All of my stories are true; my life, experiences, and what I’ve learnt.  I’m a work-in-progress, I’m not perfect but I’m listening and learning along the way.

What does hope mean to you?  For me it means there’s a chance. It means I believe there’s a chance, a way, that things can be different or that I can see things differently.  It’s means there’s still a good reason to try, to keep going.

Twice in my life I gave up hope for a little while. It may not sound like a big deal, but it really was. Giving up hope is a big deal. When I gave up hope, I was giving up my chance for happiness.  The second time it happened, though, it hit me hard. I let the darkness in, and it wrapped its self around me like a cloak, blocking out the light. The pain wasn’t just mental it was physical, a deep hurt that stuck in my solar plexus and went down to the pit of my stomach.  I felt panic, loneliness, desperation to be free of it.  It was like nothing I’d ever felt before, and I was scared. For anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety or depression, you may recognise these words as feelings that resonate for you.  By 2030 the Mental Health Foundation predicts that depression will be the biggest cause of illness on the planet.  Currently 1 in 4 people are (recorded) suffering from a mental health illness in any year, with that increasing to around 1 in 6 within Europe.  In reality you could probably triple, or even quadruple, this figure.  These are only known cases.

It’s not always possible to get better on your own.  Sometimes you need therapy from someone else, someone who understands the mind and body and what it takes to turn things around.  Sometimes you need medication to balance out the chemicals or issues in the functioning of your brain.

These are my top shares from my learning:

  1. There’s always hope, but sometimes you have to work harder to find it.
  2. Without hope, the darkness will take over.
  3. There is always someone somewhere who would love to have the life you’ve got.
  4. Even great loss, can give you a gift if you look for it.
  5. There’s always someone who can help, seek them out.
  6. Don’t underestimate the difference little things make (see my story – part 1)
  7. Life is temporary, cherish it.
  8. Doing something for someone else, spreads hope and makes the darkness weak.
  9. Visualise the wonderful light and strength you have within you, and blast the darkness away.
  10. Meditation helps to calm the mind and balance our reactions.

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