Hopelessness Can Lead to Depression
If you’ve been depressed, feeling apathetic about your own life and searching for reasons to live or to be excited about life, you’re not alone. A new epidemic is sweeping the nation, and it’s called “languishing.” Some say it’s a result of the craziness that has been in 2020 and 2021, but some say it’s simply related to pre-existing mental health conditions. Either way, it’s not good. Hopelessness can lead to depression, and depression can quickly lead to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. The first thing to do if you’re trying to think of reasons to be alive is to consider whether you’re suicidal–if you are, get help today.
If you’re just here looking for reasons to feel a little more hope and a little less apathy, you’ve probably heard the usual ones before: your friends and family, sunrises and sunsets, gratitude journals, etc. And those things are great! Perfectly wonderful reasons to be alive, stay alive, and feel alive. In the grand scheme of things, your relationships and appreciating the world around you give you the purpose that makes life fulfilling over the long haul, at the end of the day… but what about right now? If you’re having trouble connecting to your grander purpose and looking for some things that will make today seem a little more exciting or worth living, take a look at these:
Reasons You Haven’t Thought of:
1. Cookies. Food isn’t everything, and of course we should be careful about emotional eating but… you can have a cookie today. If that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is. There are people who don’t like cake. There are people who don’t like pie. There are people who don’t like ice cream. But are there people who don’t like cookies? If you don’t like cookies, insert whatever treat excites you. The point is: you have the freedom to consume a treat today. That’s something to look forward to!
2. Plants. Whether you’re a gardener, a house plant person, or a known black thumb… Get yourself to a drug store and buy one of those $5 seedling kits for daisies, strawberries, or mint… whatever floats your boat. There is something innately hopeful and exciting about being able to follow the instructions on the packet and watch weird, brown dots turn from seeds into leafy, green baby plants. You can literally make something alive! Do it. See if it doesn’t at least make you curious to check on the plant’s progress each day. Curiosity is a sign that you do, in fact, have a little hope left in you.
3. Your favorite shoes. You can put them on right now. Even if you’re in your pajamas. Go get them. Do it. Nobody is stopping you. Rock those kicks. They’re your favorite for a reason, and if you can love a pair of shoes, you can love life.
4. Babies, puppies and kittens. Look, even if you aren’t a lover of kids or animals, there’s no way to stare at an infant being of any species without smiling. Whether you’re smiling at their cuteness or at their clumsiness or at their ignorance of basic principles of logic, you’re smiling. Get thee to YouTube and watch a 10-minute compilation video of babies doing cute things, and let yourself enjoy it. If a video isn’t enough, go volunteer at an animal rescue or a daycare program. These creatures are real, and reminding yourself that you get to live in the same world as baby humans and animals is next-level hopeful.
5. This TikTok account. Come on. Either watch it or go out and do your own version of #drivebykindness. There is goodness in the world. Spreading it is important work.
6. Your favorite song. Listen to it right now. Now, think of a song that used to be your favorite. Listen to that too. If that used to be your favorite song, and it changed as you grew and new music came out, it follows that you will someday, perhaps soon, have yet another new favorite song. Imagine how awesome it’s gonna have to be to beat the current one. That’s a reason to push through to tomorrow.
7. Your favorite movie or book. Same logic as #6 on a much grander scale. The future holds so much promise. You can’t give up now!
8. Speaking of the future… Have you ever taken the time to Google futuristic technologies that actually already exist? If things like Iron Man suits, cloning, and driverless cars are already a thing… What is life going to look like ten years from now? You’ve got to be here when that happens. You could be riding a hoverboard to school. You could be 3D printing your own furniture. If today is feeling a little dull and lifeless, it’s looking like tomorrow might have a few surprises.
9. Female presidency! No matter what your politics are, everyone seems excited about the idea of the first female US president, and we’ve come pretty close a couple of times now. If you give up on life too soon, you could miss it. That’s something you might want to see! That’s something that might feel brand new when you’ve been bored and unimpressed with life.
10. Help Someone…While you wait for the things that the future could bring, today could be your chance to help someone through their pain. Maybe you aren’t feeling great about yourself, but stop for a moment to think about the people you know and love. Are any of them going through a tough time too? Reach out and offer your support. At the very least, you might be able to pass an hour or two without dwelling on your own hopelessness. At the very best, you discover your own strength and power as you bolster someone in need.
11. This is the worst it will get. If you’ve reached the point where you’re trying to come up with reasons that life is worth living, you’ve hit a low point. The good news is: it’s all uphill from here. Only better things can be ahead now. Take a deep breath and let them come.
12. You tell me. There’s a TikTok trend going around that says whatever is on the “home screen” of your cell phone or laptop is what you live for. What’s yours? Whether it’s your mom, your partner, or your favorite video game character, that’s proof that you love something enough to look at it a million times a day. Call that person. Play that game. Or… if you’re not happy with that thing, change the picture. Pursue what you care about. Time will pass, and eventually you will feel alive again.
Feeling HopeLess? It Will Pass
If that list didn’t do it for you, here are a few quotes regarding hopelessness and reasons to be alive today. Actor Juliette Lewis is known for saying, “The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” You matter. Your life matters. You can be that brave too. Writer Anne Lamott talks about a low point in her life, recalling, “I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.” You don’t have to prove anything to anyone if you’re feeling hopeless, you just have to watch the next movie, take the next nap, and eat the next meal until you feel like doing more. And finally, in author Kahlil Gibran’s words: “Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” There was a time before this when you felt more hope and joy. There will be a time after this when you feel better too. You are simply in the time between.
If you’re feeling too low to wait for the alive feelings to come back, reach out to TheHopeLine today. There is hope for the future and a love that connects you to that hope. We’d love to walk with you through this dark time and hold onto the light for you while you can’t see it. You’re not alone, and your life is special to us.
Suicide is never the only answer, and there are always ways to get help. Find out what to do when you’ve lost interest in everything.
If you or a friend need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, for free confidential, 24/7 help. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. For additional help, please visit the suicide prevention resource page.