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Finding Hope Again When All Seems Lost

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hope

verb \ˈhōp\

: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

Hope is one of the biggest things that is lost to people dealing with depression (or depressive cycles in bipolar disorder).  It’s not that they don’t want things to happen, they just don’t have the belief that things will actually happen and they don’t believe that they can actually do anything to help get to the things that are important to them.  It’s like there is a huge wall between you and the goals that you have in life that is too high to get over and to wide to get through.  I know this has been true for me during my depressive cycles.  I have goals and aspirations galore but I have no trust in my ability to do anything to get to them. It feels like my faith has been drained away from me and no matter what I do it is just not possible to get to things that I want to have happen. This feeling of hopelessness prevents me from being able to escape the depression and the depression feeds the hopelessness.  It’s a vicious cycle but it is one that can be broken with some effort.

hope

“To live without Hope is to Cease to live.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

 

How can you regain hope when you feel like nothing you do is going to work?  I think a good start is to make a list of all of the things that you have already successfully accomplished in your life.  It may not be long when you first sit down to do it but if you write down things as they come to you, over time you will see that accomplishing things that you want in life is not impossible.  Anything that you are proud of can be included in this list. You can include small things like painting the walls in your bedroom to large things like buying your first brand new car.  My own personal list includes things like  graduating college, raising my son to be a good man, and seeking treatment for my bipolar disorder.  I am very proud of these accomplishments. They make me feel more confident in my abilities.  My list is not long right now because hope and faith are something I am still rebuilding but with each item I add to my list I see more and more that nothing is truly impossible if I am willing to work for it.

hope 2

“As long as you’re breathing, there’s still hope.”

Carolee Dean, Take Me There

 

Something that goes along with making a list of things you have already accomplished is making a second list of the things that you want to achieve.  This is the same as making your Bucket List.  Once again, include the small things like getting the pet you’ve always wanted and large things like buying your first home.  Be specific.  Don’t just say travel.  List the places where you want to go.  After you have this list, pick one and determine the steps you can take to get there.  Make sure they are manageable steps for you.  The last thing you want to do is to become buried in the details.  One of the big things I really want to do is to have the opportunity to travel.  There are so many places I want to see.  Since I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the task of getting to every place I want to go, I can pick one and work to get there. For example, I would really like to go to Japan.  Some of the steps I can take to accomplish this are things like checking out the cost associated with being able to go to Japan, setting up an automatic deposit to my savings account that is specifically for the trip and determining how long I will have to save up until I can go.   These are all manageable steps for me that will help me feel like I am getting closer to actually going there.  As I accomplish each smaller task, I will feel like I am getting closer to one of my dreams.  The hardest part may be taking that first step but once you do that it I believe it can help add to the idea that these things are still in the realm of possibility.

hope 3

“Hope anchors the soul”

Hebrews 6:19

 

For some, getting in touch with their faith may help them to regain the hope that they have lost. Hearing that God still has faith in you can be very inspirational and may give you the courage to carry on.  It’s also helpful to believe that there is a positive force out there rooting for you to experience happiness.  I recently returned to my church in an effort to jumpstart my spirituality.  I’m really not particularly religious but I have always been a spiritual person.  I lost my spirituality during my struggle with managing my bipolar disorder.  It felt like there was this large hole that it left behind for me but it’s hard to believe that there is any benevolence in the universe when all you see is pain and conflict in your life.  The messages I have received in the past couple of weeks have helped me to remember that there is a bright side to the universe that wants to help me be successful in my endeavors.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson

 

Surrounding yourself with positive people and things can also help to restore the hope you once had.  Negativity only helps to feed hopelessness and despair.  Surrounding yourself with positivity can not only relieve depression it can feed that little seed of hope that you still have inside you.  Sometimes though this is where the “fake it until you make it” idea comes in.  I definitely had to do this.  When I decided to get treatment for my bipolar disorder, I was surrounded by positive people everyday.  At first I found it entirely annoying because I  was still absolutely miserable inside.  I would smile and return greetings to people even though that was the last thing I was interested in doing. The more I did it though, the less fake it became.  Pretty soon (when everything was being better managed), it didn’t feel fake or forced anymore.  Though it was tough to do it at the start, it was something that helped to start to restore a little hope in me because of all the positive feedback I received from the people who I was interacting with everyday.

hope 4

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

Martin Luther

 

Hope can be difficult to regain when everything seems to be working against you.  Sometimes it seems like there is nothing that can be done to get to the things we want.  But the opportunity is there if you can reach for it.  I’ve always believed that the energy you put out to the universe is what you get back from it.  Changing your point of view from one of hopelessness to one of hopefulness is a process just like so many other things.  It takes time but it is worth all the effort in the end.

don't give up

What have you done to regain your feelings of hope?  Or how do you maintain your hopefulness when you are surrounded by negativity?

 

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Author: mschristopher13

I am the author of the Change Your World Practice at http://changeyourworldpractice.org/. I am also a wife, mother and sister (I'm one of six children). My strongest desire is to help others live their best lives and I am hoping that by writing about the practices that help me be my best self that I can help others do the same.

50 thoughts on “Finding Hope Again When All Seems Lost

  1. I like the idea of making a list of things you have accomplished, as well as reaching out to friends and family. It is good to have a support system!

  2. Hope is very important! I never thought of going through a list of your accomplishments to help you get out of a funk. That is a great idea 🙂

  3. Beautiful post. I love all the quotes! I would have quit trying concerning my blogs, FB page and website if I did not have hope and good quotes. Thanks for adding to my quote collection. Sorry to hear about your disease. My neighbors grand daughter also suffers from bi-polar. Please know that all who do are in my prayers. Keep your quotes, good friends and faith nearby, always.

