Depression is a problem for people young and old and may be caused by various causes. A feeling of despair may arise due to a lack of expression of angry emotions, self-criticism, or a sense of loathing or grief over loss, chronic stress, or an imbalance in the chemical system.
Although a person might be feeling hopeless due to a myriad of reasons, every person who experiences this apprehension is defined by the conviction that nothing can ever get better and that a solution for the issue is not available.
If feelings of despair are combined with depression or other mental illnesses, the result can be life-threatening and lead to suicide. Individuals who experience despair should contact an expert in medicine or a counselor for assistance in feeling Hopeless.
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Thoughts of the Hopeless
People feeling trapped by hopelessness may have a steady stream of negative internal thoughts, such as “What do I have to look forward to? There’s no future for me,” or “Things will never go back to the way they were,” or “I’m powerless to make things better.” These people may have a hard time caring for themselves or even finding the strength to get out of bed.
They lose interest in activities they once loved and developed digestive problems. They may also have difficulty making decisions or concentrating on tasks for more than a few minutes at a time. In children, this can be seen as a drastic plummet in their grades or schoolwork quality.
Hopelessness may also manifest as physical pain with no known cause. When hopelessness is at its worst, the person may consider ending his life as an alternative to pain. He may believe that he is worthless and feel no hope for the future.
Types of Hopelessness
Hopelessness is motivated by the lack of attachment, mastery or survival, and is thus caused by alienation, powerlessness, and doom. According to psychology professors Anthony Scioli and Henry Biller, nine sub-types of hopelessness can evolve from these three main types.
- Alienation leads people to believe that they are different than others, and they shut themselves off to avoid further pain and rejection. They feel that they are no longer worthy of love or care. People who are alienated believe that no one will ever accept them.
- Forsakenness is the feeling of complete and utter abandonment, leaving the person alone in their hour of greatest need.
- Lack of inspiration can concern people who lack resources or positive role models, or these resources are undervalued.
- Powerlessness is the lack of mastery over one’s own story and life journey. Individuals feeling this type of hopelessness fail to recognize their innate gifts and talents or past achievements.
- Oppression is the subjugation of a person or a group of people. Self-blame is common in the oppressed individual.
- Limitedness is defined by a failed sense of mastery coupled with the individual’s struggle for survival. They see themselves as inadequate and incapable. Who is common in individuals with severe learning disabilities or physical disabilities.
- Doom is the impression that an individual’s life is over and death is rapidly approaching. Many people suffering from debilitating illnesses experience this form of hopelessness. They may jump to unreasonable conclusions as to the result of a troubling diagnosis.
- Captivity is the physical or emotional imprisonment enforced by a person or group on an individual. Prisoners and victims of abusive relationships often experience this form of hopelessness.
- Helplessness is the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable caused by trauma or continual exposure to uncontrolled stressors. Individuals no longer feel that the world is a safe place for them to live.
Individuals are suffering from alienation-type hopelessness benefit from extensive sampling of other people’s perceptions, indicating that they are not as loathed or reviled as they might assume.
People feeling hopeless as they receive a difficult diagnosis may find a thorough examination of their situation helpful instead of jumping to the conclusion that may not be entirely true. People suffering from the belief that they are powerless can write a list of their achievements to date.
Depression and Hopelessness
Depression is characterized by general sadness, including insomnia or over-sleeping, overeating or not eating enough, irritability and anger, lethargy, and suicidal thoughts. To be considered clinical depression, these feelings must last more than several days. Depression can be caused by chemical imbalance resulting from substance abuse, genetics, head trauma, or a medical illness.
It is also caused by overwhelming loss or living in an abusive environment. Therapy and medication may help these individuals feel better and find their purpose again. Treatments work, and the doctor or therapist should review all options with their patient. Talk therapy, known as psychotherapy, medication, and support, are the three types of treatment available.
- When receiving psychotherapy, it is important for patients to be honest with their mental health professional, no matter how embarrassed they may be. This form of treatment is helpful on its own for sufferers of mild to moderate clinical depression. The patient can set goals for himself and talk through the behavior patterns that lead to depression.
- Medication is sometimes prescribed for depressed patients in the hopes that it will balance the brain’s chemicals. The patient’s family history, medical history, and symptoms play a role in selecting the right kind of medicine. Medication for depression is non-habit-forming and relieves depression symptoms so that the patient can modify his behavior. It may take as long as six weeks for patients to begin feeling better, and they should not stop taking the medication unless their doctor approves. Certain herbal remedies may effectively treat depression, but patients are advised to consult their doctor if considering one.
- Support groups for people with depression give patients a chance to learn from others who share their stories and understand that they are not alone in their battle with depression.
Learning to Feel Better
A licensed therapist can help people turn aside from their feelings of hopelessness and get on a positive track toward wellness. Some of the things the therapist might suggest are:
- Finding a thought pattern. Negative thoughts that are troubling the person and fueling their hopelessness can be edited and changed.
- Learn to stop negative thoughts. If a negative thought invades, the person can shout “Stop!” silently, immediately following up with a positive thought.
- Replace negative thoughts. While it’s okay to acknowledge the sadness, it is also important to recognize how they will move on.
- Practice makes perfect. Negative thoughts and hopelessness will not cease without determination and consistent practice replacing negative words with positive words and actions.
- Focus on what can be changed. Focusing on what can be changed may distract a person if they feel hopeless because of things they can’t change.
- Try a new strategy. If therapy alone doesn’t work, a different type of therapy or medication might be the key. Support groups may also offer help and hope to those suffering from hopelessness.
- No one thing is responsible for happiness. Learning to live without the cause of hopelessness will help the sufferer take important steps in living their lives.
- Learn to appreciate the present. Learning to live in the moment and appreciate the surrounding environment’s feelings, sights, sounds, and tastes can help individuals forget their hopelessness.
- Exercise daily. A mere 30 minutes of daily exercise will boost endorphins, chemicals that naturally help a person feel better.
- Reach out to family, and spend time with them. Loved ones who will listen to a person’s struggles and lend an empathetic ear can ease loneliness.
- Get some sun. The vitamin D produced in the skin prompted by short periods of exposure can help boost a person’s spirits.
- Eat healthy foods. Foods full of vitamins will help a person feel better both inside and out, and the nutrients in fruits and vegetables will nourish their body.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, which may lead to a temporary high, later making the person feel worse than before.
- Take on responsibilities or get involved. Having a daily task to accomplish can help people set small goals.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule and try to sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. Erratic sleep patterns only worsen depression symptoms and feelings of hopelessness.
With time and practice, Who can persuade feelings of hopelessness to stay away for good.