Then to Now: Is Hope Serotonin?

June 2017 updated January 2021

The distance between then and now is not great, yet the difference is. From a previous post we know the power of ‘yet’! ‘Then’ was like being covered in a damp grey rag, trapped in a valley with overhanging hills, and low lying cloud. ‘Now’ is a day open to possibility. It is a high plains panorama, where dusty green landscape steps across horizon’s line to take flight into azure skies. Now is when the black dog has run off, and the dove has returned that is hope.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Hope is a will-o-the-wisp, intangible, ephemeral, yet oh so real. You know when it’s there and when not. It is a gossamer string pulling one into the future towards a place of realization. That is hope!

Real but unrealized, yet oh so needed to keep moving forward!

How did such a great change occur over so short a distance?

Why did the black dog run off, and the dove return?

Change in medication is part of the answer, maybe the whole part. If so is hope a chemical, as simple as having enough serotonin in the brain, perhaps? Besides a new medication, there were new experiences too while waiting for the medications to have their full effect: Attending workshops at the Employment Education Centre, meeting with a job coach, redoing my resume, attending a job fair and joining a writer’s group. These were significant in getting me to review and appreciate my abilities. It helped me realize I still have things to offer despite my illness, and the seeming disappointments, plus failures I’ve had in my life up to this point. So others were harbingers of hope for me during this difficult recovery time.

In Genesis Noah sent out a dove three times. It returned twice, the second time with an olive branch. The third time it did not return as the land was now dry enough to find materials to build a nest. Noah’s hope was realized: They could now leave the ark.

Like this dove hope is out there, even when it is not immediate. But to feel this, ah, that’s key, perhaps it’s as short as the distance between one medication and another on a pharmacist’s shelf, or it’s the distance traveled to join a group, or it’s both, or none, or more. It depends as depression affects each person differently as the link to the following article suggests: We may have different breeds of the black dog.

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