The Happiness Project – Dear Hope Premiere

Dear Hope is proud to premier “The Happiness Project” by Zach Cooper. Find the video and a little passage from Zach himself below.

“My inspiration behind this video was to give people a break from all the negativity they constantly see on all social media platforms on a daily basis. It also serves as a friendly reminder that you don’t need to travel the world or spend a ton of money to find happiness in your life. You can find happiness in your daily routine, or with someone you love, or just being in a space you love to be in and I tried to capture that with everyone that was in front of my camera. I also wanted this video to be something you can watch if you’re down and out about life to hopefully bring a smile to your face.

I won’t lie this video came with a lot of different challenges, like finding people to actually film. Countless amounts of people showed interest but we either couldn’t meet up because of scheduling conflicts or for some other reason. Not to mention I ended up moving out of my hometown and had to make new connections and friends to film while this project was already moving along.


I can’t thank the people that were willing to be a part of this enough. I especially thank the people of New York City that would meet me in random spots throughout the city to film for an hour that had no idea who I was at first but we ended up forming friendships out of this and I love that. Life is moving at an incredibly fast pace and I hope this video slows you down and you take a moment to enjoy it, enjoy where you are and the people who are there with you.

Lastly, I thank Dear Hope and my good friend Paul for listening to this idea in it’s very early stages and having enough patience to let it fully bloom into what it’s become.”


Leave some comments below for Zach and check out his other work!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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A Lens Into Our World dear hope

Poetry: “Don’t” by Caroline Koty

The shiny metal that kisses your skin
So sweetly
So precisely
The crimson that trickles like a flowing river
The moisture that lets me know I’m still breathing
The cold soft touch of the blade
The pressure that sends relief
The pain escaping from within and moving to out
Your soul is unleashing the chains
Your arm is releasing the pain
The soul was so hurt it couldn’t manage
It could not use the positive self talk
The meditation
The therapy
The soul was consumed
Consumed by the “me toos”
The what ifs
The you’re weak
Something you put everything into and received nothing from
The body was calm
Floating in an abyss of carefree concerns
But the the body awoke
Gushing excretion from its veins
Screaming to be wanted
To be caressed to be appreciated
The body wanted everything the soul never knew existed


Thanks to Caroline for sending in this poem. Leave a comment below about what you think!

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Creative Pieces dear hope

Debut Music Video From Hazel Bloom: “Was It All Worth It” – Dear Hope Premiere

Before we premiere the video, Dave Carlin, the singer and songwriter of Hazel Bloom, wanted to open up about his past struggles and the inspirations for the song and debut album, Temporary.


 I first started writing songs for this album about a year and a half ago during one of the most emotionally draining periods of my life. I was dealing with depression, anxiety, and derealization, which felt like they were deteriorating my body. I was undergoing these symptoms for about 6 months before I even knew what was happening to my health. I had just ended a seven year long relationship and lost a good friend in a car accident. I spent a third of my life with this person, so it was a huge impact on my mental health to lose them. I always imagined that losing a friend would be difficult, but you never really feel the full emotion of it until it happens.


I’ve always had trouble with these kinds of difficult situations. It was hard for me to express how I was feeling, and I bottled up a lot of emotion, which lead to a lot of unhealthy choices. I was drinking almost every night, sleeping most of the day and was late to work consistently. I was completely focusing all my efforts into forgetting and keeping my mind off of the past. I rarely expressed my thoughts and because of this, I caused a lot of problems in past relationships and friendships.


I spent seven years with a person I considered my best friend. From the ages of 14 to 21, I was growing into myself and finding what it was I was passionate about. From a teenager to an adult, I spent almost all of this time with one person, and it was extremely hard to cope with removing them from my life. It took a huge toll on my health, and my mental stability. Some of the best times of my life were with this person and I became so comfortable that I thought it was impossible to live without them.


So, I decided that writing this album would be a good way to express my feelings about situations I’ve been holding on to for so long and finally start to let go. I could place my feelings and thoughts over the past years into this album as part of a healing process that I would be able to look back on. I’d be able to look at how much I’ve grown over time and be able to remember the good times – not just the bad ones. It’s been almost 3 years, and some of the feelings still eat me alive from time to time, but I’m making progress.


