When Hope Is Absent
TW: Suicidal ideation; hopelessness
Mass shootings. Pandemics and viral outbreaks. Climate change. War. Cruelty, inequity, killing. Our planet is dying, and so are we. This is the reality today. Compounded by the 24/7 news cycle and social media, it has led me to a feeling of hopelessness.
Really, what can I do in the face of mass destruction? How do I face a future that seemingly will not exist? What happens to my child, will he survive?
Over the past few months, these thoughts and feelings have been the underpinnings of my life. Why do anything at all?, I’ve thought. And even, Why be here?
Though I’ve learned from past experiences to not allow my thoughts to take me down the road of how to deliberately leave this life, I am still left with a feeling of hopelessness. Of what‘s the point?
As the feeling persisted, one night I reached a breaking point. Crying and desperate, I reached out to a coach I heard speaking about his own sense of hopelessness in the past. I needed some guidance, some reassurance, some reason to keep going.
Talking to him, it became apparent that something I say often is true. Only I can manage my thoughts and feelings. Only I can change my state.
But change requires action. Even if hopelessness is true for me right now, I can move. I can do one tiny thing to keep going. And though I may not be able to tackle all of the problems, I can do my part to help and to not hurt others.
Talking through this with Coach Sam, he helped me lay out the process for taking one small step, and taking it consistently. With purposeful movement, there is progress. And remembering to acknowledge myself for taking that step, because rewarding it feeds motivation to continue.
I don’t know the future. Maybe the worst will come. But I can do my best to make it better, rather than being stuck in a place of no hope. For me, for now, it’s what is true.