Letter – with more thoughts on the return of hope

29th of February 2020

Hi there.

So I was a day late. But I have a good reason. I was celebrating hopes return yesterday. Good company, good conversations and sushi. I even got a small present. But the return of hope is worth celebrating. Even if I still feel wary and uncertain about whether hope will last or not. It feels fragile and small and like it’s still taking root. But it’s there. In my chest. Alive and growing.

Last week, just before I left work, I talked to someone who informed me that a job, a real job, might be possible for me where I work now. Part time, but with the necessary accommodations and with a salary I can live on. Not lots of money, but enough. It’ll still be almost twice what I have now and I won’t be stuck in this in between place where my situation is always uncertain and where I get money from the government because I don’t have a job and everyone knows it’s temporary but no one knows how to help me move on to a job or education. It would be so much more stable for me. So much better. A lot of things would stop being uncertain. I would have an income. I would have work to get up to and know what my life looks like (work and finance wise) in six months. I haven’t had that ever.

The depression didn’t magic itself away. But part of the heavy cloud of darkness, and lack of a future and the complete hopelessness lifted. I felt lighter and happier and more like a real person again. I’ve felt less depressed. Not free of depression. Just less depressed. But there is nothing just about that. That is a big deal to me. The hopelessness has lasted two whole years. I stopped believing in anything resembling a future, and any conversation about any kind of future had me back in bed crying and thinking about suicide. Because I believed there was no future. And now there is the possibility of a future. It’s not like an open door. It’s more like light from a keyhole, promising a door is somewhere nearby. There is no guarantee this door is for me, that I’ll find it, that it will be opened for me. But after years in darkness with no way forward… I don’t even know what words to chose. I’ve been stumbling around for so long, with no direction and no goals. That light gives me something to head toward. All my stubbornness and fight, ambition and drive now has somewhere to go.

I don’t want to think about what the loss of this hope would do to me. I am trying to prepare for it. What if there is no door. What if it’s locked and I won’t be allowed through. So much could still go wrong. This hope feels too fragile. Or maybe I am too fragile. Would I survive losing this hope? Would I break if it doesn’t pan out? Maybe. There is a really good chance that would hit me hard and that I might not be able to come back from that. And I try to use the newfound energy to look for more options and be open to more options.

The greatest part of this is that it supports my own theory of my depression. I am not depressed because of some chemical imbalance in my brain. I am depressed because I am stuck in a bad situation and my brain is reacting very naturally. Telling me something is wrong. Medication cannot fix not having a future or being disconnected from people. What I needed was a future. And I couldn’t give myself that. But someone else could and they did and I feel so much better.
I am so tired of the way depression is approached by doctors and my family and systems that doesn’t understand this exact thing. Last year I read “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari and that is the first time I felt understood and felt like someone else saw depression the same way I see it. It’s a good book, easy to read and so worth taking a look at if anyone is reading along and wants to know more about depression and a different approach to it.

I haven’t been reading so much this week. Which is kind of ok, but not really. I’ve read more than one book a week the last 3 weeks. So I’m not behind on schedule. But in a few weeks I am meating up with a newly started local fantasy book club and I need to read a specific book for that. But I find myself rebelling against the fact that someone chose a book for me. It’s probably not a bad book. It’ll be easily read. I just find myself refusing to start reading it. Hopefully I might begin tonight or tomorrow. Or I might read something else first to get myself reading again. I am just a little sad an disappointed that my really good reading streak broke. I am also sure that I’ll get back to reading soon and that this won’t destroy my “read a book a week” project.

I don’t think I have more to write today. I want to write more, but I am having a slow, wrapped in blankets, good movies, kind of day. And digging into anything more would require feeling something deeper. And today that is not where I am. Any other day I love to dig into all the deeper stuff. But today I am going to just exist in the nice warm feeling yesterdays celebration gave me. And that is enough for me.

If there is anyone reading, I wish you good happy times, lots of things worth celebrating and someone who will celebrate with you in whatever way makes you happy. I hope that someone will give you hope when you need it most and I thank you for giving me a little of your time and attention. I know it’s a limited resource and I feel privileged to receive some of it. Take good care of yourself.