Be Hopeful During This Coming Year: Hope For Those Who Are Sick, Hope For Reform, Hope For Recovery

(12-31-18) You must have hope!

That is the message I delivered before Christmas to four families who contacted me about an adult child who either was hospitalized, incarcerated or on the verge of both.

One young man had been arrested for trespassing, one of the most common excuses used to jail someone who is clearly in the midst of a psychotic break. One had gotten into an altercation with police while delusional. Another was a confused family whose psychiatrist simply threw up her hands and abandoned a patient after prescribing a slew of powerful antipsychotics. No references. No advice about how to wean oneself from the drugs. Simply: I’m dropping you as a patient.

Incidents such as these infuriate me. But anger is counterproductive unless it spurs advocacy.

Whenever I receive emails about individuals in crisis, I remember when our son Kevin was doing poorly. I remember how he was arrested after breaking into an unoccupied house to take a bubble bath. I remember how he was twice shot with a taser later by police. I remember how he was repeatedly hospitalized during six horrible years. I remember the sleepless nights, the constant worry, the nagging fears for his future.

Today, Kevin is doing fabulously. He is working full-time as a peer specialist, buying a house with his mother, and only a year away from earning a masters degree in social work. I am proud of him and I am a lucky parent. I sometimes feel a form of survivor’s guilt but then I remember how inspiring it was when Kevin was sick and I met someone who had recovered! It gave me hope.

Most people who get sick can and do get better. Not everyone, but most – if they receive the help that they need and accept it.

This is why it is so important for those who love them and those who are ill to cling to hope. You must believe a better day is coming.

Writer Hal Lindsey said it best. “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

My New Year wish for you is that you have hope in your hearts as we move into the coming year.


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.