My friend, Mike Hazel, who passed away in January of 2016 had a huge influence on this album and band. He was always into the music scene and I knew he wanted to be in a band which is something I could really relate with. He’s also the reason why I named the project ‘Hazel Bloom’. I wanted to create a type of art that resonates not only his presence but for anyone that has ever lost somebody or something. Even though they are not in this life anymore, I wanted to make something that still projects their presence; something to show that they still are making an impact on people in a positive way and to show that their presence. They are still in ‘Bloom’.


‘Temporary’ is what I decided to call this album/ art project I’ve been working on. As I mentioned before, when I started writing this, I was going through some very mentally strenuous times. But as time progressed I discovered a platform I could use to help me express myself, and things seem to be getting a lot better. My depression and anxiety seemed to be subsiding and I began feeling happy in my skin again. I’ve been working on talking about stressful and uncomfortable situations and I think it’s made me a healthier person. This made me think that even though things were dark for a while, those feelings are all temporary.

The other half of why I named this album Temporary is because I’ve had a lot of relationships, partnerships, and friendships fall apart. Countless people have come in and out of my life, some good and some not so great. But I’ve learned to cherish all those people as I’ll never know when they could disappear from my life. Although I don’t talk or see most of those people anymore, I like to remember all the great times I had with them. I wouldn’t change any of them for anything,. Those people and experiences help make me who I am today and I am very grateful for those experiences and those people.

Dave CD

Album art for the upcoming album, “Temporary”.

Most of all, I want anyone who encounters my art to be able to feel something. Whether this art brings back good experiences and memories or makes you cherish the people and experiences you have now, I hope you can feel it.

Because I know sometimes when you feel lost and it’s hard to feel any emotion at all.

View the brand new debut video from Hazel Bloom: “Was It All Worth It” below. And be sure to check out the full album Temporary when it releases later this year on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

The photos in this article were taken by the wonderful Giana Murphy. Check out her own post, The Insecurity Project, for Dear Hope here.

Video shot and edited by Zach Cooper. Find him on Instagram here.

Follow Hazel Bloom on Twitter and Facebook.

Always remember that you are not alone.

You are loved.


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Article dear hope

The Many Forms of Self Harm

**Trigger warning: self harm

It’s been over a year since I last wrote something down for this site. I’ve been thinking and reflecting a lot lately, however, and feel I’ve come to a new understanding about myself personally that I just needed to write down somewhere.

I’m incredibly self-destructive in ways that I never really realized.

It’s a weird thing to say out loud. I never really considered myself to be someone who was that self-destructive, but there are certain patterns and habits I’ve developed over the years, including how I run this site, that make me realize that I’m self-sabotaging in ways a few years ago I would’ve never even acknowledged.

It’s seeing an email come in about someone submitting to the site, and deciding to wait to answer it.

It’s getting this website to a point where it could really grow into something even bigger, and then stepping back and not following through.

It’s having years of experience writing music, but feeling anxious and afraid every time I try to write something new.

It’s becoming less personal with friends after they’ve seen certain parts of you, parts that you tell others it’s okay to show.

It’s having a skill set and numerous talents that you stop pursuing because you’re bored.

It’s limiting the jobs you apply to because your head constantly tells you that you’re not good enough to do the jobs you know you’re qualified for.

It’s self-harm without the actual physical pain. 

It’s all of these small actions and thoughts amplified over time, building and building until you’re left with a scar when you weren’t even aware there was a wound to begin with. I’ve been self-harming for years and wasn’t even aware of it.

And I feel so incredibly empty right now from it.

We have a tendency to think of self-harm in a very specific blade-on-skin kind of way. But the truth of the matter is that self-harm can encompass all different kinds of self-destructive behavior. The depression and anxiety in my life that I identify with definitely aid in these recurring behaviors. It’s a reminder that I’m still struggling every day, and I’m trying to find new ways to push forward. It’s all I can do with this new information I know about myself.

Because honestly I’m not too sure what else to do.

But there’s always the comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.

And you’re not alone.

You are loved.

Paul Falcone

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Article dear hope

Of Two Minds


I don’t normally over explain my work as I’m happy for people to find their own meaning. This is a pretty personal piece as it’s a self-portrait.

I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since ’09. Before that, they thought it was depression, and before that, schizophrenia. Since I was correctly diagnosed and got onto the right medication, things have been more manageable. I still have highs and lows, but I’m a bit more balanced.

