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Managing Despair?

by thehusk

Suppose for whatever reason you decide that you’re not ready to end it yet. But you’re still filled with an overwhelming sense of the futility of living. You’re still in pain, and that seems likely to only get worse. You’re still completely alone, and unable to see any possibility of meaningful connection. It still feels clear that you would be better off not existing.

Are there better ways to manage that feeling? So that it consumes you and tortures you as little as possible? I’ve been trying/failing for the best part of 12 years now.

Some random responses that come to my mind:

  • Mindfulness/meditation – to try to detach you from identifying with the hopelessness inside
  • Running/exercising in nature – to try to jolt your mind out of itself or exhaust it
  • Sleeping all day – ’til your mind gets bored of it’s misery and forces you to get up
  • Binge eating nice food – to give a feeling of physical comfort
  • Recreational drugs – to trick your body into producing chemicals that tell you everything is fine
  • Video games – absorbing yourself in a virtual world where you have purpose and there are no issues you can’t shoot your way out of
  • Listening to loud music – the angstier/sadder/more despairing the better – cringy emoting is required
  • Obsessively checking the news/social media sites – if you’re focused on how fucked the world is, you might forget for a moment how personally fucked you are
  • Learning to play music you enjoy – reminding yourself of happier times while focusing on something that feels meaningful in a small way
  • Compulsively escaping into fantasy – trying to trick your mind into believing that what it longs for is actually possible
  • Repetitively posting on this site (or elsewhere)
  • Occupying yourself in a dead end job – it you can convince yourself your job is making you miserable, you might forget it’s your mind that’s making you miserable – you can pretend it would all be better if you quit

I’d be interested in anyone else’s experiences. Have any of you found better ways to manage despair?



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Once 4/4/2020 - 9:46 pm

I committed myself to care for two cats several years ago. One of them died last year and I still have his mama. If, somehow, I can manage to care for her until she also dies, it will be the first time I’ve ever committed to care about something other than myself. So, when the despair overwhelms me, I hang onto that commitment. Without that…I don’t know. Maybe I’d be here, maybe not, but for me, managing despair requires an external focus. A fuzzy one that sheds.

a1957 4/4/2020 - 10:47 pm

I still can’t believe what I did. But I did. About 15 months ago I decided to woo a feral cat into my life. He is now my companion and I do my best to give it as good as I get it. How could I ever just up and leave that face? I am the first safety, predictability, comfort he has ever known. He has had to adapt to live safe inside. He has changed me inside. So yeah I still long to leave after a hard knock or something, for sure, but I got this long haired furry cat that I just, man, I would not want to see abandoned by me.

thehusk 4/5/2020 - 5:51 am

Thank you both for those perspectives. Pets are wonderful, and I felt a little of the same for one of our dogs when I was living with my parents. She wasn’t ‘mine’, but I did raise her and take care of her as a puppy, and she was part of what I was staying for. Having her so happy and eager to play every time she saw me always consoled me a little.

Now I’m living on my own and I see she’s fine with me gone, that doesn’t really apply. I still miss her a lot though, and hate the idea of not seeing her for months/years. She’s getting old now, and I fear she’ll die before I see her again. To be honest I’m terrified of her getting ill or dying in general. Seeing something go from being young and full of life to exhausted and miserable is so painful.

I’m not sure I’m allowed pets where I live now – maybe a cat? But I don’t think I could really take care of one properly right now (I can barely take care of myself.) I don’t have the money for vets bills etc. I’d have to really sort myself out first.

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