Raw and Open: The Four Letter Word That Haunts Me

Guest Author: Jody Betty

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

There is one four letter word that haunts me. It rattles around my head daily. It is something I see around me, something I read about on social media but for me — it seems to be elusive.

I feel like it is dangled in front of me but never close enough for me to get a grasp on. It isn’t a concrete object, nor does it hold a concrete meaning. It is one of those words that, not only is interpreted differently by everyone, but its meaning may not be exactly the same for any two people.

The dictionary defines it as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.”

The word I am referring to is HOPE.

Any words of positivity bounce off me like bullets on a Kevlar vest.

As a writer, I like to consider myself a wordsmith of sorts, I think most writers do. It is an art to craft together the right words to form stories, descriptions, fantasies and emotions in a way that is appealing and understood by a wide audience. I think I have that ability, or I am working on it at the very least, however, no matter what words I convey on paper or to others, I cannot feel them for myself. Any words of positivity bounce off me like bullets on a Kevlar vest. I can write positive affirmations until my hand cramps up, read them a million times and they still don’t sink in; my illnesses don’t allow that.

The voice of negativity takes over and swallows those words with the power of Moby Dick. My mind has torn and broken me down so much that I simply can’t accept those words as truths for me.

For me, hope is one of the hardest things to get, and even more difficult to hold onto. I am desperate for ideas or suggestions that may spark something inside of me that finally lights that bulb up.

I sent out a tweet not long ago, asking people what hope meant for them, and the answers were quite varied.

For some people, hope meant fighting to stay alive and getting well for their children, families or loved ones. For others it was the unconditional love of and responsibility of their pets. For many, hope was not something physical, but instead, an idea, or a dream, or the simplicity of the thought that things will get better because in essence, nothing actually remains the same for long. Change is constant, whether we like it or not. Some people suggested to “hold onto them” until I could find my own hope, while others insisted that hope can only come from within.

For me, hope can cause as much damage as it does cause good. Hoping for something and never attaining it just adds to my sense of failure, and that carries from things I want to do in my life to wanting to be somewhat mentally well. When it comes right down to it, our goals and hope are essentially similar. Whether you hope to be a better parent/friend/partner or whether those are your goals are pretty much the same thing.

One day I wish to have feelings of hope again.

So instead of dreaming, or hoping for big things anymore, I am trying to break things down into smaller pieces, into smaller goals, however, achieving these does not provide me with hope. It provides a minor and short lived sense of gratification. At this point in my life, I cannot truly comprehend what hope means for me. Perhaps it is that unconscious human will to live convincing my mind that maybe one day things will get better, or there could be a new medicine that comes on the market that could help my treatment resistant depression, but really, it is my innate survival skills that keep me going day to day.

One day I wish to have feelings of hope again or to be able to have hope about having a future, but until then I hold onto whatever I can that gets me through each hour and day.

Jody Betty is a guest blogger for SickNotWeak who, in her own words, is a master at the art of survival. She lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and is co-afflicted with MDD, Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She has survived three serious suicide attempts and a handful of overdoses which lets her know it isn’t her time. You can read her blog “Raw and Open” posted bi-weekly on Thursdays on SNW.



Hi Jody,
I really enjoyed reading your blog. I can resinate with so many of those feelings. Some days are minute to minute survival days. Thank for writing this important information. Keep it up, truly appreciate it.


This: “Perhaps it is that unconscious human will to live convincing my mind that maybe one day things will get better,” I think it is this.

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