My psychiatrist has been very supportive of my artwork as it has become a form of therapy for me. Combined with some lifestyle changes (no alcohol, no meat, no excuses), art has made a big difference in my day-to-day life.

“Of Two Minds” is the name of a really good documentary on BPD, and my piece is a nod to that as it helped me in my recovery, too. The piece itself is really a bipolar Venn diagram with the purple face representing mania, the blue face representing depression, and the space where they interlink is where that ever-elusive balance is hiding!




The artist, Chris, with his piece

A huge shoutout to Chris Eaton, otherwise known as Stanley Sprays, for sharing his story and this phenomenal piece of art with us. For many, creativity and art can be essential in our recovery. We are so grateful to Chris for sharing that message and showing how art has helped him manage his own struggles.

If you want to see more art from Chris, you can find him on Instagram and his personal website. Chris also has a really fantastic clothing line; you can find that on both Instagram and their website.  Be sure to give lots of love to Chris in the comments!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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A Lens Into Our World dear hope

1 in 4: a selection from “Behind The Mask” by Rivka Korf

1_Rivka Korf.jpg

Hands of Dread


2_Rivka Korf.png

Relief at Last


5_Rivka Korf.jpg

Screaming Hydra


7_Rivka Korf.jpg

Mask of Hands


A big thank you to Rivka for sharing her beautiful artwork with us. These four pieces were part of a larger exhibition called Behind The Mask, a solo exhibition highlighting the inner struggle of 1 in 4 Americans. You can find the full collection on her website, and more of her artwork on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to give Rivka lots of love in the comments!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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Artwork dear hope

you are loved

stay with me.

right here,

right now.


it’s so much easier to love you

when you aren’t so far away.

it’s so much easier to hug you

when you aren’t so far away.


i love you over here

i love you over there

but most importantly

i love you everywhere.


i love you to the moon and back.

back to the moon again

and then far beyond that.


you may be asking

who is this for?

i’m not even sure.


my love is for everyone

and everything

and everywhere

because nothing

and nobody

deserves to feel unloved.

and i love everyone with passion




Thanks to Rachel for sharing another of her beautiful poems. You can read her previous submission here. Be sure to give her some love in the comments!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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Creative Pieces dear hope

World Suicide Prevention Day: a conversation

What’s most agonizing about suicidal thoughts are not the thoughts themselves, but the confusion behind them.

For what it’s worth, I want to live. There are hundreds of things I haven’t done, places I haven’t gone to, people I haven’t met, feelings I haven’t felt. Sometimes just the vastness of my “haven’t done yet”s make me so anxious, it cripples me into doing nothing at all. Motivation: lost.

I want to live, I do. I haven’t finished my first book (ETA, December 2017). I haven’t road-tripped across the country, purchased a piece of furniture, or learned how to rollerblade. I still haven’t broken my nail-biting habit (it’s gross, I know, okay?), and I still haven’t mastered ASL (working on it, though). There are things I want–maybe even need–to do before my time on earth is up, things that keep me up at night (maybe not the rollerblading thing, but definitely that impending CC-road trip). There is so much left to say, to do, to feel. I want to say it all, do it all, feel it all.

I want to live.

But sometimes? I just don’t.

Sometimes I convince myself that I am not worthy of love, of friendship, of the opportunities I’ve been given, of the oxygen flowing into my lungs. Sometimes I convince myself that those around me see me as nothing more than a burden, a nuisance, a blemish they cannot get rid of. Sometimes I convince myself that they will be better off without me. Sometimes I convince myself that my bedroom contains all I’ll ever need, and that leaving the comfort of it will bring me only anxiety, only sadness, only more feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I convince myself that it would be easier to disappear than it would be to continue trying to find comfort in visibility, that it would be easier to end the cycle of misery at my own hands than to continue living a life I will never truly love.

On today, World Suicide Prevention Day, I want to open up a dialogue about suicidal thoughts and ideation. An uncomfortable conversation that many people are afraid to have, myself included. But not having the conversation at all has proven to be less-than-ideal. That almost innate refusal to speak on the things that are difficult hasn’t helped anyone suffering from mental illness.

It took a long time to feel comfortable enough to even say I dealt with suicidal thoughts and ideation. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and scared. I didn’t know what I was feeling, I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling, and I didn’t think anyone should have to listen to me attempt to explain what was going on inside my head. Living alone with my self-deprecation felt easier than burdening anyone else with those morbid thoughts I couldn’t even explain to myself.

