LIFE IS NOT HOPELESS

Often when you’re struggling with depression and other mental illness, you think life is hopeless. Everything is just a continuous mess. There is no way out of the dark hole you are in. When someone tries to point out possible solutions or the positive side, you can’t see it and you give all the reasons why there is nothing good or no way anything would work. The sick person can’t see beyond the hopelessness. Life to him or her is an endless road back down the hole.

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I told a person I know he should seek counseling and work towards recovery. He told me where he lives there is no good therapist. I told him he may have to try several before he finds the right one.

He replied, “There are no good ones. I’ve tried to get better for years and nothing worked. It’s hopeless. I’m stuck like this forever.”

He couldn’t see anything good or any possible way out of his illness. To him life was hopeless and so was everything. He couldn’t see the light beyond the darkness. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t reach him. He had his mind made up; there was no hope, so why try but he was so wrong. Hope is out there. You just have to look for it.

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I was like him when I started college. My cousin was killed my senior year of high school. The only friend I thought I had was overprotected by a mother who tried to keep her from seeing me. The friend started to rebel against her mom and abused me. I moved forty-five minutes away and I felt alone. I had my grandparents who spoiled me, but I still felt like I was the only one suffering. Everything was hopeless. My life was a wreck, my soul was filled with darkness, the nights were endless, and I was lucky to keep my food down.

I thought it was useless to tell anyone what I was going through. I figured they wouldn’t understand and couldn’t help me. I thought God didn’t want to help me either. I thought he had abandoned me. I tried to join a religious group at college. I went to their camp for the weekend. The more they talked about God’s goodness, the more I hated him. I locked myself in a stall in the bathroom and broke down. I told them I was sick and had to go home. So a guy took me back to my grandparents.

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I couldn’t accept that God could give me hope. I couldn’t listen to their words. I couldn’t open my heart to the possibility there was a light above my hole. My heart and mind were closed. I felt all was hopeless. If God wanted to help me, I wouldn’t be in an internal hell.

I started to think my only answer to find relief was to take my life. I swallowed a bottle of pills one day. I was groggy and sick, but somehow I made it through a snow storm to college. My mom found out I was struggling and started coming to visit me each week. She’d take me shopping and out to dinner. No matter how hard she tried, I thought it was useless. She couldn’t help me. No one could. So I told her I was just lonely.

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One day at college I saw a pamphlet about depression. I read the symptoms and they sounded the same as what I was going through. There were also pamphlets with ways to get help and numbers to call. That’s when I finally confided in my mom and moved back home. My mom helped me find a therapist and I started on a road to recovery. I found hope and recovery. Years later I slipped backwards again.

The second fight wasn’t any easier, but I did learn there is always hope. In therapy I learned to find the positive in my life and to see the light within the dark. My life took some bad turns, but I had a mother who went out of her way to get me help, I had grandparents who showered me with kindness and love, I made a friend my first year in college who kept in touch with me for years afterwards, and during my first struggle with depression I made it to college in a snow storm when it wasn’t possible.

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Even though I saw hopelessness, there was hope all around me. Years later I found God and took him into my life. I realized he had always been there for me shining a light. My eyes were just closed to the light. God kept me alive in that snow storm and when I swallowed the pills. He put my grandparents in my life to help me, he led me to those pamphlets, and he gave me a wonderful mother to help me. God gave me hope even when I couldn’t see it.

Even though everything in your life seems like a mess and there is no hope, there is hope. Open your eyes and heart to all that is around you. God opens doors. Recovery is possible and the tools are at your fingertips. If you can’t find the right therapist, talk to your pastor or priest, join online groups, read books, and look for mental health groups that can help you. Hope is out there waiting for you to find it. So start looking and soon hope will fill your heart.

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I found that even though at times things get hard, there is always something good. When I start to feel hopeless, I turn to God and I find my way. My life is full of hope, and because I found it I stand, dance, and twirl within the light.

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