We all know the word “hopeless” and probably use it all of the time. I always say I am a hopeless insomniac (which I am), others say someone is a hopeless romantic. Of course, there are also times when we..I.. may become just a tad frustrated with someone and declare “You are hopeless!”, a phrase usually uttered with a clenched jaw, throwing my arms in the air. Can you relate?
Unfortunately, for me, the word and it’s true meaning has really hit home again in a profound way.
Several weeks ago we got word that a young man we knew had died by his own hand. He was truly a nice young guy, early thirties, promoted to manager of a very prominent restaurant in his area, with a serious girlfriend; the whole world at his fingertips, a life just begun.
Friends said that although he suffered from depression a few years ago when he was diagnosed with a deadly heart condition, he underwent open heart surgery and had the promise of a long and healthy life, and really seemed to have his act together. I was truly horrified and heartbroken at the news of his death.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time I experienced such shock. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the deep, deep sympathy that rose up in me for the parents, family and friends, and the huge question mark that overtook my thoughts, echoing “WHY?” in the very depths of my soul, were all too familiar.
No, this is not the first time we got such news. It was the third. And since then we’ve become acquainted with parents of another young lady who did the same. All four were young adults, with families and friends and a lifetime of adventure in front of them.
Hopelessness is the belief that there is no future; absolutely being convinced that everyone you know would be better off without you, and you just want to be anywhere but here in this life. I imagine that thoughts and feelings so dark come to one who feels this hopeless; thoughts that can’t be expressed or spoken; thoughts that haunt, terrify and eventually justify the extreme action of ending it all. Thoughts that are totally hidden from view of those who love you. Hopeless.
How can anyone ever find hope and meaning for life when that kind of darkness shrouds the consciousness of their being? I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a mental health professional. I can only say what I either learned myself or heard others say. This is a blog, so I’m going to keep it pretty short. I could tell of many times in my life when I have dealt with someone in a state of depression, but not in this blog. I can only share some quick thoughts of what I have learned along the way.
What can the rest of us do to help when we see someone falling into an abyss of despair? Speak life, not judgement. Speak truth if asked for an opinion or thought, but don’t use it as a platform to bully someone into “getting normal again”. If you can’t speak that truth without judgment, then decline to speak it at all. That person is not your project; they may be your family member, friend or acquaintance, but God didn’t put you in their life to fix them. He put you there to serve Him, by being a carrier of His presence and grace. Offer practical help. Don’t tell people to “snap out of it”—if they could, they would. Offer support to the family and friends. And pray. And then pray some more.
If you are someone who is sinking in despair for any reason, I’m saying to you: Yes, there is hope!
You are loved, you are worthy, and the world will not be better off without you! The people that know you: your family, friends, co-workers, would be utterly devastated if you were gone, this I know! I also know that God loves you and has a plan for you and your future. There is no depth so deep or low that He isn’t there to lift you out! Get help. Talk to someone—don’t keep anything bottled up. If the first person you try to talk to doesn’t listen or seem to get it, then move on to someone else. Call a mental health hotline. Reach out to a pastor or someone you know that has a relationship with God. Google God’s promises and read them. Take a step—God will put someone there to catch you.
Here is what God says for you today: “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11 NIV
Write that verse down, put it on your mirror, and have faith to KNOW that you are loved!!!