Words of wisdom and miscellaneous facts by Dr. Wysong and others. This is an accumulation over several decades and the accuracy cannot be attested to.
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Yes it is, if we understand hopelessness for what it is.
People often perceive hopelessness as an effect rather than a cause of mental and physical disease. Hopelessness creates a despair that descends upon us when we sense that there is no apparent way out of a situation and we fear an outcome over which there seems to be no control. Not only can depression set in, but physical illness almost always follows the stress of hopelessness.
Seemingly hopeless situations could be things like the death of a loved one, being sued, receiving news of a serious illness, losing a job, a marriage that seems unworkable, a child going astray, discrimination, or conflict with friends, relatives, or coworkers. Looking backward can also affect us negatively because it is hopeless to try to change the past or bring it back.
Hopelessness can work a deadly toll. It is an insidious, potentially lethal disease. There is an antidote: determining not to cave in or accept victim status. Hopeless situations are a signal to exert diligent effort to take control. One must immediately become proactive and get at solving the problem even though the inclination is to roll over and expose the belly.
The very act of engaging in the battle gives a sense of control and the healing power of hope. For example, a wrongly convicted prisoner could sink into hopeless despair or rise up, learn the legal system, study the case law, and spearhead appeals. The death of a loved one from disease or violence could spur activism to alert the public and encourage preventive measures. One person's singular misfortune could save the many.
Mothers who lost children in car accidents involving drunk drivers founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Their activism helps save lives. Doing something worthwhile, making something good come out of tragedy, gives meaning and purpose, an essential ingredient for a healthy mind. The America's Most Wanted television program was started by a father who lost a child to a psychopathic predator. His activism results in the capture of violent criminals and saves lives—including his, by giving him purpose and hope.
Recently (2006), Ken Lay, the founder of Enron, died of a heart attack while awaiting sentencing for corporate fraud. One can only dimly imagine the hopelessness that he felt in facing the prospect of jail after a life awash in power, money, and luxury. It would be hard not to associate his death with the stress and seeming hopelessness of his situation.
But it does not have to end like that. A young farmer (called "Farmer John") faced economic disaster on a farm that had been in his family for generations. He was forced to sell land and equipment dear to his heart just to survive. The situation seemed so hopeless that he locked himself away and sank into a deep depression for over a year. He came out of it only when he started writing his story, produced a movie on it, and began to convert what was left of his farm to an organic venture that people from a nearby big city could come and participate in. It is now a successful and growing enterprise that teaches people about sustainable agriculture. His life now has far more meaning to him than the former commercial farm ever could have.
The key to reversing hopelessness is to learn, study, reach out, change, grow, be creative—to do whatever it takes regardless of the situation, and to get at it right now with great industry. Remember, too, that no matter how terrible it may seem, we learn and grow from experience. If we see life as an opportunity to grow—not just a comfy secure ride with others at the helm—we will learn to expect adversity, failure, and difficulty. Such experience is the forge that can make us better people. Being better people is the only worthwhile reason to be here.
We can do a great deal to prevent hopelessness. Perhaps the circumstance we find ourselves in is of our own doing and the penalty we are enduring is what we deserve. If that is the case, then fess up and "take it like a man." Place the blame where it belongs, resolve not to do it again, and teach others so they do not make the same mistake. Be thankful. Life lessons, even painful ones, save us from even greater disasters in the future. There is always a bright side.
We get ourselves into hopeless situations particularly when we don't follow conscience and listen to the inner ethic. To prevent most hopeless situations—don't cheat, lie, steal, harm others, get lazy, or stop thinking. To avoid the hopelessness of prison—obey the law; of bankruptcy—don't overspend; of enemies—be nice; of disease—get healthy; of being paralyzed—don't drive drunk; of addiction—don't get started; of a failed relationship—choose well and put some effort into it.
The greatest danger of hopelessness is that those who have it do not recognize or respect it as of their own doing. Instead we live lives on the edge in the belief bad things just happen to other people and that we are special and will escape penalties. Then, when consequences befall us, we play victim, pout, withdraw, blame others, and lose control of our lives.
Blaming others is futile and counterproductive. All seemingly hopeless circumstances we find ourselves in are often of our own doing in one way or another. When we come to recognize this it should give us the wisdom and foresight to live life in a preventive mode and take responsibility for whatever life presents.
Hopelessness is not hopeless. Its cause, cure, and prevention lie in understanding that life is not surrender or reliance on others. We are the masters of our own lives.
Words of Wisdom:
"Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines. – Beatrix Potter"
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