Hope is often found in the unlikeliest of places or presents itself at the unlikeliest of moments. It doesn’t usually come with a fanfare or grand entrance, shouting “I am here! All is not lost! Make way, make way…”
It is more likely to make its appearance when we truly believe we have nowhere else left to turn. When we have hit rock bottom. When we believe we are “done.” But that’s the time when we need to believe in its existence. To find the strength or desire once again to live. To move forward.
Just over five years ago, after struggling for years in an abusive relationship, I had reached that point. I “bottomed” out. I ended up one day in the doctor’s office, on the pretense of going for something else. Instead, I found myself crying uncontrollably over an insignificant little thing which lead to the outpouring of my grief and my inability to keep going. I suddenly found myself being questioned about anxiety, depression, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Was it that obvious how I was feeling? And, how on earth did I get here? And how could I possibly come back from where I was to the place, and person, I used to be?
But that seemingly “non sequential” visit turned out to be the hope I needed to find. Someone else now shared my “burden” and believed me. I didn’t have to struggle alone anymore. I had found support – and more importantly, hope – to take that single first step and find my way back to the expectation that I deserved good things to happen to me again.
And so, that little, big thing called hope had made its entrance. It had asked, “How do you want to change? Where do you want to go from here? What makes you truly happy?” And it had wrapped itself around me, gently, comforting, and wiping away my tears and hopelessness. My brain had found its voice again, quietly at first, then speaking louder and louder, and more confidently, until one day I found myself a long way from that dark, rock-bottom place.
Not many people know about those personal struggles I endured, and the dark days I went through, especially now, five years on. It’s a difficult thing to explain to others, unless they too have been to that same place. How can you voluntarily hand over your life to the control of another, or an addiction or substance, without realizing the consequences?
Articles in this issue address some of these questions. A story of running which literally began with one step at a time, trading the addiction of alcohol for the hope of good things to happen once again, no matter the time it takes. A story of hope from the addiction of drugs and coming back from rock bottom. In addition, stories, or events, that give people hope as we move forward into a new decade. And how our perceived perception of people is not always correct – and how changing our attitude might bring forth a brighter future for us all.
Draw courage, strength, and inspiration from these stories and events. And if you are lost, I pray that they inspire you to find your own hope once again.
With hope and courage as we celebrate the start of 2020.
You can reach out to Louise by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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