Desperation: 10 things to keep the cougar off your back

Has desperation ever jumped on your back like a vicious cougar? It may be clawing at your door right now. Well, it’s one of the most hopeless and helpless feelings in the world, isn’t it? So let’s talk about what we can do to send it back to the woods.

I wrote a piece on Friday, Perspectives On Suffering (and life itself), and on Saturday my mind wandered a few more rungs down the ladder to the topic of desperation. So I thought I’d write about it, and share with you.

So let’s see, the list is seemingly endless…

Financial woes, an illness, troubling or ending relationships, feeling alone and abandoned, losing or loss of a home, a loved one’s passing, unemployment. All fertile ground for desperation…

That adrenaline pumping, lump in the throat, pit in the gut demon that so often leaves us without words and in tears. Certainly, my image choice took a bit of comedic license in an effort to, perhaps, add some blue sky and sun.

But desperation is a dismal issue, isn’t it?

And, you know, desperation generated by immediate issues is hard enough to take. But it so often drags along memories of hard to stomach times in the past – perhaps when we first experienced desperate feelings. And it’s like a combo blow to the face and gut. Yes, those particular trips down memory lane are hurtful and difficult.

So what can we do when desperation, like a mean old cougar, pounces?

  1. Maintain our composure and perspective
  2. Be worthy of our sufferings (from Friday’s article)
  3. Remember our propensity to catastrophize
  4. Stay active mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically
  5. Resist isolation
  6. Share our feelings and thoughts with a trusted soul
  7. Separate today’s desperation from yesterday’s/yesteryear’s
  8. Recall times of emergence from intense trials of the past
  9. Allow your feelings to come forth without fear
  10. Approach your situation as a mission of growth

I want to mention one other thought that popped into my head as I was gazing at the cougar in our image. That is one beautiful animal. Of course, it’s not engaging in a beautiful act, but don’t you think we can move beyond that for a moment?

Were we observing that very same cougar within a different environment or context – say, in the wilds of the Rockies – we’d marvel at its beauty and grace.

And though our immediate desperation may be horribly ugly, is it even remotely possible there’s some aspect of beauty at play?

After all, a bitter feeling is still a feeling. And being capable of feelings is an incredibly beautiful trait.

Think and feel about it…

What’s on your minds, chipur readers? What’s worked – or hasn’t – when desperation pays a visit? Won’t you share with all of us?

image from the 2006 ABC movie series, Desperation – novel and teleplay by Stephen King