The Despair, The Pain Caused By Depression

There are moments in which we feel desperate, anguished by the search for meaning in what surrounds us, angry with ourselves and with others … Behind these adverse psychological realities, the second face of depression is very often hidden.
The despair, the pain of depression

Despair is the echo that emerges from the void. It is the anger that follows when all hope is lost, it is the sadness transformed into the lament of those who believe they have lost everything and no longer perceive the light on the horizon or the meaning of their present. Few psychological states can be as dangerous as this peak in which the person no longer knows which path to take or which path to trust.

We know that despair is a common human experience. Several philosophers have talked about it for centuries, including Søren Kierkegaard, who defined it as lack of wit, sense and challenge. Jean-Paul Sartre, for his part, stated that in this dimension there is a frustrating inability to move forward, as well as an almost cowardly pessimism often insinuated by society itself.

From a psychological point of view, no one has delved into human despair like Viktor Frankl. The father of logotherapy, who survived several Nazi concentration camps, defined this concept through very simple ideas: suffering and loss of meaning.

These experiences are undoubtedly the most distressing for a person, yet it is possible to survive them. It’s up to us to challenge them and face life with new and better resources.

Distressed man

Despair in psychology: a distressing emotion

If we deprive a person of his purposes, of the vision he has of them and of the meaning he gives to his life, we would end up catapulting him into absolute desperation. So, although we often define this dimension as a mixture of sadness and lack of hope, it is good to point out that it goes beyond.

Despair is synonymous with emptiness, falling into a state of mind where none of our questions are answered. It is common, in this phase, that questions arise such as: what is the meaning of life? What am I doing in the world? What can I do in this situation if nothing makes sense? These questions only fuel the cycle of despair, transporting the person to a corner of psychological darkness where they remain trapped.

Fueled by anxiety

The study conducted by Dr. Martin Bürgy of the University of Stuttgart in Germany indicates that until recently despair was treated as a minor psychopathological phenomenon. It has been relegated for decades to the philosophical universe linked above all to existential problems.

Cognitive psychology, on the other hand, emphasizes the clinical importance of this emotion. Despair can appear punctually in our lives. We can feel it when at any given moment everything seems to go against us, making us feel stuck and lost. But there are also cases where the situation becomes complicated.

This happens when we fall into the obsessive thought cycles that fuel negativity and vulnerability. To these negative thoughts is added a complex web of emotions such as sadness, anguish, anger, frustration …

In other words, it is easy for despair to appear initially as a result of anxiety. If the situation continues over time, the person will almost inevitably suffer from a depressive disorder.

Man with head in the clouds

Despair forces you to face yourself

Depression taken to its extreme ends up generating extreme ideas in the minds of those who suffer from it. The idea of ​​suicide is the result of the total loss of sense and hope, undoubtedly the most dangerous aspect in these cases and for which it becomes crucial to have psychological help.

It is therefore common for despair to occur as a constant in the case of major depression and also in bipolar disorder. These are delicate situations that require drug treatment in addition to psychological therapy. As we pointed out at the beginning, these realities can be overcome thanks to specialized help and your own commitment.

To do this, we need to reflect on some issues.

The anger that arises from despair can help

Anger is today an unknown emotion. It is energetic, powerful, demanding, and if we channel it well, it can help transform situations.

Despair is also made up of that anger that does not make us make sense of anything. One is angry with oneself and also with the world. But this, while it may surprise us, is positive. It would be worse if you felt apathy, immobility, a sense of emptiness or total indifference.

If we try to channel anger in our favor, things could slowly change and find a new balance. We just have to channel the energy, so that the positive potential is released in our reality.

Man with hands on his head in despair

Face to face with yourself to start over

There are those who say that despair is the prison of the ego. It is our darker side, the one that takes us weak and lost. Carl Jung argued that the purpose of psychological therapy is the transformation and, above all, the achievement of an individualization that allows the patient to find their own vital meaning.

Despair forces us to talk to ourselves, to see the worst of our being. For this reason, it is our obligation to accept our “shadow”, as defined by Jung, to learn how to do without it. We must reach that bright and strong side where we can find hope and security. It is certainly a journey not without difficulties, but certainly worth starting to leave suffering behind.

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