Tag: hope

That flicker of hope…

pexels-photoAs my mood is see-sawing between feeling absolutely pathetic to feeling like I can turn my life around from one moment to the next, I am stuck in a zone between hope and hopelessness.

Hope. They say life is nothing without hope and it is only with hope that one can live. But you see, I have a problem with hope. Hope leads to disappointment and pain. I’ve had to face this disappointment in a lot of areas in my life, multiple times. It’s like one thing after the other. I hope and I hope and nothing. I cannot seem to catch a break. That’s the reason that I have become wary of hope. I no longer see any use of hoping. It seems more logical to give up hope. I’ve become convinced that the things I desire (and I don’t mean material things here) are simply not going to happen. So what’s the point?

There’s also a possibility that I don’t really believe in the hopes I hope. That I actually don’t have any hope or never have had any hope. And maybe because of this, I’ve never really gotten any of my hopes fulfilled. It’s a scary thought, because that would mean that I have accepted defeat or that I actually hope for defeat. It’s twisted. It’s self sabotage.

And here is the dilemma. Despite my conviction of giving up on hope, somewhere deep inside my spirit I still have a flicker of hope burning. I cannot get myself to completely abandon it and embrace hopelessness. I think this is because living with utter hopelessness is not only difficult, it’s impossible and pushes one towards suicide. And yet I can see the futility of keeping such a flicker burning and so whenever I start to feel hopeful, I am tormented. My mind keeps reminding me of how stupid I am to think that my future will hold better things.

It’s not just because of depression. If it was, it would be a relief because then I would know that it’s not really true. Unfortunately, I’ve seen that some people just have bad destinies and no matter what they do, they keep getting hit in the face and falling flat over and over in life. Some lives are just like that, like punishments designed by Ancient Greek Gods for Sisyphus and Prometheus. What if my life was one of these lives?

Funnily enough, I saw the movie Tomorrowland today, and the whole point of that movie is that we can change our destinies by thinking positive and not giving up and hoping for a better future. There’s this dialogue where they say that upon seeing the impending doom of the earth, people, instead of doing something to change it have accepted it and resigned to their fate. And I couldn’t help but think of how I am doing the same thing.

I wish I could say after watching the movie I decided to feed the right wolf, to use the movie’s metaphor, and that I decided to be hopeful and take charge of my own destiny but I can’t. I know I want to choose hope but I am unable to. There’s a constant fight between these two going on inside my head. A flicker of hope that refuses to go out and a hopelessness that refuses to settle in. I am tired. I don’t have any answers.

 

 

 

 

Get out of the house to get out of the funk

After spending two weeks sulking in bed, depressed, hating everything, the day came when I had to go visit my therapist and I was terrified of finding myself outside in public. Worse, in the library of the language institute where I studied french, where there are people, teachers and friends, I could potentially run into. But, the appointment had to be kept and I had to spend some time at the library waiting for my parents and so there was no way out.

I did not know how all this would go down. Two things happened which I think helped me get out of the hopeless mood I had been in. First, instead of avoiding meeting one of my friends who works there, I decided to go see her. I talked to her for a good ten minutes. I could not be all sulky in her office setting and talking to a person after two weeks wasn’t that bad. I did, on the contrary, avoid talking to one of my teacher I heard in the corridor. I wasn’t feeling up to talking about what I was up to with my career etc.

Then, I went to the library (which is my favorite place) and started reading a few books here and there. Nothing too seriously, although I should have been looking for research material. Just moving between the shelves and taking out random books seemed to lift my mood. I didn’t meet anyone and had some quite time with the books.

It was lunch time and I did not feel like going into the canteen where there were way too many people, it was noisy and I was not feeling up to it. So instead I did the second thing which helped me a lot. I went into the very beautiful garden which is situated a stone’s throw away from the institute and I walked around. Now, I have been going to this institute for four years and never did I notice that there was an entrance so close by. This short walk in nature seemed to have changed my mood completely. I took in some deep breaths and I started feeling alive again (and I am not overstating, I was feeling like dead person on the inside for days on end). It wasn’t too crowded and the smell of the fresh grass was lovely.

