Mental Health
Hope & Mental Health: Growing Through Concrete

Hope & Mental Health: Growing Through Concrete

5 min read


Thalia Longchamp

A Siren’s Song 

Hope can feel like a silent killer. It is a flicker away from faith, and the breath before desperation. Sometimes hope can provide the fuel needed in order to keep going, while in certain moments, it is a wildfire burning within threatening to scorch everything in its wake. 

What, then, do we do with hope? Hoping for love, connection, friendship, a new career, an apology, an opportunity, a renewal, or a new beginning–all these are what it means to be a human subject to the soul: mind, will, emotions, and spirit. Try as we might in the moments we'd prefer to have power and control over a situation, hope cannot be extinguished. 

Why is hope important? The feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen is necessary for opening cognitive and spiritual doors, so the serendipitous can occur. Hope is the oxygen used to ignite the flame of miracles. 

Hope occurs because we need it to. Hope is as much a part of us as the breath in our lungs, the sound to our voice, and movement of our bodies. Hope occurs the same reason the wind blows. Hope gets awakened in places where we were once asleep, preparing us for the new thing or person we could never live without. Hope happens to encourage communities to come together. Hope drives determination for even the most fragmented among us. Hope occurs because we desire and expect to feel something. 

The Immediacy Problem

Mental health professionals are not exactly encouraged to tell our clients just to hope. We aren't really taught how to leave room open during sessions for the unknown to work itself out. Many of us within and outside of a therapeutic environment want answers-- immediately. However, this need in our culture for immediate results may be counterintuitive for allowing personal growth, developing patience for life's rhythms, and overall maturity.  From a romantic perspective, the lack of allowing room for hope suffocates the creative mind. We need our creativity.  We wouldn't be the incredible, multidimensional species we are without it. Without hope, there is no music; no inspiring melody in the middle of a sad song, there is no reason to achieve a dream, many lovers with happy endings who took chances wouldn't be together, and without hope, there would be no reason to ask for help.  

Holding space for hope in the therapeutic setting seems to have been replaced with providing quick-fix methodologies and existential answers to simple questions. Sometimes there is no way to fast-track or fill with theories what can be only discovered, experienced, or appreciated over time. Sometimes, hope that something truly good will happen in the midst of chaos is what’s needed–though this may seem passive or even flippant. However, having hope is neither passive nor flippant. Hope is active, because it plants a seed within the spirit for new life. Daydreaming of possibilities, and imagining spectacular outcomes inspires one to make choices, then those choices become actions–and action always leads to change.  

A Fractured Vision

We all have a different relationship with hope. Questioning what hope truly means, where its tickling sensation comes from, who we can put our hope in, and knowing we’ve been let down in the past prevents us from indulging ourselves in such a thing, making the idea of hoping for something unseen truly crippling. 

Hope gone unbloomed causes distress, fear, depression, sadness, loneliness, listlessness–and hopelessness. Hope lost equals a broken spirit, and this is truly devastating. So, what can be done about this? The answer: keep hoping. Having hope is a glimmer in the darkness, it's a hand pulling us from drowning in deep waters. Hope is radical.  Personally, I believe hope to be a gift.  

How I Can Help

In my practice, I help clients navigate the areas of their lives where they feel they've lost their hope. By using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy frameworks and Christian Counseling including Faith Therapy, we use hope itself to break down the wall of hopelessness in targeted areas, and strategically replace thoughts and behaviors of futility with those of actionable steps which correspond with a hopeful nature. With these combined methods, hope won't be a foreign intermittent occurrence that is governed by outer circumstances, but a disposition of a mindset focused on realistic steps toward personal goals. 

The Unseen Promise

My friend, all hope is not lost; it never truly is. Hope is the miracle hoping for you to notice it waving at you. True, living hope will never lead you astray, towards the wrong person or people, leave you humiliated or ashamed, broken or alone. Hope is not the circumstance; hope has only ever been the whisper to get you to consider a version of you that your soul is yearning to realize.  

Hope is the quickened beating of your heart for a life undiscovered glimmering, and calling out to you. When you become friends with hope, you find greatness, love, joy, peace, discernment, help, and with a firm hope–you find faith. 

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- and sings the tunes without the words- and never stops at  all."- Emily Dickinson

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About the author

Thalia Longchamp is a Christian Counselor and CBT Practitioner in New York, NY specializing in grounding any overwhelming emotional, psychological, and spiritual experiences for her clients. Her office is located in Manhattan.

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