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Wednesday 6 April 2011

Having Hope

Every day I wake up with fresh hope that today will be better.  I will read and write and make good use of my time.  Of course, most evenings I am struggling to continue.  But the magic of a new day arrives and I try again.  I mean, how hard can it be?  Everyone else manages to cope.  So I wake up with the belief that today will be a good day; today I'll be productive and happy and nothing will get in the way of that.  I have to face every day with this attitude as otherwise everything becomes too much for me to bear.  In this way, I deal with the depression when it comes each evening, but I only deal with one day's worth, not an accumulation.  I don't think I could cope if every day I woke up I had to deal with all that came before it as well.
This is an extract of what I wrote in my freewriting yesterday morning.  I continued like this for fifteen minutes (ie, until my arm ached).  I am not sharing this with you for you to feel sorry for me or to be shocked at how optimistic I can be.  I am sharing it with you so you can understand how I live my life - day to day, moment to moment.  This is what it is like for me every morning.  When I wake up I have to have this mindset, or I would sink into depression.  As someone who has been there, done that, let me tell you that it is not fun and not a mental place I ever want to be in again.

I can't vouch for everyone else living with M.E. and the multitude of other chronic illnesses and disabilities, but this is how I cope.  I don't feel brave.  I don't feel strong.  When I am crying my soul out on my boyfriend's shoulder every night I feel like a failure (in fact, I believe he is the strong one for dealing with it).  But every morning I have to believe that today will be better, today I won't be in excruciating pain and exhaustion by the end of the day.  I have to believe because I don't have any other option.  Okay, I know I do have an option.  But which would you choose - to feel the worst you've ever felt times ten, permenantly; or to feel capable for a few hours each day?  Because that is the choice I'm faced with.  And, as I've said, I've tried the first one.  Now I would do almost anything to stop myself going there again.  So I choose to try.  Because I must.  Because I have to hope.

I even wrote about that yesterday as well:
 I have given up in the past but at some point I always try again.  It is the only logical way I can see to move forward in life.  Going backwards or standing still is not an option for me.  I have to have hope that I can change things and that change will happen.  Without that hope I have nothing.  That may seem like an exaggeration but for someone with depression it is not.  Depression sucks out everything about you and you become a shell, sinking deeper and further away from everything you had.

I just wanted to share this with you today to help you understand.  Please feel free to ask questions and I'll be happy to answer them.


February Grace said...

Bethany, you might not feel that way but you are brave and strong- that is clear in your writing here, and this post is a blessing to me personally.

Just a few days ago one of my dearest friends said to me that they wished, above all else, they could give me hope. There are times when it seems hope is unrealistic, but you're right, it is something that we all have to have and especially anyone who deals with chronic illness and pain which I maintain would make anyone tend to get depressed after awhile (by that I mean we're not weak when it happens, it would happen to the strongest of souls in our shoes.)

Anyway, this is a very meaningful post, and I thank you for it.

I hope your hours of hope tomorrow are wonderful ones and over time, they keep extending until they cover more of your day than the sadness does.


dominique said...

Bethany - I agree. I think it takes a person with a steel spine in order to endure day in and day out of pain. I think it also takes a certain level of maturity to understand that everything we do is a choice. In order to survive our chronic illness we have to find ways to cope. You are doing that.

I also think you should be commended for allowing yourself to grieve or to cry when it all becomes to much at the end of the day.

I think the greatest and most important thing you said is that you take one day at a time because that is all you can deal with. Absolutely true. My Gosh! I cannot imagine of dealing with days of ME! I would become so overwhelmed I think I would just give up. :-)

I would only leave this with you. I have had to redefine the word happiness. So many peole see it as joyful, excited, laughing kind of thing. But I realized that I never, or rarely felt that.

For me I think true happiness is when we can find a way to come to peace with the circumstances we find ourselves in and get the most out of them and let the rest go.

Having a chronic illness means that we don't get to drive the car all the time. But it doesn't mean that we have to completely let go of the wheel! ;-)

I'm so glad you are writing and sharing. ((((hugs))))

Unknown said...

Bru - your comment made me well-up, it was so thoughtfully written. Thank you for your hopes for me and I extend them to you and everyone dealing with chronic illness and pain.

Dominique - as always, your comment has felt like a blessing to me. I couldn't agree more with what you've said about redefining happiness, and I would definitely agree with your description 'I think true happiness is when we can find a way to come to peace with the circumstances we find ourselves in'. This is how I feel aswell, though I never would have been able to put it as adequately as you have.