The Hope Trap and “Do You Think You Can Get Better?” Part 1


The Hope Trap

I took my Hope Trap in to the Art Therapist yesterday.  The Hope Trap was a continuation project and homework assignment after something we did in Art Therapy ages ago.  During that session, the AT had me draw a picture of Pandora’s Box.  I took a piece of paper and used that as my base and then I taped a smaller, rectangular piece of paper on it and then a narrow strip of paper on top of the small paper.  In effect, I made a pocket (Pandora’s Box) with a lid.  I then tore strips of paper and wrote negative feelings on them and put them in the “box.”  I also put Pandora in the box.  The feeling Hope was not in the box…I drew a wall down the far edge of the paper and put Hope on the other side, walling Hope off from Pandora and really Hope was just gone…had escaped and was inaccessible.  So, Pandora was trapped, alone, inside the dark box with all the bad/negative feelings and had not a shred of Hope to cling to.  Of course, Pandora represented me.

The AT had this brilliant idea that I should make a trap…That I could set up a trap and trap Hope and bring it back and so he assigned that as homework.  And I dragged my feet on it.  And then I started it. And then there was the Forgetting Incident and I took the Hope Trap apart…But that AT, he doesn’t forget these homework assignments and so he brought it up again and so I started on it again.  And here it is.


I made a terrarium. For me, plants and growing things and seeds and nurturing green beauty is all a hopeful process.  There is such potential in seeds and plants and all they need is a little love and encouragement and they will grow and blossom.  That seems pretty hopeful to me.  And no one judges a plant…If a plant doesn’t grow, no one says, “That plant is stupid or lazy or bad so it won’t grow.” They say, “Maybe it needs more light, or more water or maybe a new and bigger pot.” And they try to bring forth its potential.  They Hope for its potential and for the unfurling of the beauty of the plant.

And seeds specifically are super hopeful.  They have un-marred potential.  You can look at a seed and just know that with that with the right care, it will unfold and grow and become what it was meant to be.  And it is both a simple process and a complex process….And for me, it is just steeped in Hope.  So, my representation of Hope (Part 2 of the Hope Trap assignment) is a yellow sun (my happy color and happy icon) with marigold seeds on glued to it.  If I took some soil, and gently buried that sun and watered it, the seeds will sprout and grow and eventually bloom.  Right there, that sun is tangible Hope.  And marigolds…yellow and orange and spritely and cheerful, they are their own little suns.  So it is kind of Happy Hope inside of Happy Hope.  It’s practically Hope overload!


Oh…and I almost forgot!  I put a little glass bluebird in the terrarium.  It needed something else in it besides the plants and I am still spending a lot of time thinking about the “What if I fall?/What if you fly?”  concept, so the bluebird seemed to me to be the right thing to add to the terrarium.


So, I took the Hope Trap in and explained all that (or most of that) to the AT.  And then we talked about my other plants and I showed him some pictures of them, because I have a lot of plants.  Plants make me feel good, so I surround myself with them in my craft room.

“Do you think you can get better?” Part 1

Later, after our conversation sort of wandered here and there, the AT asked, “Do you think you can get better?”  And he caught me totally off guard.  I didn’t know what to say.  What I did not say is that I have to think I can get better.  If I don’t think I can get better, then there is no point to therapy, no point to trying, no point to living. So, even if I am not sure I will get better, I have to think I can, it’s kind of not a choice.  And while I was thinking that, I also thought to myself that if there is something organically wrong with my brain chemistry, something that cannot be fixed, then there is no way I can get better.  Well…I guess I could take meds to fill in the chemical gaps and I guess that would count as getting better…

Of course, the AT was waiting for an answer…And I didn’t know what to say.  Do I think I can get better?  I have no idea.  None.  So, I told him, “I don’t know.” And that is the truth.

I have more to say on this topic….About why the AT asked me if I think I can get better…But that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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