I even took a picture! I mean I actually bothered to open my bag, take out my phone and take a picture.

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The point of my recounting all this is that by staying indoors we tend to stay in the same mindset, doing the same things over and over again (lying in bed mostly) and we lose perspective and we lose sight of a life which can exist outside of our depression. And the more you stay inside the worse it gets. The prospect of going outside becomes a challenge and we avoid going out all together. What going out does is shifts our focus away from ourselves for a while, away from the negative stuff. It’s a welcome change.

What I was fearing as would turn out to be another bad day actually turned out to be a day that made a huge difference in how I was feeling. It redirected me towards hoping for recovery. Since that day, I have started going on evening walks to our neighborhood park and what’s even better, my parents go with me. I actually look forward to going outside as I’ve been inside all day and it makes me feel energetic afterwards despite the heat (it’s near 35 degree Celsius where I live, peak summers). Plus there’s always the satisfaction of doing something good for your health.

Now I do realize that I wouldn’t be going into very social situations which would require too much contact, but rather more solitary kind of things, but that’s the first step. Just getting outside even if it is for a 30 minutes walk on your own. I know it seems difficult and you’re not able to convince yourself, and it just seems too hard, but give it a try. It might just be the thing┬áthat kicks out some of the negativity inside our heads.

 

The Lies Depression tells

“I’ll never get better”, “This is hopeless, there is no future”, “Everything will just go wrong”, “I hate myself, I hate my life”, the list can go on and on, forever. When we’re under the hold of depression, all these thoughts seem so accurate, it’s difficult nay almost impossible to see them for what they truly are. LIES. PLAIN WHITE LIES. Lies depression is telling you, twisting your mind into believing these things to be the reality.

The truth however is different. What is needed to decipher it, is realizing that what your mind is conjuring up and trying to get you to accept as the truth is very different from reality. This is one of the first things I learnt in therapy. To recognize the “depression speaking” in my head and then to challenge it. Challenge it by searching for proof against these negative thoughts.

The only problem is that this seems easy to do in hindsight, when your thinking isn’t clouded and you can see things from a different perspective. ┬áTo do it while you’re mind is under the deepest, thickest fog is a challenge in itself….forget about challenging your thoughts. The only reason I could admit that these thoughts, especially the one saying “you’ll never come out of this” was a lie is because I am now better. And truth be told, I haven’t got the least idea of how this can be done while you’re suffering. Especially when for some of us, our life’s situation makes it hard for us to deny what our negative thoughts are telling us.

The issue my therapist raised in the last session of me having wiped my mind clean off the facts I learned about my depression and how to deal with it doesn’t seem fair. I was in such a bad state that I simply did not have the ability to reason with my own mind. It wasn’t before the medication kicked in that I began to think otherwise. Even then, I couldn’t just get myself to be up and running. I had no energy and I was still sleeping through all day, feeling okay one day and bad the next (mood swings are one of the symptoms and I should have been aware of them according to my therapist). In fact, the day before my appointment, I did not do anything at all the whole day, I was dreading leaving the house, I tried reading a bit and then suddenly at 7 pm I got up and tidied up my room. I don’t remember how that happened.

Anyway, what I would really like to learn and discuss with my therapist next is how to come out of the negative thoughts while you’re feeling too depressed to even think. Is medication the only hope? I do remember her telling me though that until you learn the techniques and strategies to cope well enough, medication is there to help you just like the training wheels on a bicycle for kids who are learning to balance. That’s a comforting thought. I don’t know why I had forgotten it.

Another truth is that I was judging myself (as usual) and being hard on myself for having wasted all the past therapy sessions and being back at zero again. To make the same mistake again is foolish they say. I have fallen down the ladder again, I accept it, but I am going to climb back again, I am going to rise and I am going to learn my lessons better this time. I want to believe in a better future where things go right for me and not in the desolate place depression wants to send me to.

I cannot express enough of how thankful I am to my family for getting me help. For everyone going through depression, I want to say this: “I know it’s too dark right now to see, to believe, but just remember it will get better, no matter what your mind is saying right now. It will get better. Seek help. Don’t believe the lies depression is telling you. You will get better.”