desperationIf you have ever felt you had a problem which you had to face on your own, and alone, then you will probably recognise what desperation feels like.

Feeling that your problem can’t be solved is common, the fact is there are few problems which cannot be resolved, so what is it that makes us feel that  there is no way out and turns normally rational people into desperate people?

Fear heightens any problem, its a well known phrase “Nothing is as bad as it seems” whilst this is often the case in hindsight, when we are desperate and in the depths of despair, its a completely different feeling.

I remember being in crisis only too well, those desperate years will always have an impact on my life now, its part of the reason I do what I do, part of the reason I volunteered as a Samaritan. I want to be there for people who are desperate and in despair.

Desperation and despair, I mean real despair is something which robs us of all rational thoughts. I remember and knew I had a handful of good friends, but the fear stopped me from sharing and asking for their support. Shame and the fear of being judged was too big to risk talking to anyone about, actually, I did talk to some people that didn’t know me. It’s sometimes difficult to talk to people we know, when things are not going our way. Being able to talk anonymously to them probably saved my sanity.

I remember in the darkest times, it was only the fact that I knew I would hurt others if I totally gave up, that kept me going. At that time work and sleep were all I knew. These are important, the work focuses the mind and gives us something else to think about, we can often function, albeit, not fully. I used to just about manage my job.

When the work is finished and desperate people head home, that’s when the despair returns, my own strategy for three years was to pull the covers over my head and sleep, that offered me the only known escape from the mental torture of despair and feelings that there was no way out. Feeling alone and with no resolution is exhausting and sleep was probably a necessity in reality, but for me it was my only escape at that time. Unresolved despair can easily turn into depression, so it is important to recognise despair and do something about it, talking about problems always helps.

So how do we rise up from despair, well we need hope at least. This can come from a tiny glimmer, for me it was about a new environment. If I could not function where I was with the people around me, then I had to move. Sometimes we don’t have to move far, there can be a world of difference in attitudes in only a few miles. I am speaking here of how I felt it was, my perception, which I now know was totally wrong, because it was my fear holding me back, not the people around me..

The people who liked me, still like me and the people who loved me still love me. The people who like and love you, will still like and love you too!

So when you are in despair remember these important facts:

  • Nothing is ever as bad as we fear
  • Every problem and challenge has a fix or resolution
  • Our friends will still be our friends
  • The people who love us, will still love us
  • If we change our environment it sometimes helps
  • If we stay put and ask for help, we will usually get it
  • There is always someone who will help
  • When things don’t go your way – ask for help

If I had really known and believed the above, then the time I tortured myself would have been a lot less. If I sought anonymous comfort and help sooner, I would have saved a lot of self hurt and seen that there was a way out.

Ultimately asking for help anonymously is what gave me the courage to start to realise that my perception was all wrong, having a stranger listen and help me understand my problems was the first step to allowing the good friends in my life to help me through it.

We all need a helping hand at some time in our lives, there is no one alive, nor has there ever been who could do it all on their own. Desperation can make us feel alone, but we are never alone.

So if you are dealing with something which you feel you can’t fix, or that no one can help you with, then you are probably very wrong. I would like you to talk to the people I shared my hurt with. The Samaritans will listen and help you with any problem.

I would also like to pay tribute here to the very ordinary but extraordinary people in every city, village and town right across the globe who offer their time free, and provide 24 hour a day, 365 days a year support to the desperate and suicidal.

The Samaritans – website link

Befrienders International – website link

Written by – Paul Parkin – Online counsellor, therapist and life coach. 

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’

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Author Bio

Online counselling with UK qualified counsellor Paul ParkinPaul Parkin Dip. Coun. I am a counsellor, therapist and life coach. I am passionate about helping people who are hurting or in crisis. My goal is to help people reach their full potential by providing affordable counselling online to people everywhere via my counselling website – Counsellors Online.

I have worked as a counsellor for the past 11 years, I have worked in several counselling settings, including – The National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) the NHS. North East Council on Addictions (NECA) and Several telephone helplines including The Samaritans.

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