Patient Blogs | Depression
The Hope You Need When Dealing With Depression
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In the darkest hours of my depression, when life seems like an unbearable weight and I cower in the corners of gloom where minutes pass by too slowly, it is hard to remember hope. 

What is hope? It’s something most of us know exists, whether through a lens of religion or spirituality, or just plain human nature. We nurse our dreams and overcome pain through hope, knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel, where success and joy and good things finally come to fruition. We latch onto hope as a means of survival because what other choice do we have? 

But when you have depression, the concept of hope can feel so far away. In the midst of pain, the way you see the world becomes bleak. Depression tricks you into believing that things will never get better, and if they don’t, then what’s the point of even trying? 

I’ve experienced so many moments in my life where hope felt nonexistent. When I tried six, seven, or eight different medications, trying and failing to find something that would relieve an ounce of mental pain. When I tried TMS therapy, it didn’t work. When I continued to have episodes of depression so intense that I isolated myself, lashed out at my loved ones, and lay on bathroom floors sobbing until my chest ached. When I so deeply believed that I couldn’t make it until the next day. But I did. 

Somehow, hope still faintly glimmered in my lowest moments. It’s remained faithful. I find it when I end up having a good day with fewer valleys and more peaks. I find hope in the text from a loved one encouraging me and offering support. It’s in the news headline I read about something good that happened in the world. Hope appears when the stranger at the grocery store greets me with a smile. It shines its small light when my friend tells me she’s going to adopt the dog she is fostering.

To me, hope is an underlying belief that the clouds will always eventually break to let sunshine back in, even if it’s not tomorrow or the next day. It is the knowing that although a brain can be tortured by the most intense pain, it can simultaneously be embraced by a glimmer of good. Hope has the ability to somehow seep through the cracks of a broken soul, fueled by the understanding that pain ends

There is a poem I love written by Emily Dickinson called “Hope is the thing with feathers.”

Its first verse exclaims:

 “Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

Every time I read those lines, I am comforted by the idea that hope is everlasting even when it can seem invisible. In its silent persistence, hope shows me that I can survive. That though my depression will always exist, it can fade, if just temporarily. 

It shows me that I am strong when I feel wilted, that I am loved when I am broken, and above all, that it will continue to patiently perch in my soul when I need it again. If only I listen. 

To connect with other people living with depression join our Depression Facebook Support Group.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Il'â Andreev / EyeEm via Getty Images

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Kristen Luft

Kristen Luft

Diagnosed since 2013

Kristen Luft is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate who has been living with depression since 2013. She is currently a marketing professional in North Carolina. Kristen is also a mental health advocate and writer, sharing her story to offer hope that we can all live full lives in recovery. When she's not working or writing, you can find her reading or spending time with her loved ones and dogs. Connect with Kristen on Instagram.

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