So, openly offering my support to those who may need is is the step I’m taking today. I don’t want anyone to feel as if they are alone in their more difficult emotions, alone in dealing with the urges they bring up, or alone in their confusion behind the things they are feeling. I want to be the person I needed when I was younger, a sounding board for the suicidal ideation thrust upon me that I didn’t quite know how to navigate despite feeling everything so harshly and so deeply.

Open up a productive dialogue with your loved ones today. I know I’ll be doing the same for mine.

“Suicide prevention is important to me because I am alive because of people who cared enough to make sure I was okay” –

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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Article dear hope

A poetry selection: Ali Zagame Part 1

**Trigger Warning: mentions of self-harm, death, and suicide



The first thing that I ever learned as an infant was how to keep myself from choking.

Reason being: I refused to eat bite sized pieces of anything. I wanted to rip fruit from the seed with my infantile, underdeveloped teeth and rejected meat unless my mom put the slab of beef, pork, or lamb on my highchair, bone, if applicable, attached. Cheerios? Hell no Give me an adult meal and no fork, thank you. When my grandmother first came to visit me, she was appalled until she watched me slap my own back and continue on eating like I wasn’t a baby, but a competitive eater with sauce or blood dripping down my chin. I loved my food rare or raw, which only made it a tad more gruesome and alarming.

But I never choked.

The next thing I learned was how to save money. I learned that store-brand orange juice is 37 cents cheaper and still just as good. I learned that white lies aren’t so harmful because it’s better not to tell dad that you need new clothes and simply buy them instead, let him explode all at once each month, try to hide the fact that you’re growing, learn not to feel so guilty when mom takes the blame when you know it was you begging for that shirt, learn to love the words “you’ll grow into it,” fall in love with two pairs of sweatpants and trade them off, learn to ignore the comments asking if you own anything else because you don’t need to if it makes dad angry at your mom–it isn’t worth that because a peaceful night is priceless, learn to laugh at the surprise on that one day when you were 13 and wore that old pair of jeans in the back of your closet because mom was sick and couldn’t do laundry.

But I never choked.

I learned my pain is not the worst, and will never be. My hospital visits, my crying on Winnie the Pooh beanbag chairs screaming “Will I always feel like this?,” my sleeping on slanted beds and migraines and my burning throat became a splinter at the sight of her. The girl a couple grades above me. The one with the dark brown hair who lost one and a half lungs to a bad inhaler and sounds like she already met God. I can’t remember her name now but I never felt pain when I saw her in the waiting room.

But I never choked.

I learned from the nice police officer who visited us in middle school that your boyfriend can’t sexually assault you. If you’re dating him, then him stealing first kisses, grabbing you by the waist, and dry humping you in the townhouse basement when you squirmed away to the sound of your friend’s birthday party upstairs is considered dating troubles. I called the “nice” police officer and had to apologize for wasting his time because I didn’t recognize that my relationship was immune to the word “no,” I didn’t realize my willingness to hold his hand gave him permission to struggle with my training bra; I learned what rape did to someone the next school year when a girl in gym class told me the same boy lured her to his home. I learned sympathy doesn’t break popularity ranks when I asked to sit next to her at lunch and was denied. I thought I would never let it happen to me and learned later that it wasn’t going to be a matter of “letting it” because it wasn’t my choice.

But I never choked.

I learned that cutting yourself is difficult with nail clippers when there isn’t anything sharper in reach. I learned that sometimes your blood looks orange when you’re sick, and that missing your period because you starved yourself is not a goal, but an illness. I learned that if your mother finds out, she may force feed you cereal and Bible quotes, trying to fix your stomach, not knowing that it isn’t broken, but simply tired. I learned donuts have never tasted so good until you give up self-loathing.

But I never choked.

I learned the only way to get over your father calling you “worthless” and meaning it is when he apologizes for it on a hospital bed after having a stroke, and even then, it may take some time. I learned the only teacher you have that is going to make an attempt to understand why your homework is overdue is the one in the wheelchair because he wasn’t always in that seat and he knows what it’s like to feel unable to stand. He knows the difference between you passing out in the corner of the classroom after driving your father to the ER to cough up blood and the student with the Blink-182 tattoo sleeping after watching Adult Swim down the hall from his healthy parents last night.

