Hoping has not been very helpful for me at all, and I have made an effort to avoid it as much as possible. Whenever I observe myself hoping, it's usually a sign that I'm feeling completely hopeless and trying to compensate for it. In fact, I think most of my hoping is driven by the fear that I will NEVER get better. So I hope hope hope that that isn't true, and I often become more fearful and miserable in the process. This isn't to say that I have abandoned the idea that things can change and get better, because change is an inevitable fact of reality. But in my experience, change has very little to do with hope. Most of the self-help books I have read in the past have not served me well when it comes to dealing with this chronic disease. Lately, I have felt inclined to throw them all out. I have found that trusting my intuition and following its lead is a much better option for me than climbing into a neat and tidy pre-fabricated agenda, that someone else made up, and trying to make that work for me. In all honesty, sometimes when I feel really agitated by very hyper-active neuro symptoms, or really depressed from not sleeping for days because of them, all I want to do is wail and scream. And that's what I do. I get in the bathtub (with the door and windows closed, of course) and I wail at the top of my lungs. I chant, shout, sing, rap, bellow, moan --whatever it takes to release my pain and frustrations through sound. One night I sang "ow-eee, ow--eee, ow--eee" over and over and over again for half an hour. On another night I made up Native American sounding chants as I pounded my fist on the side of the tub. I never know what will come out, but I trust my soul to let it out, and I follow through by allowing it. I know it works because I always feel better when I am done. I do the same kind of thing with painting. I allow the feelings to roll out of me in shapes and colors, and I let whatever needs to be expressed and purged come out of me, without repressing it, or controlling it, or filtering, or judging it. It's amazing how powerful the expressive arts can be, if we let them BE EXPRESSIVE. It sure works for me. Being in nature is also helpful. Watching clouds and trees and birds and and especially waves on the ocean... WATCHING WITH MY WHOLE BEING, to the point that I am merging with the scenery and dissolving into it. It makes me feel better to remember I am part of a living planet and that we are all in this together, for better or worse, and that we all (every single life form from bacteria to elephants) are significant to the earth, but only as significant as any other speck of dust in the universe. I have no idea what will work for me on any given day, to make me "feel better," but I am finding that NOT KNOWING, and being willing to find out, can be the most helpful thing of all.