Finding Hope and Joy When You’re Feeling Hopeless
Can I just tell you that having lupus can really take it out of you? Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Over the past few weeks I have run the gamut. There is not just an emotional toll for me. I am in a very new place (in so many ways) that the emotional side of things are heightened. I had to ask myself “How can you cultivate hope when things look bleak?” In many ways, being happy is about having hope for the future.
Feeling like there is no hope is one of the most challenging emotions to manage. After all, why would someone even try if he believes there is no hope, and correspondingly, no possibility for things to improve? Spending time in the hospital and relying on people I’ve not known a full year, has left me feeling a bit hopeless. My spirit was starting to tank, but I had to rally .
Finding hope when it seems like there’s none to be found can be tricky, but it is possible.
It’s important to remember that no matter how hopeless things appear, there’s always the opportunity for things to get better. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, things can change. This is something that is true no matter who you are or where you are. The only real constant in life is change, and things often get better if we put our focus in the right place.
All of us have challenges at times, and we all have moments where there doesn’t appear to be a way out. Yet, everyone who doesn’t give up seems to come out of his or her struggles okay.
When you’re feeling down, try these strategies to help bring back hope:
Consider all the miraculous things you’ve done in your life. You probably have learned how to walk, talk and maybe even how to drive. Perhaps you’ve graduated from high school or college. If you’re like me, you had children of your own, and they managed to make it in spite of the manual we didn’t get when they arrived. That alone is a miracle; I know for me it was. We take things for granted that are truly something special. Remember these things when you are feeling down. These are not minor things by any stretch of the imagination. You reared a real person!
So, regardless of what you’re facing, remember your earlier miracles. Know you’re entirely capable of working through it. For humans, the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.
Absorb optimism. Surely you’ve come across people who persistently see the bright side of things. They’re the ones who could stand in the middle of the worst thunderstorm ever and say “I think it’s starting to clear up.” I am guilty of this, I consider myself a joy junkie. I do get down, but I try not to permeate the earth with my negativity when those days come. I do my best to see the best in all situations, even with lupus. I see a need for awareness, and am extremely transparent, and quite vocal with regard to how it affects me, my friends, family and my day-to-day life. Finding the “silver lining” in something that is causing me a ton of pain means I’m either a joy junkie or a great candidate for a straight jacket. (I’m going to choose joy junkie.)
My advice is to look for these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they may have a perspective that can really give you a push in the right direction.
Think of activities that might inspire you. Use every tool at your disposal. Faith could be a source of inspiration. Simple joys, like watching children play on the playground, might bring you the spark you seek. Here in Thailand, there are tons of flowers everywhere. I take very slow walks and take pictures of these flowers. I never would have thought I’d find pleasure in flowers, but they make me happy. Maybe reading books that chronicle the triumphs of others, or funny videos that make you laugh, could serve as hope.
If you want to find hope in your life, you always can. Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you’ll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always ways through them. My wish for you is that you, too, will become a joy junkie.
Life deals us some pretty hard blows, and we often are surrounded by negativity. Being the one in the middle of all of that looking up, you see some pretty amazing things happening. Look up! Life is good, even with its challenges.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.