Hopelessness. It’s the root cause of most mental illnesses and addictions. Hopelessness comes with the question those struggling probably ask themselves on a daily basis “What is the point?”
Hopelessness creates the illusion that you might see no future for yourself, that you’re a lost cause, broken and way beyond the point of being able to be put back together. The lack of hope can lead to someone making poor choices (trust me, I have made plenty), constantly feeling like a failure in everything they do (been there) or suicidal thoughts (also been there).
Hopelessness is the complete opposite of happiness. You care for nothing and everything is just grey and bleak, you’re just floating in nothingness, you don’t feel sad, lonely, angry or hurt because you don’t feel anything at all. It’s like you are pointlessly existing and that’s how you feel. Pointless. You don’t feel like you are living and part of you doesn’t even want to because what is the point?
After my dads death my perspective on life changed dramatically in a short period of time. I was only 12 so I had grown up with the idea that I was gonna have the typical happy life (be well educated, work, earn money, get married have kids etc. You know the happy life we all get told when growing up because that’s how everybody should live their life apparently…but lets not go there just yet…). You get brought up to think that your parents will be there with you throughout every life event, so when my dad suddenly died, a few things clicked in my mind. One being that I could die at any given second, like my dad, so what was the point in trying to do something with my life? Another being any of my friends/family could die at any given second, like my dad, so what was the point in making fond memories with them? What was the fucking point.
After his death I had this idea that everything I did would have to make him proud of me and that everywhere I went he was always (like ALWAYS with me). I think this is just a part of grief. You’ve had a loved one stripped away from you so you try and latch onto whatever you can to try and help yourself feel that they are still with you, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but looking back it also wasn’t the best either. The hopelessness came with the grief and mix those two components with my overall mental state at the time, led to some careless choices made by myself (I have no regrets about my past as every choice I have made has gotten me to this day but fucking hell, I made some poor choices), but when a loved one dies you can lose any hope that they had for you so you can become quite reckless/lost. I had lost the hope that he had for me and I lost the hope that I had for myself (the hope others had for me seemed non-existent) so what was the point in caring about the choices I made?
I used to be extremely pessimistic. I was such a negative person to the point where it would just piss people off. My way of viewing things was
‘The chances of this ending positively are almost non-existent but there is a very slight chance that it could end positively however, positivity can lead to disappointment if the outcome isn’t positive, therefore it is easier and better to think negatively. That way if it does end positively it is a win but in the more likely case of it ending negatively at least I didn’t have any hopes up therefore it can’t hurt me’
That was pretty much the jist of my mindset back in the day. Being positive was too painful and there was too much risk involved. Positivity requires hope and I had very little of that.
Compared to others I still had some hope. I still got through every day, I still went to school/college/work and I still had a glimpse in my head of what my future could be like. I had no motivation to get it and I would often say ‘I will be surprised if I make it to just 25 years old’ (I’m 25 in 8 months so fingers crossed) but imagining myself old and happy gave me some sort of drive.
I think I have always had some sort of hope there, whether it was coming from others or myself it was always there, just hard to access as my depression and feeling of hopelessness went together perfectly, they both fuelled each other and worked together to keep me numb. As I had depression throughout high school, college and a few years after, I had to deal with a lot of situations that were out of my control but they fuelled my negativity. For example if I got a low grade on an assignment I would take that as proof that I was all or either:
– Useless. So what’s the point?
– Stupid. Where is stupidity going to take me?
– A disappointment. I just keep letting everyone down, so what is the point?
– A failure. Everyone has these high hopes for me and I just keep failing.
Then of course this fuels paranoia, low self-esteem and other possible mental illnesses. Trust me, depression really is a dark hole.
The road to recovery was more surprising than difficult. It all started with my therapy and as we worked on processing the traumas and the thoughts that went with them, my negative outlook began to fade and I became more positive. After a while I realised it is easier to be positive than to be negative. Being negative actually uses up so much more of your energy and everything seems to just flow nicely when you’re in a positive mindset.
If you feel like therapy isn’t for you just yet then there are a few ways you can work through depression or feelings of hopelessness:
- Use your support network. Take note of those people who are good for you and those who probably aren’t the best suited for your current situation. Use the people that are good for you. It can be anyone that you trust (my dog was always my go to during my depression).
- Take care of yourself (SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT AND IT IS NOT BORING OR SELFISH, simple).
- Find what is good for you. Similar to your support network, somethings may benefit you and somethings probably won’t. I relied on alcohol through most of my depression which did absolutely nothing beneficial for me. However, activities such as walking, writing or being with my horse provided me with many benefits.
- Challenge those negative thoughts. Depression causes a constant run of negative thoughts through our heads. Pause them and challenge them. What is the evidence for these thoughts.
- Imagine a future. The future can be as big or as small as you can make it. When I was depressed the image of my future was literally me as an old lady smiling but I believe that was enough to help drive me to change.
Of course I have my days where sometimes my negativity gets the better of me. This is usually on the days where I require an extra dose of self-care. On these days I usually like to be left on my own (I try and distance myself from other peoples negativity when I’m not feeling as positive myself) so I’ll take myself for a walk, even lock myself in my room for a few hours or take a long shower, just doing something that doesn’t require me to explain, discuss or talk with people helps me to recharge my mind.
You can’t rush through depression, you take as small of a step as you can and work your way up. Getting through depression is not a quick fix and please don’t think that you ‘should’ be over it. Take your time, seek the right people to help you, challenge those thoughts and look towards your future.
Take care of yourselves,
Sending my love,