Hope - the Foundation of Mental Health Recovery
Mental health recovery is an exercise in hope. Hope—the earnest expectation of coming good. Hope is indispensable to our recovery. Hope can help us move away from the terror of defeat and despondency. It's not an abstract idea that makes no real difference in our recovery. It’s the cornerstone upon which the entire recovery foundation is built. There can be no recovery without hope.
Despair on the other hand, is a hellish pit we can find ourselves in if we are not careful.
When a person experiences despair, all hope is lost. The positive attitude is gone. The good self-talk disappears. The despairing person feels like nothing matters. It’s nearly impossible to convince this poor soul hope is possible again.
Recovery is Hard Work and Needs Hope
The truth is, recovery is hard work. I have to eat right, sleep right, think right, talk right, take my meds right, exercise right, keep all my doctor appointments, and educate myself and others about my illness. I have to avoid any and all things that would get in the way of my recovery. Worst of all, there’s no guarantee these things will make me feel better. Recovery is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, commitment and yes, an abundance of hope.
Relapse and Failure in Mental Health Recovery
But what happens when we do everything right in recovery and it just doesn’t seem to be helping? This is a perilous place to find yourself in. After all, you’ve done everything that all the experts said to do. You have worked very hard, but somehow your recovery has turned into relapse. You’re discouraged and angry. This is when despair can set in.
It’s hard to believe and accept you can recover again. Perhaps the biggest question we might ask ourselves is why? Why should I continue on this road to recovery when I’ve already experienced that it doesn’t always work the way I need it to?
Hope says, “I believe there’s a treatment out there for me. I believe if I don’t give up, there’s a good chance I will feel better in the future.”
Despair says, “I will not make it. There’s no point. Life is horrible and it will never be anything else.”
If today you find yourself despairing and hopeless, I wish to offer some hope. I’ve been dealing with this illness for over 20 years. I’ve seen some amazing victories and some horrific defeats. I’ve embraced hope, and I’ve embraced despair to the point of a suicide attempt. Twenty years and I only recently found the correct medication at the correct dose to treat my depression.
Hope Promises a Future Reward
The wonderful thing about hope is that it promises a future reward. What do you need to be rewarded with? Love? Acceptance? Understanding? A reduction of your pain? These things do exist, though, you may not have experienced them yet. You will never experience these wonderful aspects of life if you give in to despair.
If you’ve fallen into despair, please communicate this with someone you trust. Don’t wait until your next therapy appointment. It’s literally a matter of life and death. You must understand that there are many people who really do care about you and your situation. Find them. They do exist. Don’t wait for them to find you.
The fact that you are reading this article probably shows you still have a glimmer of hope left. Sometimes, a little spark is all you need to start a huge fire.
Ehrmantrout, M. (2014, May 28). Hope - the Foundation of Mental Health Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2014/05/hope-the-foundation-of-mental-health-recovery