Hopelessness is confronted by most human beings at some stage of their lives.   What though does it actually mean?   In context, hopelessness fills us with dread or despair, and implies desperation and that there is no hope, or put another way, the situation is beyond optimism or any positive outcome. Or, more simply, it is devoid of hope.

Hopelessness is often used to sum up a situation although the parties concerned are not actually being accurate.  For example, that “I am hopeless with my budgeting, I am filled with hopelessness” is not necessarily true as with instruction and guidance this skill can be acquired and the situation rendered manageable.

It maybe said by parents despairing with their children, that a child is hopeless at Maths or “I am a hopeless parent” when confronted by difficult situations at the child’s school.   Hopelessness sets in in our complex, demanding lives when trying to balance home, work, children, parents, the high tech world, and keeping it all together.  The more demanding our lives – often through our own choice – the more likely from time to time a feeling of hopelessness can permeate.  And through this exhaustion exacerbated by stress.

Many of such situations can be turned positively by simply talking to a trained professional psychologist and breaking down the hopelessness into manageable steps.   The old expression of “a problem shared is a problem halved” rings true.   By taking action and seeing small results, this decisive stance then builds the positive and in time what was mega hopelessness, becomes hopeful and then actually presents great results.

Hopelessness and bereavement

Grief is another facet of life but it can fill you with an all pervading sense of hopelessness.  Nursing a loved one with the maybe inevitable confrontation of death is despairing and brings about that hopelessness feeling which can smother one like a blanket.   The “price” of loving wonderful family and friends inevitably brings about that enveloping sadness and sense of loss, but grieving is a part of the human condition.    The pain of the  though can be “almost physical”.

Our 21st century lives are so focused on outcomes and holding life all together.  When we are confronted by the impossible, that there is no joyous solution, hopelessness envelopes.

We feel inadequate, not able to learn or act, perform, or work as desired; we deem ourselves inadequate for the purpose.  The sense of loss is all encompassing.  We want the victory so desperately.     This emotional state if it continues can lead to depression, sometimes for many years.

For some the ability to function on a day-to-day level becomes impossible and interferes with our task driven lives.  Getting out of bed can be a major objective, so to washing the dishes or getting children to school.

Hopelessness and help

But there are measures which can be taken to help heal from this hopelessness.   Talking to a known, reputable, experienced, professionally registered psychologist, is the first step.

He or she can help you by being objective, sound listener.    That the professional can provide guidance and independent counselling where one can “off-load” is a first healing step.

Rather than rework problems yourself, this action enables you to begin constructing a positive path to healing and a great sense of renewal.  The hopelessness over time, depending on the situation or multiple situations, will dissipate.

For more information about Louw Alberts, psychologist in Centurion, Pretoria, www.louwalberts.co.za or book an appointment.