Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

Feeling desperate is often associated with the feeling that our current  situation is so bad that there is nothing we can do to make it better, that all hope to reach our goals is lost, or that we can’t prevent something bad from happening. Desperation is often experienced together with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, these make us feel cut off and disconnected from our friends and family. Our mind may feel clouded with negativity; we lack mental strength, motivation, and hope. We also may feel alone and unable to cope appropriately.

It is important to understand that the thoughts that fuel desperation are just that — thoughts. They are neither tangible nor real. They deceive us into thinking that they are the reflection of reality and that nothing can “save” us from feeling this way. That is simply not true.

What is feeling desperate telling your young person?

The message here is that they are not in control of their thoughts that are running the show and that are dragging your young person down a spiral of negativity that seems endless. This perceived sense of powerlessness is alerting them that they are in a sort of disagreement with themselves. There is something they really want in their life, but their unconscious may be telling them stories about how they can’t have that valued thing because they’re either not good enough, they don’t deserve it, or because they’re never lucky anyway. Whatever the reason their mind comes up with, your young person’s thoughts are standing in your young person’s own way. They feel defeated from the get go, and therefore they see defeat as the only possible outcome.

Suggestions for your young person on how to manage feeling desperate?
  • Develop their awareness so they can easily identify feelings of desperation when they arise. Remind them that they can only change the things they are aware of. Awareness is key.
  • Don’t let their feelings of desperation take over their life. They can breathe and meditate to restore peace and quiet in their body and their mind. As long as there is chaos and loud chatter in their head, they will not be able to relax and have the clarity of mind necessary for them to be open for a solution to come to them, and recognize it when it does show up.
  • Revive the spark of hope. Don’t let them ever give in to the fear that all hope is lost. There is always a way out of any situation. Hope brings inner peace and inner peace will empower and inspire them.