If you are feeling desperate, down, or full of pain right now, Dr. Hallowell shares in his podcast, some words of comfort with you through a “letter” he wrote a few years ago, after experiencing his own feelings of desperation.
You can LISTEN HERE or you can read his letter below:
TAKE MY HAND
Take my hand. If you are desperate, just take my hand. You don’t have to believe anything, just take my hand. Listen.
It will all work out. It has before. It will again. It will all work out. It always has. It will again.
Whatever it is that has you feeling desperate, it will pass. Nothing lasts as it is. Everything subsides. Even pain. Especially pain.
Stay with me. Take my hand. That’s what I need when I am desperate, and I’ve had serious moments of desperation in my life, more than a few.
Take my hand. Please stay with me. We are in this life together.
All of us. Has someone betrayed you or threatened you? That happened to me, once really badly. I forgave the person only to have that person betray me again. I know. . . fool me once. . .
Have you done something that’s gotten you into trouble? Who hasn’t!
Are you desperately worried about someone you love? That’s especially hard, because you have so little control.
Whatever your situation, you do have me, this voice, at least right now. You also have everyone else in the world, it’s just pretty hard to feel their presence sometimes. Pain isolates us. But everyone else is out there, in some way pumping positive energy your way. One day science will prove exactly how. They’re all there and they’re with us from the afterworld, too, at least if you ask my opinion, but that’s a totally different topic. Now you don’t need opinions, you need real comfort and reliable relief.
Things will get better. Take that to the bank.
You sure don’t need theories or slogans. I Googled “feeling desperate” and got a lot of sites with solutions (usually for a fee, once you entered and scrolled down a bit), Biblical citations, and literary references to books like The Little Prince or Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Those books are wonderful fables, but you need something more immediate right now.
Like a guarantee. Who doesn’t love a guarantee? I can guarantee you, if you hang in there, things will get better.
Pain passes. Humiliation passes. Loss passes. Death takes, and then subsides. Betrayal passes.
If I knew exactly what was bothering you, maybe I could offer better help. But maybe I don’t need to know, because feeling desperate, at its core, is pretty much the same regardless of the cause.
I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere. Things will get better. Just hang in there.
Get angry at me if you’d like to. When I feel desperate, I often get angry at the people who tell me things will get better. How could they possibly know? It makes me mad.
But it’s also what I want to hear because it’s what I want to believe.
Life is so hard. For us all. The good thing is it’s not hardest on all of us at the same time. So when one of us is more or less ok, we can help offer hope to those who are in the depths. It’s how we get each other through.
The Key Is Each Other
Each other. See, we’re the key. That’s not a theory, it’s a fact. You know it, I know it.
We’ve all been in the depths. If you’re there now, I can tell you, I’ve been there, too. Now, I have your hand. Maybe then, you had mine. So we can’t be all that far apart, if you get what I mean.
Being human keeps us close. We all have to play by the same rotten rules. Age, suffer, and die. Lose everyone and everything.
Maybe not everything. As long as someone has hope, there is hope. And as long as there is hope, desperation will subside.
Please allow for hope. Don’t block it out. It will come if you don’t block it out.
When I’m desperate, the worst moments are when hope, all of a sudden, vanishes, and all I can see are the very worst outcomes. It’s like a cloud blocks out the sun and my world just goes dark. It’s just a feeling that overcomes me, with no warning, in periods when I am living in fear, sorrow, or danger. My world goes dark.
But, sooner or later, the cloud does move on, thank God, and the sun, such as it is, returns. I say “such as it is” because in those periods even the sun doesn’t restore me completely.
It’s a cliché, but still it’s true: life is all ups and downs. Thank God the downs don’t last forever, and I guess it’s just as well the ups don’t either.
If you’re in a down, please let me be with you. Think of me, a person you don’t know, talking to you right now, a person who’s been very down, but who, right now at least, has hope. Think of me just trying to get next to you in spirit to pump in some of the hope you don’t feel right now.
Hope is a potent force. When I’m desperate what I need more than anything is hope. Desperate basically means out of hope. Full of fear, but no hope.
Take my hand.
Now let me transfuse some of my hope into you. Just hold tight, it comes through naturally, just like it did when you gave it to me, back when.
Even if you can’t hold my physical hand, which you can’t of course because you are reading this and you don’t know me from Adam, even so you can still feel as if you were holding my hand through my words. These are words of hope.
They are hard earned words. I won’t tell you all the troubles I’ve seen, but I’ve seen many, and I’ve been places where I felt nothing but fear, where I felt no hope at all.
Let me hold you now. It will work out. It always has. It always will.
If you are feeling tired, sad or on edge, listen to Dr. Hallowell’s podcast on “The Side Effects of the New Normal.”
Read Dr. Hallowell’s Blog post on “Managing Toxic Worry.”