How do I understand the depth of my loss
And all it cost
My heart is heavy
Yet You keep me steady
My life has meaning, this pain has purpose.
You say, “Keep going. Don’t give up”
I lean in as You give me strength. Air to breathe.
You give me breath and life. Hope and help.
Be my breath, my life, Lord. Be my hope and help.
I have the above saying on an index card on my bathroom mirror. When I get thrown some negative experience or I am struggling with depression, I sometimes feel hopelessness creep in. When I start to feel hopeless, I start to believe that my situation is, in fact, hopeless. We must remember in our life and recovery that feelings are not facts.
All individuals, whether or not they have a mental health diagnosis, will struggle with cognitive distortions at some point. Cognitive distortions are negative, distorted ways we tend to think about the world and what is going on in our life. Our thoughts are not in line with the reality about what is going on (or what God says about us, in fact). Those suffering from mental illnesses tend face cognitive distortions more often. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help aid in re-framing these negative ways of thinking. Here is an example of re-framing a cognitive distortion.
Emotional reasoning is a common cognitive distortion that says “if it feels true, then it must be true.” So, “if I feel hopeless, then my situation must feel hopeless.” For me, hopelessness is a place that I can still sometimes default to after a negative experience or during a depressive episode. Simply having the statement on my bathroom mirror that there IS hope even if I feel hopeless reminds me in those difficult moments that there is, and always will be, hope. That hope is anchored deeply and securely in Jesus Christ. Nothing is too difficult to handle. Nothing that has happened to us cannot be redeemed and used for God’s good.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
May you experience God’s hope today no matter what you are facing.