Hope: Even if it is a single thread, don’t let go of it
I had one of those moments recently where I stopped and appreciated where I was in life. It wasn’t planned or even expected, it was a very nice surprise. No matter how many people tell us how well we are doing, it's not until we say it to ourselves that it sinks in.
Content warning: This article discusses self-harming behaviours, please read with care.
I was travelling to Las Vegas the next day to attend Hypno Thoughts Live, America's largest hypnotherapy conference when it started to dawn on me.
Eight years ago I was in bad shape. Back then, the idea that I could stop using was going to be a miracle or a tragedy one way or another. I just didn’t know how or if. I had been dipping my toe into services – engaging with the mental health teams – it was helping, although more of a slow burner.
Underneath that slow burner was a thought 'a something' – a feeling – a thread of hope that there is a life worth living out there. I could not have described the feeling; it was a delicate thread of hope. It was tittering on that it was going to snap, and everything fall or it was going to be the hero in films that appear out of nowhere at the eleventh hour and saves the day. Thankfully for me, it was the latter.
In January 2016, I was on my knees, I was completely lost, disconnected from the reality of my situation. Then, after shovelling a load of pills into me that thankfully didn’t work, after that, I was feeling blank about the future, and for the time that was perfect. I wasn’t caught up in "I need to rebuild everything ASAP". I talk about this time as being my blank canvas.
Gradually, over time, as the dust settled, old friends reappeared to join the ones that had been a constant support. Then new people and opportunities appeared. So, I just followed the journey, not knowing where it would take me, just that it was somewhere different to where I had been.
Even four years ago, did I ever see myself running my own business, travelling to Vegas to a conference, and then presenting at it in my second year? Nope, nope, nope. I had people around me that saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. They believed in me. As well as the experience of going, what made it more significant was that I was able to pay for it myself. There was a time when I more often than not only had pennies in my account.
It wasn’t just about the bigger things, but the smaller stuff, too. Being able to pay my bills, do a food shop... In the early days, I was fortunate that my family helped me, for instance, they helped me buy a cheap car. There is a special kind of freedom with a car. I was able to see friends without it taking forever to walk or using public transport. It also allowed me to get some work, these were not instant fixes, they happened over several years, and that was OK.
When my washer broke down, I was able to buy a new one without having to ask for money from my family. The same happened with my car, it needed some work, and I could afford it. As I said, this didn’t happen overnight – it took time – however, I just went with the flow. I dealt with things in the now, knowing that everything else would fall into place when the time was right.
I did the right things, I threw myself into recovery, I went to Narcotics Anonymous, and did so for three years. At the same time, I started to train as a hypnotherapist, which opened other doors to other support and finally a purpose. I did the work on myself, a lot of work. Slowly the options for the future presented themselves and I again followed my gut and just went with the journey.
Keeping hold of hope
What’s my point? Well, no matter what your situation or what you are going through, keep hold of any hope, as with that, great things can happen. If there was any advice I could give, it’s don’t get caught up too much in making things happen, more let them happen.
If you feel that there are issues such as alcohol, drugs, or poor mental health that are impacting areas of your life and you want to explore what options are available to you, please get in touch. One thing you’ll never get from me is judgment. I simply want to support you through your journey and find solutions that work for you. It starts with a phone call, don’t worry about where to start, we start where we start, and take it from there.