the labor movement will show many acts of bravery and courage. After all slavery and Jim Crow didn’t go down without violent opposition. In the same way, we didn’t get the forty hour work week, child labor laws, unemployment, overtime, vacation and other benefits without a long and bloody struggle.

The collective struggle is parallel to the personal struggle. If we see what works in the macrocosm it should apply to the microcosm.

The first lesson to learn that there is a great room for improvement in your personal life. Nobody is perfect and we all have areas that need major working on. Some people don’t do well socially. Others have addictions or find it hard to keep a job. The list if you think about it is quite long. In life, it seems that either we are progressing or digressing. So step one to solving the problem is recognizing the problem. If you can’t that leads to step two, which is getting help for your problem.

Sometimes we cannot recognize our own weaknesses. We are blind to what is going in our life. This is especially true of the prideful and the arrogant. If somebody thinks they are perfect there is little helping them. Still, with the humble and sincere it is wise to reach out to others for help. I recall going into college my social skills were awkward at best. However, since I went to an engineering school I was ahead of most of my classmates. By making friends, and observing their ways I learned by example how to interact with other human beings. Beyond those in the mental health field, there is also those who are in the ministry to give a helping hand.

There is something that rings true, the harder an athlete trains the better they do in competition. Success comes through hard work. If you put your mind to improving something about you then be diligent in the task. To see your faults and then to do nothing about them is useless. Life itself is a job, be diligent at your business.

But somewhere along the line, one must ask the question of what they want out of life? In some circumstances the answer is obvious in other times the future hoped for is blurry. I feel that far too many in life don’t recognize what is truly the most valuable, the three F’s, friends, family and faith. If a person has all three of those they are truly rich. Friends and family, if they are faithful will help you through your bad times and will celebrate with you through the good times. They don’t have to be perfect showing up is truly ninety percent of the battle. I recall during my battles with bipolar my mother being a strong advocate. By my dad, sister and even my brother came to visit me. Now looking back over the years I appreciate what they did for me.

Faith, of course, is what I attribute to the fact that I am still alive. I always had a hope that God could handle my problems and somehow, though it seemed impossible, there were better days ahead. I was like a sailor lost at sea confident that if I just kept sailing long enough I would eventually hit land. Land indeed come my way.

A final word to those who suffer mental illness. Life only comes around once and life is what you make of it. I know first hand how hard mental illness can hit. Fight with all your life for your life.

Please check out my book of poetry called “Polishing The Fragments” What does one do when God shatters their life? They polish the fragments.



John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2019). Courage. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Jan 2019
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