Hey everybody! I’m Ashley, and I am the creator of Hope Keeps Living. Since next month is the one-year anniversary of being in existence, I thought I’d write a little something for you all.
I first wrote down the words “Hope Keeps Living” around five years ago, intending to start a new project, but revived it only a year ago—at a time when I desperately needed some positivity in my own life. I was 5 years post college graduation still with no job, struggling with anxiety and depression, and wanting to know what I was meant for. So, I started an instagram account for my project to make posts of things I needed to hear—while simultaneously putting it out in the world hoping that it could be of help to someone else. Then magic happened—you all responded. You reposted our pics with captions of what you felt, and/or what you were experiencing. You commented on posts about how much you “needed to hear that today.” You tagged people who needed affirmation, encouragement, or to be reminded of other things. You encouraged each other through comments, and you even reached out to each other—even to those you didn’t know—to let them know you’re there for them. Thank you, it has been beautiful and heartwarming.
Why did I start Hope Keeps Living? Broken, hurting, and hopeless people especially tug at my heart. I know all too well how it is to live with anxiety and depression—and to sift through the darkness to grasp on to a glimpse of hope. Not only am I aiming to shed light on mental illness and promote mental health—I want to bring awareness to the possibility of hope—that pain, hurt, and other negative experiences don’t last forever. I thought, if I could reach one…just one. One person who wanted to die one moment, and then saw something, read something, or heard something from something or someone that made them have a hope for the future and gave them a reason to stay. One person who thought they had nothing to add, but found they had something to give. One person who thought they had nowhere left to turn, but found resources to find help, or found a new friend they could turn to that’s been down their same road. If I could reach one…just one…all of this would have been worthwhile. I’m not stopping there though—there are so many more people who need to feel hope within their hearts…either for the first time, or revive it once again. I hope to continue to spread a message of hope and inclusion as wide as I, and you, can stretch it.
Please know there is always hope, and there is always a reason to live. You don’t have to go through anything alone—so many of us are here for you. We’re waiting with open arms and open hearts.