Updated: Nov 10, 2020
People are strong; much stronger than they might seem and much, much stronger than they might feel.
I’ve come to the conclusion that its Hope that keeps me going.
When its been a long day at work the hope of home keeps me sane. When I’m in pain, the hope of relief from it helps me bear it. When the bank account is empty the hope of work keeps me motivated. Hope draws us through our experience, from the difficulties towards the better parts. Its not that my life is awful or anything –my life has ups and downs just like anyone else. When you train as a therapist you don’t have all the challenges of life removed in a surgical procedure!
What my job has taught me though, is that basically people are strong; much stronger than they might seem and much, much stronger than they might feel. I’ve witnessed people survive terrible things and come out the other side with greater insight and a deeper connection with their lives – When a person can tap into Hope (however small or tenuous) it pulls them through the darkest of times.
Hopelessness is a feature of depression. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps us moving forward.
I remember a film I saw once – I can’t remember what it was called or what it was about – I just remember that people were trapped underground and the escape route involved a swim under ice cold water through a submerged exit point. Some brave person (probably the hero) had gone ahead, swimming in the dark and had fixed a rope to the exit so that the others had a guide. No matter how scared the people were, they knew that as long as they kept moving along the rope, they would eventually escape. The rope was ‘a rope of hope’…. forgive the cheese.
In therapy we often write down people’s goals at the start of the work. In fact I don’t just use this in therapy I also use this idea in my personal life; I write down my own goals and hopes. When I seem to be getting lost in the complexities presented by life, these are like the fixed point at the end of the ‘rope of hope’; then I’m really glad I wrote them down.
It’s a good tip to remember – when you can think clearly enough: write down what you are hoping for – be your own hero and fix that point of escape. At other times (when you feel more like the scared people back in the cave who still have the dark and confusing swim ahead) you will have a rope to guide you.