What is Hope?
What is that thing that comes from inside me, when I am are at my lowest low, when I feel like I have reached the end. What makes me get up again and try.
Sometimes the darkness lasts a few minutes or a couple of days or sometimes I feel like it will never go. But while the darkness is there it consumes every part of me. I get this repetitive narrative in my head, 'I want to die'. It rolls around my head day and night and I can barely think about anything else. At the time I can not talk about it, I can not put it into words. It's quite a dangerous time for me.
But I do find I can talk about retrospectively. Because it's less intense and I never want to worry those around me. So I can explain it and reassure people I knowmlonger feel that way.
Doing my degree and exploring my feelings, I decided to keep an honest sketchbook about how I felt. My sketchbook became my resource bank. I put my inner most fears, worries and thinks I would never say. Then I could decide what I wanted to develop into art. And what things I would never want anyone to know. It gives me an element of control at a time when I feel I have no control.
Doing my arts degree enabled me to understand how to live with depression and how to communicate my feelings, even if it's just with myself. By keeping a sketchbook, I can get it out onto a page, shut the book. I am in a much better place for it.
The negative narrative has faded almost to the point where it doesn't happen. But I have to be careful because I know I need to stay on top of how I feel so that it doesn't consume me. When it does consume me there's not much I can do until it passes. When the light in the darkness floods back in.
I use to feel worse feeling like I should be happy and that feeling so unhappy wasn't normal. But the more I've listened to people over the years, the more I have realised that it is a normal human emotion. And if I can communicate how my life living with depression is, then maybe someone will read it, or see my depression based work and realise that they aren't as alone as they feel they are.
Depression is different for everyone. But we can all try and be survivors in our own way. Even if it means all I have managed to do today is get out of bed and clean my teeth. That's winning. The small wins are just as important as the big ones.
What is Hope?
To me, hope is a blank page for me to express how I feel.