I had lost hope.

I didn’t know what it was going to take to keep going. Everything I had worked for and committed myself to had crumbled away. I had nothing to show for 10+ years of effort. Friends of mine were beginning to talk about retirement. Guys my age do that. They are making plans to finish their rat race and move into a season of life where they can begin to enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labor.

That was not going to be the case for me.

Hope was dried up. At my age, I thought I’m too old to try again. I had bet the farm and lost. I had followed my dream and it became a nightmare. What good could possibly come out of this failure? I might as well give up. That was how my thought process went. Nowhere to go but down.

I believe people are not as stupid as they are short-sighted. Folks make decisions that make sense in the moment, even if that moment is very short lived. That YOLO tattoo your friend got that night she was really drunk seemed like a great idea at the time. But when she looked down at her ankle and saw the evidence the next morning, the good idea the night before just became a huge regret.

Depression can lead to similar decisions. The pain a depressed person feels begs of a need to find relief. Something needs to be done right now to help it all go away. And it can end poorly.

This is why I believe we can’t hope alone. We need others who are in their right minds to help guide us through dark times to help keep us from doing something stupid, something we will regret permanently if we aren’t careful.

I will forever be grateful to my lawyer who acted as my beacon of hope during my darkest of days. He said to me, “Shinn, I’ve done probably 1500 cases like this. You will get through it. Trust me. You will. And somewhere down the road we’ll have a beer and reminisce about it together.”

I did.  And we did.

If you know someone who is depressed, be patient with them. Don’t try to fix them. Nor should you believe there is nothing you can do. You have hope. Spread it around. It can be shared. Maybe the reason you have it is because someone close to you needs it.

When did you get that YOLO tattoo?