In most cases of depression, often exists a comorbid presence of hopelessness.
It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for this as everyone’s state of mind differs so much, and there are many different theories to why people suffer mental health problems, specifically depression and anxiety.
I am no psychologist, nor claim to be, however, in my limited experience of life I have found several perpetrators of depression, relation to a biochemical model, a stress vulnerability model, a genetic model, environmental factors, reactive circumstances to name a few theories.
However, despite this availability of scientific evidence/psychological theories relating to the cause of depression, it is a well known fact, that hopelessness is the key factor in why people choose to end their lives deliberately.
I feel instilling hope is a fundamental part of enabling those with depression to overcome their paralysed state of mind.
My own definition of hope, is that despite adversity and the inability to see beyond the despair which at times can overwhelm and darken the senses, disinhibiting the ability to see a bright future, that in fact , things will get better, adopting a positive attitude in times of strife.
Everybody has an individual perspective on what gives them hope in life. I have spent time with people, asking them what gives them hope; common responses related to family, friends, a job, but most significantly, reflects being connected to other people.
I believe the power of human connection cannot be underestimated. Human connection manifests care, warmth, love, humour, respect and a deep sense of belonging.
I believe we are born to live in communion with one another and a sense of harmony.
My own belief is that spirituality is at the core of this principle, having an awareness that we are all part of a greater purpose and connected through a power that lies within us all.
An example of this, are two perspectives; one is a ground perspective, the other is a higher perspective.
If I look out of a train window as I pass some beautiful countryside, then to a degree, my view is restricted, I have an inhibited view of what is ahead of me.
However, on an aeroplane, if I observe the same view, as the aeroplane flies over the same countryside, the same scenery exists, but on a completely higher perspective. There are things I can see from an aeroplane window that are simply physically impossible to see from a train window!
I try to view life in the same way and I feel hope can often be acquired from a change in perspective.
If disappointment, hurts, or frustration arise because perhaps something hasn’t worked out, I try to see a higher perspective, that perhaps something better awaits around the corner, or that however difficult some things are that occur in life, that simply have no explanation, we can allow our lives to be moulded by them positively, if we choose to adopt this attitude.
Although this theory may seem easier said than done, having hope is paramount in our lives, often reinforced through how we relate to others. Being able to receive love and care from others, as well as give love to those around us.
I believe love is at the core of every human being. And in order to live wholesome lives we need to have a self belief that we are worthy to receive love and acceptance from others as well as giving our care, love and time to others. This is the foundation of human connection. This is what I believe no human being can live without. This is what I believe the world should be about. That if we all loved and cared about each other as much as those we hold most dearest to us, the world would be a better place.
On a final note, I use the analogy of a blocked dam. The river bed represents our physical bodies. The river represents our spirits. The flow of the water represents love flowing through our very core (this can be towards all those in our lives we cherish and value), but the blockage represents anything within us that is keeping us imprisoned in negative feeling/fear/worry and this could represent anything in our lives that causes us to fall or lose that feeling of inner peace/love.
These areas are unique to a lot of people, but may or may not include elements such as addiction, unemployment, bereavement, relationship breakdown, health anxiety to name but a few.
Identifying these areas in our lives enables us the power to accept the feelings these circumstances invoke within our lives, in order to address them positively, and work on effective management strategies, to allow a better quality of life.
Change does not happen overnight, but adapting to situations in our lives that allow us to seek to utilise unfortunate and often unforeseen circumstances in our lives, with a different perspective to re-establish a firmer identity within our selves, more balanced sense of self worth, enhanced resilience and therefore more meaningful existence .