“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The Shawshank Redemption
I want to talk about the power of hope. Many symptom lists for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and depression in general, feature “feelings of hopelessness.” And, wow, did I check this box! I felt I could never get better, that I could never find a way out of this hole; the walls were simply too steep and slippery and I would never get a foothold.
I thought I understood the concept of people losing hope before 2013 but I really didn’t have a clue. Feeling hopeless is truly terrifying. Not in a horror movie kind of way, or the fear you feel when you wake up from a nightmare, but a deep, core-shaking, all-consuming terror that leaves you breathless and scratching for a way out of your own mind just so you don’t have to be afraid anymore. It can often be the feeling most linked to suicidal thoughts, it certainly was for me. And those thoughts then triggered other “intrusive thoughts”, which were so horrible I felt more hopeless and so the cycle continued.
Although at the time I thought I had given up all hope – how could I be having these dark thoughts if I had any optimism left in me? But, frankly, I hadn’t given up, because if I had I simply wouldn’t be here. Somewhere deep down there was a part of me that believed I could climb out, I believed there was someone, or something, somewhere that could help me to feel better. There simply had to be. Looking at my son was upsetting but at the same time I kept telling myself that when all this is over I will be around to enjoy him and life will be good again.
And it is.
Hope is the most powerful emotion in the entire human spectrum, because it is always there. No matter how bad you feel or how difficult life is there is always that wonderful, magical chance that everything will be okay. Sometimes you can grab hope freely and other times it’s buried so deep you can hardly see it or feel it anymore, but it’s still there, it’s always there. Believing in hope, in whatever form it takes for you, brings you some of it’s strength and power. And when you’re hopeful you can do anything, including recover from PND.
Hope saved me, it will save you too.