There have been many "never"s in my life. "I'm never going to finish this paper." "I'm never going to find someone to marry." "I'm never going to find a job." "I'm never going to be able to get out of this job." "I'm never...." The list goes on. What is interesting is that I was wrong about all of those "never"s. I managed to complete all the papers, I found a wonderfully loving husband, I got out of a job that was painful and hurtful to me, and I have found a job that I love. A primary component of all of these changes was time. To be fair, it was not as simple as sitting and waiting. I actually had to write the paper, go out on dates, apply for jobs, and make decisions to leave and to take new opportunities. The point, though, is that things changed with time.
People say that "time heals all wounds." Though I am not sure that I agree completely, I think time presents another gift: time is always passing. Things are constantly changing. Change can be a scary proposition, but its inevitability can be comforting.
Many times, my clients come to me feeling stuck and at least somewhat convinced that nothing will ever change in their lives. Depression, in particular, can give you the sense that everything is hopeless, that you are worthless, and things will always be that way. At its worst, it can lead people to suicidal thinking. Suicide often is not about wanting to die but about feeling there are no other options. People feel stuck and trapped in overwhelming situations and suicide sometimes feels like the only way out, or a last resort to have some control over their situations.
Part of what is important at that time, aside from ensuring current safety, is to remember that things do change. I tell my clients that tomorrow will be different from today. Their hair and fingernails will be longer, the Earth will be in a slightly different place in space, and the weather will be different. None of this may solve the current problem, but it promises the possibility of situational change, new ideas, new resources.
If I ask a client to track his or her mood over the course of a week, they will find that they are not always at the same level of depression or anxiety. Some days might be an 8 while others are more of a 5 or 6. When people are depressed, they tend to miss these changes and have the sense that they have always felt as they do right now. So we discuss times that they have not felt that way and what was true about those times Often, we find patterns related to depression and can identify how those patterns emerge and change. Recognizing that change has happened and will continue to happen can be very liberating.
However bad today is, tomorrow will be different. Time keeps coming, providing opportunities for change and growth. There is grace and hope in time. Odds are that the sun will come up again tomorrow, and we can try again.
Mary Ann Rademacher said: "Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is that small voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.' " I think she said it well. Let's get to tomorrow and see what happens.