  4. I have so much hope in me, that it helps me breathe.. Without hope i have nothing..

  5. Very true.. I love the idea of writing down what you have accomplished. Often times the past can be overshadowed with current feelings… if that makes sense.

  6. Hope is one of those things that can be hard to find and fleeting. Holding on to it for a long time is nigh impossible.

  7. Great post,Thank you for sharing.Hope is something everyone needs.Without hope what is there?.

  8. I use TM- transcendental meditation. I also teach it to my patients with mood disorders. It works so well.

  9. I love that you don’t just give random advice but actually step by step ways to make things better. I was hopeless the first few months that I began to take care of my mom so I decided to start writing. It not only served to educate me on Alzheimer’s but gave me something as an individual that I desperately needed at the time.

  10. Making the lists is a great idea. I tend to focus on the negative and forget all I’ve accomplished.

  11. Hope is such a great and strong word. I wish more people had more of it.

  12. Great post! Hope can be both a powerfully wonderful or stressful thing. Making a list of accomplishments is a great idea.

  13. I think seeing your accomplishments n writing in front of you can be really helpful!

  14. This is a beautiful post. A good support system is key for me!

  15. I love this blog post. I start every day out hoping for an amazing day. Love all the quotes you posted, very inspiring.

  16. It’s always great to have supportive group around you. Like the idea of making a list of accomplishments.

  17. I agree with Nicole! If you don’t have a positive group of people around you it is easier to get stuck in the negative downward spiral!

  18. This was a great post. I often feel as if my life has been nothing but the wrong choices. I missed out on a lot of things in life and even though we are not supposed to, I do have some regrets. I am trying to live a better life, but I constantly have those feelings of no worth and wondering why I am even here. I am going to bookmark this because I feel it is a topic worth writing about on my writing site.

  19. During my divorce and then after a traumatic breakup, I remember being so miserable & hoping that eventually, it would all work out. That kept me going. This post reminded me of those times & really made me feel warm, knowing that so many others are holding on to their hope & finding ways to keep moving forward. Excellent post & suggestions. Can’t wait to read more from this blog.

  20. Making a list of things you’ve accomplished is a great way to keep up the hope! A lot of people lose sight of the big picture and only see the disappointments of right now, and not all the great things that have happened. A friend of mine have recently lost his mother and he is not in a good place, I regularly remind him that he has a young son and it’s his job as a father to instill in his son what his mother had taught him and her memory will always live on.

  21. Thank you for this. Even just the quotes alone made my day! And Nicole and Carly are right – surrounding yourself with positivity is the way to go!

  22. I love these quotes about hope! Nicole and Carly are right, negative people just bring you down. I only surround myself with positive people!

  23. I love all of your post and suggestions. Yes, that is extremely hard to deal with.

  24. Being positive is so crucial to your health. This is very helpful and definitely inspirational. Thank you!

  25. When I lose hope – all I have to do is look at my two kids. They re-inspire my faith in hope and the world!

  26. My kids and husband give me hope. I also trust God’s Plan for our life 🙂

  27. During my layoff last summer, I had to find hope – quickly. I had roughly 4(ish) months before the “transitional” (not severance) pay would run out and with a toddler, I just couldn’t uproot his life and happiness. I remained positive (though I had a few down days) and had such a great support system with my husband, family and friends.

  28. You listed many important facts, but surrounding yourself with positive people is my favorite. The quotes are so inspiring and I enjoyed reading them.

  29. Thank you for the positive message.

  30. Hope is really important. I love the list idea. I would never have thought of that 🙂

  31. This truly inspired me because I am at a point in my life where I feel I need to reevaluate myself. I am going to make my list tonight.

  32. It’s hard but I try to keep my self focused and positive, The only time I felt really hopeless was when my mom past away I felt hopeless and my faith left me, it took me a while to slowly push the pain aside and understand it’s not about hope of faith, but about enjoying every minute as much as you can

  33. Hope is very important in our life, because without hope you will end up a failure, when i was at my collage i lose hope it because of our thesis, but the word do not give up and don’t lose hope that our friends and family told us keep us going.

  34. Wow! I really love your post! I learned many things from this. You know what? It’s really easy to be hopeful and faithful when it’s bright and shiny out there. It’s easy to be hopeful when things go your way. But when things become difficult and even impossible, it seems the flame of hope is easily extinguished. I know this is true and I’m sure that everyone can relate. But if you already have an unshakeable faith and hope anchored upon something that is bigger than this life, I’m sure, that you just made a great change in your life. 🙂

  35. It’s present in every one of us — the human characteristic called “hope” that, at high enough levels, helps you move beyond fear and circumvent despair. And by developing your ability to hope you can achieve a greater sense of happiness, contentment, and success.

  36. I love that Hebrews 6:19 verse. My hope is found in the Lord. When things are going on the direction I don’t want to, knowing God is in control of everything, it gives me hope that something good is coming my way or waiting at the end of the trials. God is loving and whatever He does is for His glory and for my good but I just have to find out what is that good thing He wants me to have. Sometimes I find it out at the end, the waiting gives me anxiety but the Hope gives me joy and it keeps me going.

  37. I just know that each day brings new challenges and celebrations. I try to know that I can try again tomorrow to bring hope!

  38. I am a huge believer in surrounding yourself with positive people. Although it’s been difficult in some cases, I have had to limit contact with certain people in my life that are always negative.

  39. Love your post, Michelle.
    Beautifully written and with care. Important, too, you gave options, small practical steps that could be used to grow yourself with hope.

  40. I like cutting out the negative people. I did that 3 years ago and feel so much happier and healthier!

  41. Actually I meditate. Meditation helps me clear any negativity in my life by filling myself with the positive white light. I have cycles of depression too so I know what it is like. Great post. Very Inspirational.

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