The death of Hope

I’m in M’s office sitting on a black couch looking at the horse picture on her wall. I’ve just described my current mood as depressed but when she asks for details on what I mean by that I am unable to define it any further in the moment. We pause in silence for a second, I’m trying to figure out what makes ‘depressed’ a more appropriate word than ‘sad’ or ‘overwhelmed’ and while I feel those things too, I literally feel like the force gravity has doubled and I am being squashed. Perhaps ‘pressed’ is more accurate than ‘depressed’ but I’m unable to find the words to articulate any of that so I say nothing.

“Tell me about hope” M says. “It’s a four letter word beginning with H” I reply avoidently. Fucking hope. What is it with shrinks and the word ‘hope’? I’m aware ‘hopelessness’ is one of those suicide red flag feelings but I doubt M is red flag hunting, we have an agreement due to the whole years of chronic suicidal ideation thing in that we need to be completely honest with her about where we’re at and she will choose to trust us and not lock us in the loony bin all willy nilly.

It took a fair while for us, okay me in particular, to trust her on that, but 6years in we’ve been honest and she hasn’t had us committed, so she’s earned my trust and in turn I won’t break my promises to her either. In my opinion being trusted like that helps keep us ‘safe’ (*gag* God I hate that word) because we don’t ever want to let her down, get her into trouble or be the cause of additional unwanted paperwork.

Where was I? Hope. So what is hope? Hope about what? I have general hope… Like I hope my kids grow up to be happy functioning adults. I hope that humanity will get it’s shit together one day, although the glass is less than half full on that one. Personal hope? Like in what way? Define the question please. I have short term hope sure, like I hope I get a close car park at the shop – I have a pessimistic attitude that I probably won’t but I guess I still hope I do.

But long term hope? Well that kind of implies you have a future. I don’t know that I have a future. Assuming we don’t knock ourselves off intentionally then cancer is lining up to do the job. Besides, the future hasn’t exactly been something we’ve coveted. As soon as we are given ‘hope’ in regards to remission from the cancer the suicidal thoughts creep back in from under the floorboards.

From experience I find that Hope just leaves you open to disappointment…

I guess thinking about it, I’ve definitely been way more hopeless. I mean when one is at rock bottom then you’re not even thinking positively enough to think about hope, everything’s too shit. If anything you’re hoping for a sudden end to all your emotional pain that isn’t too physically painful. That being said, when you start digging to sub rock bottom actively suicidal level you stop even caring if it’s painful and the only hoping you’re doing is hoping that it works.

I guess hope is a spectrum. Yes I’ve definitely been worse. Does this mean I don’t qualify as depressed at the moment? Do I want to qualify as depressed? Is that why I used that word? Why? That label wouldn’t really fix/ change/ mean anything. It’s not like that would allow new magical access to antidepressants or something, M would probably prescribe them if I asked, but I don’t want them.

I’m suddenly aware that a chunk of time has passed and 99% of this conversation has apparently taken place in my head, but we have seemingly still been talking to M, must have half switched out or something. Therapy sessions are pretty much always fuzzy and disjointed. I still think ‘depressed’ feels like the right describing word for how I personally feel. I’m still not sure how I currently define hope or at what point the death of hope becomes the death of self.

This happened a while ago, probably several months but I’m not great with time and I found this written in my drafts folder. It still applies though. I’ve been busy with life stuff, but still feel “depressed” in general. I don’t think this feeling necessarily applies to all the others in our cohort but it’s my perspective.

I’m a little frustrated because I’m aware we have been having weekly sessions with M, but mostly phone ones (thanks Covid) and I feel like I haven’t actually gotten to talk to her properly in ages. We saw her a week or so back and she’d moved offices which made it oddly difficult to get into any sort of mental space to talk, though I don’t know what I even want to talk about other than ask her about our hospital admission notes from 2015 that we had sent to her sometime last year.

I don’t know if she’s talked about them with one of the others or not but I really want to know what they say and keep forgetting to ask! Memory issues are a right pain in the ass.

