Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hope When Hopeless

This morning I woke up exhausted, as usual. Actually I wake up every morning feeling exhausted and so drained of life I feel like a zombie from “The Walking Dead.” Coffee is of no help and rarely is laying back down for another five hours. I just have to live with it. Many parts of a chronic illness a person has to “just live with” because there isn’t a magic potion or lotion to fix it. As you maybe can either relate or imagine, feeling like crap all the time with few answers from the medical field besides “we don’t have a magic pill for that” or “scale back your life”, it can really wear on the spirit. Hope can go down the toilet after a week of constant bombardment from Lupus and fear can crush it in an instant or cultivate it over time. Gaining ground when all hope is lost is like recovering from addiction, one has to realize they have lost all hope and realize they are the only one who can allow themselves to regain hope.

I can’t say I’m great at finding hope, sometimes I down right suck at it and that’s okay. If I had a large amount of hope and positive feelings every single day, I think I would check myself into a mental institution. Or if I found someone with so much vigor and hope for living, I would find out what they are taking with breakfast! Hope is a personal decision but can be “given” in small amounts from another person. Whether one chooses to accept and recognize the hope is up to them. A giver of hope can only do so much for the hopeless who chooses not to open up and accept it. Hope is abundant in this world, though it can be hard to recognize where the hope is. Once upon a time I did have my doors shut to hope, I wasn’t sure how or where to find it and life was far more difficult for me. The simple little things in life give me hope. Sometimes it is a small compliment from a complete stranger or seeing a person simply smiling as they walk around campus. It is amazing how many people do not smile. I do not tie my hopes to finding a cure or new break through treatment, for if I did my hope would be under more strain than it already is.

From several people I have been told I am a “giver of hope.” This paints a picture in my head of me dressed up as the Easter Bunny skipping around the neighborhood throwing jelly beans and chocolate eggs at people (nicely.) Admittedly I am a horrible pitcher, so this would never really happen, the idea will stay up in my head where it belongs. Honestly I don’t really set out every single day to run around giving other people hope, it just comes naturally with me. Part of it is I have regained my hope and things do rub off onto other people. Plus if I didn’t have my own personal hope, I would have nothing to give to another person. It would be the blind leading the blind. How I give hope really depends on the person whom receives it. Sometimes my hope giving can be a very physical thing, like sitting down with someone and sharing information about life, myself, not being alone in this world with chronic illness, being a person to confide with. Sometimes even just knowing there is another person out there who understands can give me a great amount of hope. Most of the time though, I do pretty much nothing except for just go through my day as best I can. Not shutting myself off to the world. Closing doors closes hope and snuffs it out.

What about when one just can’t stand life anymore, has fought a good (long) battle and their hope has ceased to exist? It’s okay to let go. I know I have just sat myself in front of a firing squad for saying that, but it is true. We had no say in coming into this world but we do have a say as to when we can leave. A person can only fight for so long, hope can for a few be never ending but for many it goes away, especially those who are chronically ill/chronic pain and have very few options in sight. I realize humans are not like pets, but I am going to use this example anyways. If one had a dog and it was diagnosed with a chronic painful condition that would persist and make the animal miserable, one would make the decision to put the dog down. Humans aren’t put down for many reasons but at the same time for some it can be a little too much to ask to spend the rest of their life in chronic illness/pain. I don’t view a choice death as a sign of weakness or of succumbing to the feeling of hopelessness. It is in this case not. In some places there just isn’t any hope to be found. With the end actually being the ultimate gift and hope for the person.

In this world surrounded by hope, I wish you all an abundant amount. If you are lacking it, open up the windows and doors to your spirit. It will do no harm, but as I personally found really helped. A gift of hope doesn’t have to be anything fancy or even said. Sometimes just knowing is enough.