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wundayatta's avatar

Have you ever had to live with despair for a long time? Why?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) May 1st, 2009

Have you ever lived with despair for a long time because there was nothing you could do to alleviate the pain without sacrificing something else of importance to you? I’m interested in the choices that people are willing to make to have one thing, even though it means they have to sacrifice another thing that is very important to them. How long can you or did you hold out with pain, in order to keep something important? What made you able to hold on, despite your despair?

I’m thinking of things like relationships where people hold on because they don’t want to lose access to their children. Or they remain living in horrible conditions because they don’t want to be separated from something important. Or the despair you feel when a loved one is in a coma on life support for years. Or staying alive in prison or under torture that seems endless.

What did you do? Why didn’t you give up? How did you do it?

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21 Answers

iquanyin's avatar

i have lived with this several times, most recently when the love of my life killed himself suddenly. jumped out my window (24th floor). as we were having coffee. there’s so much i could say but not here. i keep going because one, i’d never want to bring to my children such havoc, and two, i’m commited to living out my life fully—far more so than before this happened—as a tribute to sinisa, who was an amazing human being (he had mental issues, btw).

TaoSan's avatar

Hm, that’s all very subjective. I personally believe that despair is an emotion one needs to indulge. It is up to the individual to decide if they want to give in to those emotions or not.

Most of your examples cite suffering one, to retain the other. If something is so valuable to a person that they are willing to endure a great deal of suffering to keep it, then they have a positive counterpart.

I think the minute a hardship is self-imposed, a person has a way out of the feeling of despair.

flameboi's avatar

yep… why??? i did a bunch of stupid things that I had to fix later and it took me a lot of time to do it :s

Horus515's avatar

I feel ongoing despair in my life and have for about a year now. I have plenty to be happy about but some of the most important parts of my life have been lost. No matter what I do it doesn’t seem that I will ever get a chance to try again and so I will be missing out on parts of my sons life for that reason. For some reason its ok in this world for that to happen to a man. As if we don’t feel for our kids the same way or something. You asked what makes you hold onto a soul-ripping heart-wrenching situation?? Well for me its seeing him. Even if everyday I have to walk away from him again. At least I don’t cry anymore when I get in my car. So far I just work hard on myself, hoping that one day circumstances could change. I am doing well at that. I have lost a lot of bad habits, lost a lot of weight. Working out alot.

SuperMouse's avatar

Last year at this time I was waist deep in despair. I was in an unhappy relationship, wanting to get out of it, but feeling as though he was too fragile as he threatened to take his life if I pulled the plug. It went on like that for months until I got up the nerve to break it off. It was a very difficult time. Once I did summon the courage I despaired for months because of the guilt. It is lifting now and as Johnny Nash once sang I can see clearly now, the rain is gone… or at least it is clearing up.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

My biological father died after we’d been united and in contact for about a decade. I kept my deeper grief to myself out of respect for my other siblings and relatives who’d known him all their lives. So many missed years of anticipation, expectation and future plans stayed quiet in me and the timing of his death was such I had few to comfort me, it took a long time to sort grief from anger.

Jack79's avatar

Yes, I’m going through that period now (since last Christmas). I know there is nothing I can do to speed things up, and that falling apart is a luxury I cannot afford. I’ve been holding it all together on sheer willpower. I also realise what people mean by “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. It did not make me stronger at the time, in fact quite the opposite. But it made me realise that I cannot afford to be weak again. And now that the real hard times are here, I’m tough as a rock.

btw today I was finally told I’ll have my daughter back within the next couple of weeks or so. At least things are moving at last

chyna's avatar

@Jack79 Congratulations on getting your daughter back. With her in your life, things will certainly be good again.

Darwin's avatar

I have had bouts with despair my whole life. I discovered some years ago that 1) laughter helps and 2) Zoloft does, too.

