This I Believe

This is the article that I have chosen: Semper Fidelis, by Andrew Paradis . In the essay he talks about the motto he was taught in the US Marines, semper fidelis (always faithful). He applied this motto to his family when his wife was battling a physical and mental illness. He never gave up on his wife, who had attempted to kill herself three times and even begged him to end her life for her. Today, “my wife is on good meds and in good therapy, and she has regained her true, loving self. Our daughter has her mom back, I have my wife back, and she has herself back. And it is because of this fundamental belief, this notion that you never quit on those you love.”

I chose this essay because I felt that the author must have understood the pain of being in a relationship with someone that had a severe mental illness. I had someone close in my life that also had many problems. Without going much into the details, it was a very difficult and dark period in my life that lasted for several years. I tried very hard to help; I did everything I could to ensure that this person received proper medical attention, but by the end of the day, it wore me out completely. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could not do everything/solve all the problems. This was out of my hands.

Contrary to what the author had done, semper fidelis – sticking to the end and braving through the challenges – I had to learn how to let go. There are some things in life that are simply out of your power to change, and there are things that you have to learn to accept. This entire part of my life still bothers me even to this day, but I have recovered a lot ever since (“rehabilitated”, if you will). I now share a healthy relationship with a wonderful person from whom I can’t ask for more, and am leading a much more fruitful and meaningful life than I was before. It is almost like being reborn from the dead.

I guess what the moral of my story would be is that, while some people (like the author) are brave enough to tough through hardships like these, some of us are not strong enough …and it is okay. Real strength lies in realizing (and coming to terms with) your weaknesses…..

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