“Hope is a passion for the possible.”
– Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
The existentialist soul Søren Kierkegaard wholly captured the passion I sought in heading up this piece.
Why do we – as they say – dust oneself off and try again after a self-perceived failure or disappointment? Is it because we expect the same result and accompanying sense of overwhelming despondency by trying again? Is it because of low self-esteem that we feel we get what we deserve? Or are we perhaps gluttons for unrelenting self-flagellation?
Of course, the answer lies in our deeply held, sometimes subconscious belief in hope. We hope for a better and more desirable outcome the next time. Many of us in the past have purchased a lottery ticket and I suspect that most of the many know fully well our chances of winning the jackpot are highly remote – yet – we buy that ticket don’t we holding out hope that “maybe” it will be us this time?
We walk through the door, eyes open, heart exposed, vulnerable but hopeful. In our essence we do believe in possibilities – and if we don’t, we should call out for help. Hope is soulful passion. Hope is the lifeblood of continuance. With each breath we strive to get better, to become more fulfilled, we take chances, we try to enhance our lives, and even go out on one more date, and another and another.
Yet in the yearning for a belief in possibilities, there are certain immutable facts that present as non-starters. At my age I will not become a star for my beloved Boston Bruins nor any other professional hockey team. Actually, those who saw me play in my youth several decades ago already arrived at the same clairvoyant-like conclusion.
I am constantly amazed at human resiliency. So many others with whom I speak echo the same observation. And despite all those hardships you and I have experienced, it is those specific setbacks which have undoubtedly shaped who we are today. It can therefore be said that those adversities are contributing to us being loved by others for that is how we became who we are and we are loved by family and friends. There is nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of and know that there are always people who will listen and not judge us, but it is our responsibility to seek them out or accept their open-handed generosity.
Yet too many times that resiliency is not present. Too often that listening voice is not sought out. Several days ago I received a dreadful phone call at work about a client’s teenage child who committed suicide and my assistance was needed to speedily release RRSP (401k) funds to pay for the funeral. It was heartbreaking. It was sudden. Incredibly sudden.
No doubt many of us are all too familiar with mental health matters within some specific slice of our lives. And tragically, some are also all too familiar with the worst possible outcome of mental illness – suicide.
Today we are more aware than ever that mental illness can strike within any; community, socio-economic position, race, nationality, education level, profession, relationship status, employment status, age – especially amongst our youth. For reasons we cannot rationalize or hypothesize, many struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD or a myriad of other mental health diseases. Hope becomes less a state of their of conscious thought. The possibility of hope becomes, for them, sadly, a faint memory of a distant time in the past. But there is an opportunity for rediscovery, to reignite that belief in possibilities and hope that many of us have every day when we arise and perhaps take for granted. We need to reach people, talk to them, accept everyone for their perfect imperfections and provide a safe place or person to begin the discussion. We must strive to continue raising awareness of mental health challenges in our homes, workplaces and in society at large.
On Wednesday January 30th, Bell Canada once again sponsors Bell Let’s Talk.
“In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, most people were not talking about mental illness. But the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action. Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities, engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year.”
It is my profound hopeful desire that through worthy programs like Bell Let’s Talk, the belief in possibilities will flourish for all those currently without hope. #BellLetsTalk