6 Comments on “The death of Hope

  1. you’re right.pain is in the ass… or that’s where I am keeping mine of late or so it seems as I keep getting it kicked, or I tell myself that I am… I am, though, a dumb ass too and a numb ass
    if truth is known… so, when I light my oven I use a cigarette lighter. I turn on the gas and stick in the lit lighter and know the oven is on when the flames burn my hand. On burning my hand I then look to see if, in fact, the oven is lit…. And, to prove the point of dumbness, yesterday while I was having my operated-on hand therapies, which is a painful process of pushing the swelling out of my fingers and knuckles into my wrist and up my arm. Anyway, the pain got too much so as a distraction I said to the nurse that her hair looked nice, which it genuinely did, but as the pain got worse I said that the only thing better looking than her hair was her ass… why? I thought and I am immediately both a dumb ass and numb ass sexist pig… pain or no pain there are rules, right?… the nurse who I’ve now been seeing for weeks finishes the manipulation and says, thank you, I hope that’s improving for you and I’ll see you next week. I can’t wait to get out and as I fumble about putting my jumper on with one-hand she calmly says, yeah, I coloured my hair last night because I going on holiday tomorrow and I’m glad someone noticed and it’s an age anyone has complimented me on my butt and I’ll make sure to let my girlfriend know as she thinks otherwise… And, then as if by magic all the swelling is gone…And, And, And I am reminded that generally speaking people are good, kind and pretty easy going and may be I would benefit from being a bit like that with myself… my friend has an ED, bulimia. And I just like her and that’s that. And maybe other people just like me too…. what’s so actually hard about that I wonder….

    BTW I won £5 on the lottery the other day… I still put a line on for yous too… who knows, eh?
    BTW BTW I am still waving and have made lots of new friends…


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wasn’t gonna say anything, then it occurred to me that M might be reading this too… so, M, when if at all, are yous in the therapeutic team sense, going to offer Catherine and Co an integrative approach?…. I mean she(s) can write, no? and with an insight many don’t achieve… if yous can imagine a therapeutic horizon based on Hegel, Heidegger and Lacan/Kristeva wrapped around The Principle of Hope by Bloch, then yous-all will gain…. surely, the ANU are pushing for something to be a game changer… co-production has it’s merits not least as a mechanism for teasing out the unintended consequences of counter-transference…

    *Hi Colours, I am/was Alec Fraher, FMIOCP, MIHM, AASW*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yous haven’t said anything, out loud, for ages…
    … I just jumped in here, you know a random click of the 1st button, in fact any button would’ve done from your massive site…
    … and hey presto I find myself reading stuff I wrote before…
    … I reach the conclusion that I haven’t learned much in the past year at all, spouting the same old shite…
    … and then it, what ever, it, is whacks me in the head and, as I’ve said before, yous are offering a public service…
    … except of course yous aren’t just now…
    … I do hope, hope being a guiding principle, that yous are being getting the acknowledgement, kudos and cash from your efforts here….
    … without which I most certainly would be committed….
    … please, don’t give in or give up…
    …check out The Sound of Silence by Disturbed, it’s better than the S&G version, and remember that you are breaking new ground with everything yous write…
    … no pressure like…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there Alec
      Thank you for this message, think we needed it exactly in this moment. Bit of a struggle right now, this game o’ life. Troubles of the past are like relentless ghosts, rattling their chains in my ears and it’s easy to forget that now is a thing too. Lying in bed writing woe is me drivel and saw this, feeling better already.
      Sorry we’ve been quiet. Seems ironic given the context of the aforementioned unpublished ramblings is mostly about not being able to be quiet. The things we write now are so far removed from inspirational I don’t want to annoy people with them and also there’s a fear that a few people from the real world might just see them and jump to conclusions, thus the publish button seems dangerous and drafts are building up.

      That’s my all time favourite version of that song by the way, it gets whirled around on repeat on the playlist.
      I’m gunna go listen to it again now. Thank you, for lighting up this dark night 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Let them jump, yous aren’t alone here… Ms McMurphy is in the house, I bet… but yous know best… thank you getting back to me, it’s a booster to know you’re still scribbling away…. so Thank Yous…. check out Ana Daksina she’s pretty cool too And, Stacy of WTF, CatsTalesPress who is simply an ace…. when you’re ready I will be reading…


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