The Chain of Despair
By: Jessica Manuel
If depression was a cold, despair would be a symptom. The absence of hope ruins your happiness, security and peace. When one finds themselves in a quagmire of helplessness, chained by the result of their circumstances, then despair is sure to follow.
The hopelessness one feels places weight upon their mind and heart, feeling responsible for the circumstances they have to endure. Unfortunately the more weight of mental anguish one carries, the less likely they are to allow others in as they don’t want to be a burden.
Internally, despair can come from many spiritual, emotional and phycological avenues. External despair is more circumstantial such as being in a financial mess or job insecurity. In order to break the chain, the first step would be to find the source or catalyst of your despair; is it internal or external, or both?
I asked a friend of mine who endured both internal and external despair simultaneously and how he broke that chain (I absolutely love asking these questions….). Fortunately for you, dear reader, he was willing to share his story directly related to this topic.
“Having come out of a life in which I was less than a model citizen, my inability to find steady employment stemmed from my inability to relinquish my bad reputation. I felt that I was not worth forgiving as I had yet to forgive myself. As a result, this reflected the way I treated others. Simply put, people didn’t want to spend time with me because they were terrified.
This lack of consistent employment led to financial hardships. I was on the verge of losing everything. These chain of events eventually led me to put my trust and faith in the only One who carried me through it all, even though I did not allow myself to see it and that One is Jesus Christ.
Through the process of being renewed and accepting my past, I was able to be vulnerable about who I was. This, in turn, allowed me to surrender to my Lord and bring people in that I knew I could trust. The first step was honesty, followed by accepting who I was (warts and all).
Knowing that I am imperfect gives me hope for the future.
I have now been at the same employer for many years doing a job I love and getting paid well. As a result of my faith in God and my trust in Him, my financial circumstances improved, which led to an improved emotional state and thus a renewed faith in which I do Ministry work in His Name.”
This is just one example of how we can break the chain of despair. Faith (not religion) or believing in something bigger than yourself can provide hope. The commitment one has towards change only happens when you know the pain of the process is worth enduring.
Having hope towards the future is like a light at the end of a tunnel. Faith would be the difference between walking that tunnel on your own, or seeing someone at the end who walked it before you. Hope is knowing that it’s possible. You make each step, getting closer to a goal. With each step the light gets brighter, your steps are clearer and the tunnel seems smaller.
Each of us has a different story, and they are all worth sharing. Pain, frustration, failure and imperfection are all things we share in common yet society conditions us to hold the weight in silence. Vulnerability is looked upon as weakness when in reality it is a source of strength. Failure is a fast track to learning and not linked to stupidity as most seem to think.
Once we acknowledge that the chain of despair can be used as a way strengthen yourself and others, I believe we would be proud to wear them. Lean on people you can trust, believe in something that will give you hope and find a purpose worth fighting for.
This is the light at the end of your tunnel….