Wednesday, April 15, 2009


What is despair and how do we deal with it? According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, it is a feeling of losing hope and confidence. What happens for us to get to that point of losing our hope or confidence? In most of our lives it is a trigger that sets it off. Losing something that you once had is usually where it starts, like a close friend or family member, losing a job or going through a divorce or even becoming very ill. We all deal with despair differently. Some people fall into a deep depression while others go on about their daily business. Despair can cause physical illness as well as mental. Our bodies are so consumed with the loss of life, health or job that we ignore the signs that we need to keep it healthy. Numerous instances have occurred where the loss of a spouse can bring on despair so strong that the surviving spouse dies soon thereafter.

So, what do we do when we know we are in despair and how do we bring ourselves back out of it. I’m sure that Psychologists around the world have written numerous studies and documents on treatment of despair, but to a lay person we just want to get through to the next day. I don’t speak from a lot of experience, but I have lost a valued job and a close family member. Losing the family member was the hardest and longest to come out of so each instance can have a different range of intensity with death being the highest. If you have never experienced the death of a parent, child or spouse, then you may not understand the length of time involved to “get back to normal” if you ever can. I think that we can have hope again and gain our confidence back to continue with our life and enjoy the life we have left. Time here is the only thing that we know is constant and time will be the only thing that will ease the pain.

So again what do we do to ease the pain of loss? There are several ways to help ease the pain and one is immersion in hobbies, other family members, work, friends, etc. Sometimes just the simple act of doing something with your hands will put your mind at ease and let it focus on something other than loss. Some people offer tributes by creating shrines, while others eliminate all evidence of the other person. Hopefully, most of us are somewhere in the middle, but here again it is all in how we personally need to deal with the situation and how capable we are mentally to deal with the loss.

My purpose for writing this is for my own well being and future reference. There are times that I need to remind myself that there have been moments in my life where the loss has been significantly higher than what I may be going through at that moment when I feel I am in the midst of despair.

I need to:
Be angry at the loss and not at people.
Let the memories come and recognize them for what they are.
Build that shrine, paint that painting or scrapbook those pictures to remind me of that person and hopefully happier times.
Immerse myself in my hobbies and things that I love to do.
Take time to be sorrowful and not feel bad about it.
Understand that it may be awhile before I feel “normal” again.

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