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What Helped Me Reclaim My Hope for the Future

Someone recently told me, “You deserve to have an extraordinary life if you want one.” Five years ago I would have replied, “Of course, I want one, who wouldn’t?”

I’m a romantic, a dreamer. I always have been. While going through the motions of my unremarkable childhood, I always had an inkling that I would end up on a path leading me to my exceptional destiny. I have always had a sense that I was meant for something greater than who I am.

I have also struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. A constant fear of the unknown, combined with an ever-growing sense of anguish, does not mesh well with the musings of a would-be optimist. For those of us living with anxiety and depression, hope is only hope for a moment until it becomes fear. Joy is only joy for a moment until it becomes dread.

So when someone offers me the life I always imagined I was meant for and all I have to do is want it, well, that’s precisely the problem. Anxiety is a voice in my head telling me not to want it, but to fear it. Anxiety is an emergency alarm gone haywire, telling me something truly horrible will happen if I decide to live my life to the fullest. Anxiety causes me to question every single decision I have made and will ever try to make because something must go wrong.

Depression is a different, but no less potent, voice in my head telling me not to want an extraordinary future because I don’t deserve itfear. How can I pursue a life that is unique and purposeful if I am convinced I do not deserve one? Depression sucks every ounce of hope out of my body and suffocates me until all that’s left is an overwhelming nothing. Depression is feeling everything and nothing fully, all at the same time.

So here I am, listening

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Someone recently told me, “You deserve to have an extraordinary life if you want one.” Five years ago I would have replied, “Of course, I want one, who wouldn’t?”
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