A Little Hope and Encouragement for Hard Times


“If your path demands you to walk through hell, walk as though you own the place.” ~Unknown

Trigger warning: This content contains references to self-harm and suicide.

It was in the spring semester during graduate school. I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment and working nearly full-time hours at night.

The anti-depressants weren’t working so well. I was keeping up with my therapist, but I suppose it was too much.

I felt too much. It hurt so much and couldn’t handle it. You could list out the symptoms of depression, and I had them all.

Unable to deal with the stress of college, broken relationships, or other life events, any added stressor seemed unbearable. I cried a lot, had terrible neck pain, and even failed one of my classes.

I’d hurt myself more with wild hope that the physical pain would outweigh the emotional. It was a low point at the bottom of the pendulum swing.

When I began to feel like eternal sleep was the only peace in sight, I turned myself in by telling my therapist exactly what I was planning to do. They wasted no time and had me in safe hands quickly.

That was the second time I went to the mental hospital within a year. I stayed in my room mostly and cried a lot, but the staff were kind and helpful.

My psychiatrist was concerned about the underlying cause. He eventually landed on clinical depression and general anxiety disorder. After a three-day stay and medication adjustment, I was released.

Over the next while, I did well enough. Eventually finishing my graduate degree had a positive effect on my chronic migraines.

I’d had multiple treatments to ease the headaches. Once a migraine attack lasted for two weeks. When they suddenly eased, my doctor basically shrugged and attributed them to stress.

About a year later, I had a new therapist and psychiatrist. Finally, I was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, general anxiety disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

It explained why I had been through so many medication adjustments, the bouts of insomnia, and the frequent mood swings. I believe that simply having some answers helped.

My medication was adjusted again, and I began to feel much better. There was no more self-harming, and I grew my support group. I am with the same therapist and on the same medication several years later.

During all of this, I changed jobs twice, lost a mentor to COVID, and moved to a new house. There were also things going on in my family that were out of my control.

What was obvious was that I was able to cope with life events much better than before. I learned to adopt a lot of tools to help combat old habits.

For example, instead of freaking out over a situation, I could take a moment and meditate if able. I was able to considerably lower my stress and anxiety this way.

Instead of isolating after a rejection, I could seek out a close friend to talk to or go out with. To help me stop thinking negative thoughts about myself, I’d write positive things on sticky notes and place them around the house. Like:

“You have a good work ethic.”

“You are a loyal friend.”

“You have a beautiful smile.”

Yes, they felt like lies after listening to self-hatred for so long, but perseverance made the difference.

At some point, I had a moment. A realization.

Sometimes we go through things and feel like we don’t have the strength to make it through.

“This is how I go out,” was often a phrase I’ve uttered to myself in defeat. It’s easy to focus on the negative and let ourselves be overwhelmed. That’s why reflection is so important.

The beauty of it is that if we can push through, the current struggle will shrink behind us like a bend in the road.

Everything we endure serves to make us stronger and much more fit to face the next challenge.

Currently, I’m experiencing some things that would have crushed the old me. Obstacles I’ve never faced before. People have repeatedly asked if I am all right.

“I will be,” is a favorite response of mine. It signifies faith and the belief that things are not static. Things always change.

Sure, I get sad sometimes, but giving up is out of the question. I’m constantly reminded of the saying:

“I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” ~Matthew Reilly

Hope is a beacon I keep burning in my soul. I feed it daily, and it illuminates an otherwise deep darkness.

I had to go through all of that to be strong enough for right now. All of this—the waiting, the sleepless nights, the hard work—it’s all going to be another bend in the road. A story to share. It’s muscle to climb the next hill.

I guess you could say I’m owning this struggle. Walking through ‘hell’ like I own the place.

When new stressors and worries come up, I put them in the pile of things I can’t do anything about. If so-called obligations arise, I am at liberty to decline for my peace of mind.

When good news comes around, it’s a glimmer of light. Daylight piercing through the other end of my dark tunnel.

It combines with the light of hope inside and urges me onward and upward. I’m expectantly moving toward it and looking for the next stage in my journey.

As a final thought, those tough experiences made it possible for me to help and encourage people today.

There were times that I thought no good could possibly come from the pain. Looking back though, I feel only gratitude. I’m grateful for myself for persevering, for the professionals that helped me, and for my support people that listened.

If you are facing something difficult, own it in the knowledge that you will get through it. One day you will look back on it and smile.

Live it.

Feel it.

Own it.

Overcome it.

Source link

Share this article

Recent posts

Popular categories


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent comments

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons