Why Bother Recognizing Desperation?

I do not like the feeling of desperation. It makes me want to do something desperate, rash, risky and regrettable. Yet, who of us have not felt overwhelmed by a sense of despair, that feeling that constricts us; pinning us in and pressing us down. Feeling desperate clouds our reasoning. Unless we consider an alternative, giving into desperation can lead to panic, high anxiety, and hasty and fool hearted decisions. 

The Way of Escape

There are varying degrees of despair and if I compare my losses to yours, mine may seem trivial. But our despair is not comparable to anyone else’s. Instead, what we feel is how we feel and can only be felt by us. Acknowledging our hopelessness can eventually cause us to come to terms with our personal discouragement. As awful as it may feel, as overwhelming as we may get, our despair is ours to feel. 

I’ve often attempted to squirm out from under times of dismay in my own way. For instance, I had no choice but to remain living at home after my father’s suicide. I was, after all, only thirteen. But the atmosphere in the home was one of gloom. Dad’s death had been deemed a mortal sin and therefore an untouchable topic. We all felt his absence, but no one could offer anyone any comfort or hope.

When I was a junior in high school, I hatched the perfect escape plan from my misery; I’d drop out of school, work full time at my part time job and move into an apartment with two other people. Unveiling my idea to Mom was like getting doused with a bucket of cold water; “No way!” 

As desperate as I was to leave home, to get away from her, there was no way of escaping. Not until I turned eighteen, after I graduated from high school, did I move far from home, and what I thought was the source of my despair; Mom.

But lo and behold, moving from Nebraska to Idaho did not mean I’d left my despair behind. Instead it followed me because it resided inside of me. Not until I was courageous enough to take a closer look at the source, blaming others for my heartache, did I face my own sense of hopelessness. 

Why bother recognizing desperation? If desperation is driving our choices, we are headed in the wrong direction. It is never too late to stop, take a closer look and change directions.

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