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How I Define 'Hope' as Someone With a Mental Illness

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Hope – hōp/ – noun

1) Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

2) Hope is the act of trusting in something.

Hope – hōp/ – verb

1) Hope is wanting something to happen.

Many 20-year-olds are hoping to finish college. They hope their major is the right one. They hope to buy a nice house and marry their love. To get promotions and have a happy family.

That’s what most people want, isn’t it? To be happy and have everything just fall into place. But it doesn’t really work like that, does it? We put faith in this simple word: hope. Hoping things will work out the way we expected.

Hope seems to have a different meaning for people like me. See, for some of us, hope is hoping we will make it to see our futures pan out. We just hope one day our pain will be gone or that we won’t feel so numb. See, we simply want to be happy. I mean sure, we want mostly the same things, but we hope to feel alive the most. To feel alive and not just feel pain and emptiness.

We hope to …

Get stuck in rain storms. To feel the cold rain run down our faces. To experience the way it smells after a huge rain storm. To look around and see the beauty in nature. To be able to feel sorry for the ones who are running late for work and missing the beautiful views.

To look in the mirror without seeing flaws. To be able to feel comfortable in our own skin.

To be able to walk across the graduation stage. Thinking: Hey, look! All those nights crying and pushing myself actually worked out.

To find a good job. One that isn’t all about the money. The one you wake up to smiling because you can’t wait to start your day.

To buy a nice house. Not just a fairytale house, just one to raise a happy family in. One to you can see yourself building yourself in.

To marry someone you love. Not just to marry someone with looks and success. To fall in love with someone else’s soul. To be open with them and someone who supports you on your worst days.

Making a happy family. To teach members of your family not only how to be good hardworking people, but to teach them about mental illness. Being able to express to them what it means to struggle.

I use to believe “hope” was just this simple word. One made to remind us things can change. It’s sort of like the word “faith.” They are just simple words, with deep meanings. I used to not believe in these simple words. Not thinking my life could change, but it can.

Hope: the act in trusting in something. I hope you trust in yourself. Realizing there are many things to place hope into. Have faith and remain patient. Don’t just hope for big things, remember the little things in life. I hope you smile today.

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Originally published: May 11, 2017
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