Choosing Hope (Even when my mind says no)
Hi, this is my first post as hopeful_24. A little background on me: I’ve been dealing with mental illness for 8 years now. I was 16 when I got my first diagnosis and now at the age of 24 I have been through the wringer with diagnoses and currently we are at treatment-resistant depression. Even the name is foreboding. If it’s treatment-resistant how do I get help? Well I’ve trialled medication after medication, therapy (any techniques you name it CBT, DBT, narrative, ACT etc) and as a last resort ECT. Some remedies showed promise but after a while plateaued and I was left with my nemesis depression and anxiety. I survived a serious attempt on my life in 2019 and have had multiple hospital admissions. But this is not what. Want to be remembered for. I chose the username hopeful because even after what seemed like futile attempts to recover, panic attacks and tears that could fuel Niagara Falls I continue to live. I realised that I didn’t actually want to die, I just wanted the pain to stop and I know a lot of people can relate to this sentiment. Unfortunately mental illness is chronic and not something that will go away for most of us.
I spoke to my psychologist about the Greek myth of King Sisyphus, who, for his treachery was punished by Zeus and doomed for the rest of his life to roll a boulder up hill. Every time it nearly reached the top, it would roll back down and he would have to roll it up again. I thought it was a great allegory to what being mentally I’ll felt like. Over 8 years, I’ve rolled my boulder only to watch it roll back down leaving me in the same hell. It’s soul crushing and I don’t think anyone without lived experience would understand how devastating it is.
well I’ve been trying something new. Rather than rolling the boulder up I’m allowing it to be next to me. We coexist in the same timeline. I don’t like it nor do I want it but there is something freeing about just accepting it’s presence. It doesn’t have to be the main guest or even the host. It just…is. Once I accept that, I don’t have the responsibility of rolling it up each time. Instead I can focus on the more meaningful aspects of my life like the support from my family, psychologist, psychiatrist and friends.
I’m in a really bad place right now (I just came out of a month long admission in hospital) but I remind myself that the only expectations I’m required to live up to are my own. I currently don’t work or have a stable income and a graduated from uni a year ago so the voice that whispers “you’re truly worthless” rears it’s ugly head viciously. I see I’m far behind my peers who have graduated, gotten jobs, moved out. Then I remember, time is a social construct and everyone has their own unique timeline. Mine happens to differ from my friends but that does not invalidate me. I forget this sometimes because negative self talk is something I’ve dealt with since I was a child.
this time however, I’m calling 2022 my ‘doing year’ and that can mean anything I want it to. I’ve recently started a volunteer support worker role with Red Cross because even through the darkness I want my experiences to mean something and pay it forward. It may or may not resonate with you but if it does please, please hold on to that nugget that tell you life is worth living and you don’t have to justify your existence to anyone! This is something I’m still learning but I’m hoping that by connecting with others on here we can be that voice of hope for each other when we find it difficult to do it on our own. That’s why I’m hopeful(_24) because it’s always darkest before the dawn and your dawn will come.
“Life is a winking light in the darkness”
- Hayao Miyazaki