But I never choked

I learned the difference between walking and marching for change; I learned that Title IX is a fancy way of saying fuck your trauma. I learned that PTSD isn’t just for soldiers and even if I never saw war to get it, that doesn’t mean I’m not fighting. I learned how to swallow worry and drink it down with cold sweats. I learned what the fuck a cold sweat was. I learned how to lie to a psychiatrist and pretend so well you almost believe you’re healing yourself until you look in the mirror and realize how fake it all is. I would wonder why my hair wasn’t greyer and how I still had all my teeth. I learned how to live.

But I never choked.





Brandi was the last resort friend with a reputation preceded by the tears in her jeans that ran just an inch too high up her thigh, shirts that pushed dress code buttons and left gaps in the ones straining to keep the tissues of her push-up bra in place. Brandi taught me biting is fair game when you’re fighting, and not to trust the friend that bites you. Brandi drew my blood, but left scars in less easily healed places. She drew blood with what came out of her mouth, rather than the skin her teeth latched to.

The first time I cut, Brandi told me that I couldn’t be serious about hurting myself until the scars were vertical.

That’s how you know someone’s in trouble: when the lines on their wrist are less like morbid bracelets and more like a parody of veins.

The second time I hurt myself I whispered “don’t be a pussy about it,” and made sure that shit was a vertical line. “You don’t cut yourself to feel the pain,” I said. “I cut to die.”

I wanted someone to know what I was capable of; I didn’t even wear those gothic fingerless gloves that made me feel like I was hiding something. I tucked my hair behind my ear when it was already resting there; I pretended to look embarrassed. I held that wrist with my other hand. I raised my left hand when the teacher called on me that day because I wanted the world to know I was serious.

In making my statement that I wasn’t doing this for attention, I begged for attention.

My neon pants said “notice me.” The downward gaze said “but don’t talk to me unless you’re actually going to help.” I was motherfucking sick of youth group leaders and homeschooled snobs saying they’d “pray for me,” washing their hands clean with the smile: problem solved. Maybe I was dirty to them, but you have to get your hands dirty to help someone who has spent the days wading through bullshit.

My large, broken-heart choker necklace shouted that I was already halfway to strangling myself. My attitude became the stereotype for the quiet girl in the movies that is screaming internally for human interaction. Prove her wrong that you’re just another “friend” that hates the sound of rain when it sleeps. You won’t stay for the bad weather, so why bother? In my town, it is flooding.

You do not cut to see the blood, to feel the pain, the force that cry upward. You cut to die. I cut to die.

I wish I knew then that it was okay to ask for help.

But more importantly, I wish I knew then that it was okay if someone refuses help.

It’s not okay that they leave you drowning. It’s not okay that they don’t give a reason and expect you to know why the relationship you grew died. It’s not okay when they’ll teach you the difference between laughing with and laughing at by accusing and pointing fingers. It’s not okay that they say, “You’ll go to hell.” It’s not okay when they wish you there. It’s not okay that they tell you to speed up the process and cut a little deeper.

But it’s okay, because you’ll be okay.


Ali Zagame, the author


This is part 1 of 2 in a poetry selection written by the extremely talented Ali Zagame. You can find more poetry (and some music!) from Ali on her website, Facebook, and Bandcamp. Be sure to check in next week for part 2, and give lots of love to Ali in the comments!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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dear hope poetry Thoughts An Anonymous Diary: Poems Prose Lyrics and More

A poetry selection: Mouse

**Trigger Warning: suicide, self-harm


do you

do you know what its like to always wonder
to always worry
to always fear
to always second guess
to always wander in your mind
do you know what its like to cry because you have
no one
or what its like to want to die because you have
no one
and do you ever wish you had someone
but all you do is avoid everyone



the note

i didnt realize how bad id gotten
sitting in my car
1:23 am
tears running down my face
like an infinite waterfall
sending silent prayers to anything out there
deciding i wanted it all over
i needed it to stop
while everyone fantasized about their future
i fantasized about my ending
anything sounded fine
1:37 am
running bath water
writing a note
i find one already written
1:41 am
draining bath water



Big thanks to Mouse for sharing her work with us. We love being able to share such vulnerable, beautiful poetry like this. Be sure to live some love to Mouse in the comments.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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dear hope poetry Thoughts An Anonymous Diary: Poems Prose Lyrics and More