The other kind of hope

I am an optimistic person. My optimism borders on religious; when I despair, it is all that I have. I am good at finding silver linings, at genuinely feeling fortunate or lucky or grateful for the little upturns of bad situations. I enjoy talking to my father when he has to drive me to work. I like snuggling with Astoria when I have to spend the day in bed. I am grateful for my awesome friends, family and coworkers who help me out. All of these things happen because I am sick, manifestations of the impact my illness has on my life. They give me hope that I can keep doing this.

But there is this other kind of hope, more insidious and malignant. I woke up this morning on my own after sleeping for nine hours. This is the second night in a row I have done this. I felt okay when I woke up. Some bone pain, but overall, better than normal. And then it happened, that dangerous optimism – maybe I’m getting better. Maybe this is when I start to get better.

It never is. I know logically that two days of good sleep doesn’t mean I’m headed for a remission. I wish I didn’t feel these things so intensely. But I do.

Even after all this time, I still can’t believe that I will never get better. I can know it in my mind, but my heart just won’t accept that this is anything but temporary. This hope for impermanence can be so painful.

Sometimes I wish I weren’t so hopeful. It is just so hard to live with the perpetual disappointment.