I have never been able to find the short article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that talked about a miraculous treatment for many ailments of the human mind and body…
The article was about “hope.”
When we have it there is hardly any problem we can’t tackle, and when we lack it every challenge seems insurmountable.
This afternoon I met with a man in his 40’s who has wrestled almost his entire life with substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. His support system came along – his elderly parents, his case manager and his substance abuse counselor.
We wrestled with the question, what can we do to help him find a pathway towards wellness. Everyone had a different idea… but he had very little to say.
Finally, I said that I thought that the key issue was that he lacked “hope.”
He could not really commit to any plan to change things in his life – Alcoholics Anonymous, volunteer work, a support group, working with his psychiatrist to optimize his medications – for more than a month or two. And given that he had been struggling for decades, the odds of any plan working dramatically in a month was pretty slim.
There was a momentary silence in the room.
On our discussion forum (which you are invited to join… email me for how to do that… email@example.com) I talked about a project that I am interested in pursuing – collecting stories of people who have found a way out of darkness and into light. Those of you who read the interview with Descartes Li will have read about his awe at some of these stories of hope.
Over the next few weeks I want to focus on how this website can best generate hope and optimism in those who read it. Email me your thoughts.