In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept 10th, 2019 and Suicide Awareness + Prevention Week that took place from Sept 6th until Sept 10th, 2019, and Suicide Awareness + Prevention month all of September, we have been rumbling with the concepts of hope and despair and how they impact our well-being, our relationships, our work, and our outlook.
The tension between hope and despair is a part of the human experience. It is not something we are taught to expect nor how to deal with or address.
Hope keeps us grounded. It is our oxygen, our life-raft, our ‘why’ when despair starts to hover and take root. Despair can feel disorienting and debilitating. It does its best to stifle hope.
Because loving, caring and committing is brave and daring work – we need to see the spectrum of hope and despair as a normal experience.
We also are committed to helping people know when it is time to reach out for help so they are not suffering in silence.
Mental health struggles, betrayal, loneliness, family of origin ‘rules’ and experiences, trauma, impatience, perfectionism, and struggles with meaningful work or purpose can feel bleak.
You matter. Your story matters. Your life matters.
We believe this in our bones and will hold that truth until you can own this belief yourself. It is a fight in a culture of never enough, shame, and blame. But we are up for the fight to help people reclaim the worthiness that was never meant to be put on the table for negotiation.
The following are some quotes and resources by our team of therapists on the topic of inevitable hope and despair.
Resources for Hope and Despair
- The Inner Compass by Margaret Silf
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- Lost Connections by Johan Hari
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers by Karen Kleiman
- Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell
Reflections on Hope and Despair
I find myself consistently encouraging people to cultivate compassion for themselves, and get curious about how they have been responding to the despair they are experiencing. – Chris Cessna, LMFT
Hope can feel elusive and sometimes just out of reach of our cognitive processing or intellectual learning. There might be another medium of expression calling to you right now to help organize your experience. This could look like a song, a piece of art, a film, a crisp walk in the morning by the water, a wise word from a kind stranger. What experiences have moved you in your lifetime? Can they be invited into your life in a bigger way right now? – Kimberly Ayres, AMFT
Nights can be cold and lonely, and can also be our catalyst into finding community around the fire. We don’t have to carry some burdens on our own. – Kimberly Ayres, AMFT
This book (Lost Connections by Johan Hari) is full of honest thoughts and real experiences around grief. Joan’s thoughts and experiences can be felt all around the pages. This book is for those who have felt loss and grief in their lives and to let them know they are not alone. – Lauren Bryan, M.A, ASW
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts is such an important book in normalizing what so many moms experience in the Postpartum season. This book illustrates with true-to-life thoughts and experiences, the depth of despair and hope available for parents experiencing the overwhelm and sometimes frightening thoughts common during those first weeks and months with a new child. – Holly Kelley, LMFT
Maybe Tomorrow is a touching book about the weight of grief and the gift of the presence of a friend in moments that feel hopeless. With it’s colorful illustrations and simple story it’s appropriate for all ages. – Holly Kelley, LMFT
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please do not white knuckle it. If you are in San Diego, please contact the San Deigo Crisis Hotline at 1-800-479-3339 or call 911.
National Resources for Hope and Despair
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).
Also, be sure to click here to access some journal prompts for you to use as a guide as you honor the hope and despair in your life.
To learn more about how Potentia could help you through your own personal rumbles with hope and despair, please click here.
Our Potentia team is here to help. Learn more about our clinical team and what we have to offer here.
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