On World Mental Health Day and Beyond, Hope is a Powerful Currency
October 6, 2021
To mark World Mental Health Day on Sunday, Oct. 10, IFYC alumna Sabriya Dobbins offers this personal reflection:
We live in a time where money seems to rule the world more and more every day. Bank accounts rise for the wealthy while everyone else scrambles to access whatever they can grab onto in order to survive. It is a life full of chaos, uncertainty and fear.
However, there is a deficit in the accounts of many people that is greater than the one of physical money. We are facing a crisis of hope. Hope is a currency that can be duplicated endlessly as there is no Federal Reserve needed to back up its value. Hope is accessible to every single person and has the capacity to overflow, and in contrast to a bank account, hope has no withdrawal penalties or transaction fees in sight.
While hope is the most widely available currency in the world, it has been left in the street to die, simply thrown aside and even ripped from the hands of others. The loss of hope in any capacity is not a victimless crime. Our mental health has been suffering greatly, with our minds trying their best to recoup the lost light in our souls using whatever coping process there is, regardless if it brings harm. Substance abuse, isolation, depression, anger, anything it takes, the mind is willing to act in order to address the consequences of long lost hope. Even the financially wealthiest can be the poorest if their hope accounts lie dormant and empty.
I know what it is like to live without hope. I remember the poverty of my own soul. The painful thoughts in my mind nipped at me like daggers: “The world might be a better place without you. You never do anything right.” My hope was wavering because things were not going in life the way I had wanted them to. Loss, painful experiences, career mishaps, and money struggles, and everything all became too much to bear.
One of the biggest fires to engulf my life was the near complete loss of my business I had worked so hard to build for several months, hundreds and hundreds of hours. When the pandemic hit, we lost everything. Refunds, tears, and depression were the highlights of my day to day. On top of this, my family was dealing with a severe mental health incident of my younger brother. It broke us as all we wanted to see was him be okay and we wanted the happy man we once knew to come back. I felt like I failed to fix everything, my family, my business—I could not fix it, therefore I was not good enough. The world was falling apart and no matter how hard I tried to put the pieces together, they kept sliding between my hands. All hope was abandoned, lost at sea.
I felt like I was alone in the journey and I could not tell anyone I was hurting because I would become the failure that I wanted to avoid being so badly. I felt stuck inside my own hole of darkness, with my hope account depleting at compounding speeds. But then a hand reached out through the thick, dark air. I could barely see it in the distance, yet I knew it was my way out. I decided to share my truth, my pain with those I loved and trusted.
Through counseling, new coping strategies, familial support, and most importantly, my faith in God within Christianity, I was able to stop the bleeding and my hope account has been recovering ever since. Prayer became my sole source of income, my sole source of hope. I find faith to be one of the most fruitful sources of hope, even in the darkest hours.
I think about everything going on in the world. The terrible crimes, the hatred, the separations, the losses, and I know it is easy to think, why try? Why keep going when everything is going the wrong way? Why not just go out my way rather than let the world take me down? In this time of mental health crisis, suicide has invaded the lives of one too many families. But I want to share some words of wisdom to remind you why giving up cannot be the option of your today nor your tomorrow.
I had an encounter with the Angel of Death during my time of emotional chaos who gave me the chance to leave this world. She came to me in a dream, but God told me that I had more left to do. I knew it was not my time .. so much more left to give. With everything, I leave you with these words of hope imprinted on my heart:
“ You have so much left to give. You have so much to provide. If you do not give yourself the chance to find out, then you just might not very well ever know. Someone needs to hear your story just as much as you possibly needed to read mine.
There are hands still left to grab.
There are hearts still left to fill.
There are impacts still left to be made if they Angel of Death has not come to take you away.
We are both lucky enough to choose life daily and I am grateful for it. I am grateful for you. You know what I think we are most lucky to have of all? I believe we are lucky enough to choose to believe that the sun will shine tomorrow.
We get to believe HOPE will live another day. And this…my friend is the greatest gift of all.”
-Excerpt from Chapter 12, Stay Alive: Life Skills, Vol. 3
In this time of darkness, hope is truly the only way. Hope transcends the test of time. It overrides any physical money or conventional items of value in this world. Hope gives us freedom to believe in a better future even if it is just the slightest change in our circumstances. Hope tells us we can try even if it is hard. As money comes and goes, hope is always accessible and present if we are willing to give or accept a hand now and again. Hope is truly the most powerful currency of all!
If you or someone you know is in crisis please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).
About the Author:
Sabriya Dobbins, award-winning Founder of Project Passport, graduated from North Carolina State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science and Social Work. Currently, she is a Master’s Candidate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Sabriya launched Project Passport, a preventative mental wellness company that hosts transformational experiences. These experiences focus on providing tools and solutions to help company teams, organizations, and women take control of their mental health. After experiencing her own mental health struggles, Sabriya created a sacred space to help others with the “little things” before they become big things that result in breakdowns. For more information, visit @projectpassportllc on Facebook and Instagram.