By Nancy Virden (c)2020
If one of your life’s battles is recurring depression, I know you are an optimistic person. Those on the outside see negativity; that’s ok, they do not understand the whole truth. Do you?
According to the Cambridge online dictionary, optimistic means “hoping or believing that good things will happen in the future.” How can this term describe anyone having a depressive episode? What relevance has optimism to an overwhelming sense of loss or hopelessness?
Most importantly, optimism is not dependent on positive feelings.
Hope feels absent. We experience emptiness inside we do not understand. In despair, we can cling to the hope someone else has for us, and that is what people fighting depression do. I remember hoping that hope existed during some of the worst weeks of my life. That is by definition, optimism!
Optimism shows up in your choices
If you are in a depressed mood, I know you are optimistic because you are reading this. You want more than typical cheerleader rhetoric. You want a reason, rescue, or friendly reminder. Whatever you need, you are hoping to find it.
I know you are optimistic because even to a minute degree, you are functioning against how you feel. You know or want to believe small steps matter. And they do! This miniscule hope is enough for progress.
If your thoughts overflow with sad and tragic memories, you are optimistic. You are a bouncer in-the-making, as day and night you use every effort to throw out random and relentless images that bring anguish to your soul. You believe peace of mind exists and work hard to snatch it for yourself.
Your optimism shows up in disappointment. You wanted so much more out of life; your entire being is discouraged. You sense there could have, should have been more, and you are absolutely right! There is more!
I know you are optimistic because you recognize happiness exists. In wishing you could be as happy as everyone else seems to be, you acknowledge that all is not hopeless in the world.
If you are reaching out for treatment or thinking about it, you are optimistic. Mental health professionals find satisfaction in watching clients go from despair to experiencing full lives. You can be one of those success stories, and at some level, you hope for it.
Optimism is built in to your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We believe he exists and loves us even when our cognition and reasoning is skewed.
A great camp of survivors of severe depression and suicide attempts surrounds you with a united song – it’s not over, there is hope, darkness is not all there is. You see in them evidence that suffering can be tolerable, easier, and come to an end. This is proof that you too can rise in the land of the living.
Depression is how we feel, it does not define who we are. You are an optimist with a fighter spirit. Look in the mirror and say “I am worth it. I will survive. God loves me. I will find joy.”
Today’s Helpful Word
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!