My current situation is simply that I am trying to raise a bipolar child who is also oppositional-defiant while taking care of my husband whose health is eroding day by day. The only bright spot really is my daughter, who is smart, popular, athletic, capable and responsible, but who will be going off to college in a year, and our pets, who love me unconditionally.

Some people may consider this to be a minor stressor, but because my son has entangled us with CPS, I now have to get rid of one dog and four cats so that we will be in legal compliance. I have found a home for one cat so far, but I am having a very hard time being able to let go. If I don’t then they will be taken to the pound and probably euthanized. I rescued these animals and they help me whenever despair strikes too deeply, but now I am helpless.

chyna's avatar

@Darwin What state are you in? I want to help.

Darwin's avatar

I am in southern Texas.

Blondesjon's avatar

Despair is a fancy word for quitting. I’m no quitter.

Remember folks, It is only when you give up hope that a situation becomes hopeless.

chyna's avatar

@Darwin I live too far away to take one of your animals. What about a rescue place?

Darwin's avatar

@chyna – Most of them are full. A lot of people are giving up their animals because they are too expensive.

The one cat I placed is going to a TNR colony, which may work for him because he was a feral cat I was rehabilitating. He had just gotten to the point where he would ask to be petted, but I suspect will happily resort to previous behavior. There will always be food, shelter and water for the colony as it is associated with a rescue place.

You would think that folks would appreciate that these animals are safe, well-cared for, and not outside bothering anyone else, but unfortunately some prefer to adhere to the letter of the law.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Despair can happen to any one given way too much stress.
I faced what looked like a terrible loss. Its hard to write about since its really of a personal nature.
Being happy in the situation for twenty years with several children I did not want to cause permanate hurt or seemingly lose the love I’d invested in. It was something outside my influence. It just got worse and worse over time.
I recognize that in time of dire staits I’m with out power a lot of times. I’m usually in a position of weakness during those times. Its not really fun to feel rejected by someone who is close either. Especially when misunderstanding lasts for months and months going to over a year’s time.
The reason I choose as a title; man of faith; on almost any blog or place I write something down on the net is that faith did sustain me in spite of persecution. Every single day I prayed, and cried out to God with every thing I has in me asking for strength and deliverence.
The bible promises deliverence from every single persecution or attack from darkness to those who love and know Him. So, in that case; even though it seemed so long and it wasn’t easy; every thing is the way it should be now.

But a miracle did occur. Going through the thing it was hope that sustained me through the circumstance. Hope and faith beyond the tough circumstance.

augustlan's avatar

For the first 13 years of my life, I lived with despair due to circumstances far beyond my control. I wanted to die, but was not suicidal… perhaps I didn’t even realize that killing myself was an option. At 13, I took control of the situation myself and that lessened the despair, but it was still a daily part of my existence for many, many years. Different things sustained me at different times. Good friends, deep love, and later, my children. Finally, a lot of therapy, the right drugs, and saying goodbye to people who had hurt me or allowed me to be hurt have brought me to where I am now… at peace. I wish the same peace for all of you.

atlantis's avatar

You know when I first heard my inner conscience kicking in at seven years old, it told me to kill myself. So i dunno, i think some people are geared by design, a not entirely unchangeable one, for an outlook of despair or joy… Inherent resilience could be an answer, some are born with it, some may have to develop as they go along. Change is the only certainty; as is the fact that the unknown is always there and hence, should not be feared at all. For how much one puts up with fear and how, is a major player of any human life.

iquanyin's avatar

i think—no, i know—you’re right to a large degree. it’s called temperament. and perhaps i’ll say more when i have more time. but it ‘s lifelong, tho not totally inflexible.

CMaz's avatar

That is the word I have been looking for. Despair…

Story of my life.

chelle104's avatar

Despair is part of life. Some have more than others. you have to choose how much despair you can handle. The rest is acceptance. I have learned to accept a certain amount of despair as part of my life, yet, I have said goodbye to physical despair. The emotional is a life long journey….......good luck!

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