Holding Hope

*Trigger Warning – This article talks about suicidal feelings*

When my mental health was at it’s lowest and I had been quite unwell for some time, I found one of the most terrifying symptoms was my complete loss of hope, hope is such a precious gift and I feel it enables us to cling on and look to the future, even if that is just getting through the day.  We need to be holding hope.

We constantly hope for things as humans, you hope the traffic is good, you hope you find a car parking space, you hope your child has a good day at school, you hope your appointments go well – so too loose hope can be so devastating it can feel very final. 

When someone tells you they have no hope left this too is very scary for the person hearing this from a friend or loved one, as what can you offer someone that has no hope for anything, I feel this is when living becomes existing and it is certainly a point that needs a lot of care and compassion. When people used to try to give me things to be hopeful for at times this made me feel worse, as I wasn’t – I couldn’t look forward like they wanted me too, I could not feel love or connection with anyone.

As terrifying as this was I just happened to find hope  one day when I was out walking, I walked for up too 12 hours a day sometimes just so I didn’t feel alone and was doing something, as I had so little concentration all other activities felt impossible, so as I was walking a small grey stone caught my eye on the ground, I stopped and looked for it, and I guess my mind was looking for something to cling on too and keep me alive, I thought to myself if I pick up this stone and carry it in my hand all day I will at least make it until the end of this day. 

And I did 

I kept doing this daily and riding out the emptiness and terror of feeling so close to the edge – I think the stones helped me in a few different ways – I could feel it in my hand, it was solid and it was real, it grounded me and brought me back into my body. It was smooth and felt nice and it warmed up the more I held it, It was tangible, it was a stone, yes, but it was something, and that was more than the nothing I felt I had left. 

 It can be so difficult for people supporting someone in this position and it can feel nothing is working, but I found that someone “holding hope” for me was a lot more helpful than trying to pretend I had some when I didn’t. 

Maybe if someone you love is struggling and expresses they have no hope or have lost all hope this can be a cry for help, maybe tell them you will hold the hope for them until theirs returns, and that you might not know when but it surely will at some point return, and that in itself is trying to give a little hope without putting the pressure on someone to try and find their own, this part of my journey inspired me to make hope stones for others that might be struggling, and these are now in our visitor rooms at Carlisle Eden mind – or make one yourself and give it with love…

Carlisle Eden mind hope stones

Written by Tara Scott – Community Engagement Coordinator

Support is available – Visit our service page for more info or check out Mindline Cumbria is available everyday of the year visit mindlinecumbria.org