woman in victory at sunrise

Why Not Give Up? The Correlation Between Despair and Hope

Recently I spoke with a man struggling with some serious marital challenges. In addition to his marital discord, there were additional stresses of job loss, legal battles, and financial problems. Completely overwhelmed and stressed out, he felt his burdens were so severe that he told me he was ready to give up. Getting to the root of the problem, I discovered he wanted to give up on life. Yes, he was ready to kill himself. 

From several years’ experience of dealing with people who are suicidal, including having my own brother take his life by suicide only six months ago, I have learned that people who are ready to end their lives feel there is no escaping their dilemma. They simply want the pain to end. 

Whether it’s giving up on life or giving up on goals, life has a funny way of making us dig down deep and ask ourselves what is it really all for? So, why not give up? Why keep fighting? We would do well to regularly conduct a self-evaluation to determine our reasons for continuing to fight, our reasons to not throw in the towel and call it quits. 

Those who suffer a loss of hope struggle with a desire to continue carrying on. They lose the desire to care. They may feel they are a burden to others. Those who contemplate or complete suicide almost always feel hopeless. 

There is a correlation between what goes against ones moral code and emotional despair. But there may also be some underlying issues that can bring despair that are not necessarily that person’s fault. For instance, depression may be a result of a medical, emotional, or mental health condition and not necessarily someone’s actions or inactions. Additionally, the actions, abuse, or betrayal of others can also bring feelings of despair and even hopelessness. 

In all three cases—feeling despair because you’re not living up to your personal values, feeling completely inadequate or depressed, or if you have experienced pain because of another person and it is currently causing you to feel despair—don’t give up hope. Get help. 

If you’re thinking about suicide, remember there are people willing and available to help. There are professional resources and crisis lines. You may not see the light at the end of the dark tunnel you’re in now but have hope that light does exists … because it does. 

Whether you’re feeling suicidal or experiencing the weight of despair and hopelessness or both, you may benefit from getting professional help. Having others guide you along the darkly lit pathway can help you find reasons to not give up. Sometimes we tell ourselves there’s no hope because we can’t see what others can see in us. Our view is obstructed.

When we are in the mire, when we are in the pit of doom and despair and self-loathing, it is difficult to look up and see the light. Find trusted friends, colleagues, and professionals who can help be your guide and lead you to the light. Together, with the right guide, you can find reasons to keep winning and never give up hope.

Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey has written award-winning articles for the Washington Times, Guns.com, and other publications. He is the author of seven books, including Warrior SOS: Military Veterans’ Stories of Faith, Emotional Survival and Living with PTSD. He teaches courses on peer support, suicide prevention, and other mental wellness and resilience to public safety professionals. If you would like Jeff to speak at your event or training please contact him HERE.

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