“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”— Desmond Tutu
Hope helps in the healing of depression.
But how can we draw on hope during depression’s darkness?
First, realize you are not your disease. You are fearfully and wonderfully made—you have a brain disease. Many physical diseases can be seen. But a brain illness is only identified by its symptoms. People afraid of what they can’t see.
A bit of hope is found when we realize that we are not our disease. We are a masterpiece of God who happens to have a disease.
“For you God created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” Ps 139: 13-14.
Take time to think on the wonders of your creation. Yes, you have a brain illness, but we live in a broken world and that world encroaches on all of us. It may be cancer, diabetes, bi-polar. But we are not cancer. We are not a person of diabetes, we are not bipolar. We are precious individuals who may have cancer, who may have diabetes, or who may suffer from bipolar.
You and your mental illness are different. Realize you are not your disease.
Second, sometimes we can’t carry hope for ourselves. Let others, friends and family, carry the possibility for hope for you. “Carry each others burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:2. Let others help you carry the hope of remission for you. Let others help you have the imagination to see what things will be like when you are better. Let others believe in you.
But be careful as they carry hope for you that you don’t become defensive. No, others do not understand the pain you carry. But remember that the your pain of depression is not seeing life correctly either. Allow them to shine the light of hope in moments of darkness.
No one can fully understand and empathy for others is a wonderful gift. But so is the gift of your friends to see you as whole and heal. Do not discount them too quickly.
Thirdly, burdens shared are halved, and joys shared doubled. Finding a peer group of friends who have and who are traveling companions can be an encouragement. You will hear bits of hope from their journey. Words that are like sweetness for the soul.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
As you share your hurts, they identify with you, and will have suggestions for this part of your journey. Some of their suggestions may not work for you but it give you hope that there are things that may hep you manage your symptoms better.
Finally, you may find both relief and hope in your spiritual practices. For exampled, listening prayer was crucial for my finding relief occasional relief. Other practices may include, walking while focusing on uplifting music, reading spiritual materials like your Bible, or being with upbeat people of faith and understanding.
There is light for the darkness. That light is hope.