The first quote is fitting for my blog:
We, as humans, are creatures of hope.
This was uttered by an EA, or Emotions Anonymous, member in 2005. Emotions Anonymous is a twelve step group that I used to attend. In it, people say that they are "powerless over their own emotions" and it has been described as the twelve step group for those with mental illness.
To be clear, I do not think that all people with mental illness need to go to twelve-step groups-they just happen to work for me. I like the concept of a sponsor and working toward serenity, but I will also acknowledge that there have been times in my life when I was too angry to attend certain groups and that is certainly okay too. Anger is not a bad emotion and in fact can be used quite productively, like in my recent post about how getting angry at my illness motivated me in my recovery.
I heard this quote in 2005-the first time I received treatment for my eating disorder and it gave me a way to reframe the way I thought about humanity. At the time, I was clinically depressed and had been for a very long time. My thoughts about humanity were not that we are "creatures of hope," but that we are creatures of despair. This saying helped me reframe my thinking.
And I am still thinking about it, because the sad truth is that I am not sure this quote applies to everyone. I have known two friends who killed themselves-surely they had given up! Or maybe they had hope for something better than the life that were currently living. There's no way that I can know, but I would like to think that I am, at least,a creature of hope. Somehow I have continued living in the midst of some very dark days, because I have had hope that life would get better. Ultimately, I now know that I have a choice: to choose to be a creature of despair or a creature of hope and today I choose hope.
Now don't get me wrong-I don't think saying "Today I choose to be a creature of hope" means that I will be super bubbly all the time. In fact, I don't even think it means that I won't wake up depressed again one day. All it means is that I will not give up before my time. That I will keep on fighting. That I will never forget that recovery is my goal.
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