Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

Feeling desperate is often associated with the feeling that the situation you’re in is so bad that nothing you can do will make it better, that all hope to reach your goals is lost, or that you can’t prevent something bad from happening. Desperation is often experienced together with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that make you feel cut off and disconnected from your friends and family. Your mind may feel clouded with negativity, you lack mental strength, motivation, and hope. You 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 you into thinking that they are the reflection of reality and that nothing can “save” you from feeling that way. That is simply not true.

What is it telling you?

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

How to manage it?
  • Develop your awareness so you can easily identify feelings of desperation when they arise. Remember that you can only change the things you’re aware of. Awareness is key.
  • Don’t let your feelings of desperation take over your life. Breathe and meditate to restore peace and quiet in your body and your mind. As long as there is chaos and loud chatter in your head, you will not be able to relax and have the clarity of mind necessary for you to be open for a solution to come to you, and recognize it when it does show up.
  • Revive the spark of hope. Don’t 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 you.