Wednesday 22 February 2023

Where There's Hope There's Life

But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again. (Anne Frank)

I wanted to write something that might inspire hope, but things kept getting in the way.

I wanted to write about how it feels as a “well one” — carer to my best friend who lives with bipolar disorder — to be accepted in the mental health community, but then some people rejected me cos I don’t have a diagnosis and only people with a diagnosis can understand.

I wanted to write about how much I learn from my friends about the realities of living with mental illness, but then sometimes it feels like I’m learning at their expense.

I took the letters of the word HOPE, and came up with loads of great words to write about. But it ended up sounding trite and contrived. No good at all. Not remotely hope inspiring.

I put it aside for a few days, waiting for inspiration. Another couple of false starts, a few hundred words written, changed, scrapped. I decided to let it go. I gave up. It was only a dumb writing prompt. Whatever I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. What was the point anyway?

But then I thought of all those people I know, and all those people I don’t know, who don’t have the luxury of putting things aside just cos it got hard or they don’t know what to do and why the hell bother anyway cos what’s the point nothing will ever be good enough.

People for whom hope isn’t a writing exercise or a dumb slogan or a way to impress others with their compassion. It’s a daily reality. It’s a daily slog. It’s a matter of life and death. Really, sometimes it is, and even when it isn’t it can feel that way and sometimes you can be so close to the edge of despair that the slightest thing, a hasty word from a friend who doesn’t get it or one more funny look or argument or maybe not even having someone there you can argue with can be almost too much but somehow you find a way through. Colouring books or virtual tea parties with friends online. Or reaching out to help someone else even though your pain isn’t any less than theirs. Or distraction. Or chocolate or meds or therapy or a blanket fort or a Skype call or just about anything, whatever it takes.

And then you do it all again tomorrow even though it’s hard and no one seems to understand except those few who do.

And you find, somewhere, somehow, a chink of light in the darkness and by living it, by simply being who you are, you share that little light on.

And that gives me hope. You give me hope.


Photo by Sebastian Herrmann at Unsplash.


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