Hidden Hope

Dearest friends,

It’s no secret that I have had depression my entire life, and that my physical illnesses can certainly cause it to be more prevalent at times. This past month I have been battling one of the worst Chronic Fatigue relapses I’ve ever had. The relapse caused searing pain especially in my fingers, hands and arms, while also aggravating my  Carpal Tunnel. All of this made writing just about impossible. Therefore, I had a great deal of thoughts floating about my head with nowhere to go, and my mental health suffered along with my body.

Depression affects people in a variety of ways; while most of the time I am high functioning, there are plenty of days my depression feels impossible to defeat. This past relapse, however, there was much that helped me survive it all; one experience in particular was extremely helpful yet unexpected.

During the first week of the relapse I went to a concert with my boyfriend and his father. While I normally enjoy concerts, I was struggling to keep my energy up and the pain off my mind. Several times I had to leave the main venue to escape the intensity of the night. Twice my boyfriend went with me, but the third time I stepped out on my own so that he could stay with his father. I ended up sitting in the hall talking to a lovely staff member named Stacey, and suddenly I was deep in conversation with her. I admitted I was unwell, and she was kind and empathetic while I sleepily explained more about my conditions.

As the conversation continued, she explained that she knew precisely what it was like to be chronically ill considering she has several issues herself. She also knew what it was like to have a lack of support. We both lamented for a bit, before she told me that despite her serious struggles with her health, she had been married for 15 years and had seven children; that’s right- seven, which included two sets of twins. That alone made me think she was a real life Wonder Woman.

Speaking to her was inspiring; after all she had suffered through and all she still goes through, she had managed to build a beautiful life that though was not easy, was what she obviously loved. I told her she gave me hope, and had unknowingly lent a hand to uplifting me from my depression. She was altogether lovely. Hanging out with a person like myself in a hallway was not at all what I expected to do that night, but I am so incredibly pleased that it happened.

I left the venue feeling physically exhausted yet mentally refreshed. The rest of the night, as exhaustion set in, I kept reminding myself that if she could have the life she dreamed of, I could too … maybe minus the seven boys. No matter how much anxiety I have or however intuitive I think I am, life still ends up being surprising in ways I can never imagine. These experiences constantly remind me that hope is hidden in daily life. The way strangers interact with one another changes lives every second, yet this is a fact that we often overlook as human beings. I am learning to be thankful for the hidden moments in my life that bring me rays of hope, reminding me that my daily struggle is always worth it.

Of course, this lovely human was not the only one to help me through my relapse. My extraordinary boyfriend, his family and our friends all encouraged me and were wonderfully kind to me during my recovery. Warm hugs and listening ears are vital weapons in the battle of surviving chronic illness, and the people that lovingly give them will never know just how much it makes it easier for me to live. I aspire to share my experiences so that as my favorite band always says, I can spread hope like fire.