I live virtually all of my life in my head, exchanging internal dialogue fueled by fear, emanating from irrational, apocalyptic notions, perceptible to me alone. I have what many in the mental health community have characterized as Generalized Anxiety Disorder accompanied with Chronic and Severe Depression. There are precious moments, however, when my internal dialogue quiets and I’m able to perceive the world a bit more clearly. I currently find myself in one of those rare moments of rational clarity. After ruminating on what I value, what I believe to be important, I find myself drawn to the value of hope.
It may be hard for readers to comprehend how one with my condition can give hope her due. After all, I so regularly misplace this valuable gift. With a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear and a loving, supportive family, I have no idea why I continue to lose hope. I’ve asked many experts in the field to no avail. I have, however, discovered this: it is human nature to truly appreciate what’s important only after it’s lost, and I have lost hope many times. Losing hope is very painful. When I’ve misplaced hope I feel as though my soul has been sucked into the black hole of despair, irretrievable as it disappears in the gravitational pull of unrelenting indifference. As a result, I am keenly aware how much I rely on hope. Hope serves as a backstop, protecting me from slipping into “nothingness” – an empty existence void of any purpose. Without such a backstop, my perspective is lost. I find myself wandering on a darkened path to nowhere, with no light to shine the way, fearing if I should encounter the beauty of life, it will be just in time to say good bye.
This I believe: hope is a powerful attribute of time and light. As long as I can grasp even the thinnest string of hope, I maintain a connection with the immense possibilities found in an unknowable future. Hope is exceptionally powerful; even the smallest amount provides great benefit. When I am covered in a dark and heavy blanket of depression, just a pinprick of hope provides a tiny speck of light which illuminates for me a path lined with opportunity, guided by perspective, and unbounded in potential. The strength of hope offers me support. Hope enables me to stand and put one foot in front of the other, always mindful that I am on a difficult and wondrous journey – a journey measured not by some arbitrary destination, but rather by my willingness to continue on a path into an uncertain future with my head up and my eyes open, keeping watch for what can be. Hope’s light guides me away from the black hole of despair, and instills confidence in a future of great potential.
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