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A hope note

If you asked for the world’s foremost therapist for desperate, suicidal people, that might be Aaron Beck, 85-year-old psychiatrist emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Beck spent his life studying and treating despondent people. He found two defective-thinking patterns they had in common. Faulty beliefs ‘ what another cognitive therapist, Albert Ellis, called ‘stinking thinking’ ‘ took them down and kept them there.
The first flaw he found in their thinking was a sense that they were inadequate persons ‘ defective goods, life’s losers who just couldn’t get it right. As in Murphy’s Law, they were convinced that ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong for me.’ Their low opinion of themselves contaminated everything they touched.
Second, they thought of the prevailing state of things as permanent ‘ fixed, static, frozen, stuck. They could see no exit, no way out. It was impossible for them to imagine things ever being better.
But we all know ‘ on our better days, when we’re not depressed ‘ that life doesn’t work that way. We know that things are constantly in flux. And we know how ignorant we are of the way things are going to be one week off, much less a year from now.
I sometimes think of life like the four quarters of a football game, or four trips around the track in the mile run. By those measures, I’m most likely in the last quarter of the game or on my last lap around the track.
But this time of year I prefer to think of life as four seasons. Summer is adolescence. Fall is maturity. Winter is death.
Spring is another chance to be born again. Fuchsia and chartreuse, pink and green overwhelm brown and gray. Once more, all things are possible.

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