How do you handle your moments of despair?

Buy The ParallaxThere have been times in my life that I have struggled with emotions that have threatened my relationships and diminished my personal effectiveness. My guess is that everyone has had similar experiences in their lives. Often, we may not even know what the source is to the anger, fear, confusion, and despair that reside beneath the surface of our consciousness. My new book, The Parallax, provides the secret to handling these difficult situations.


16 thoughts on “How do you handle your moments of despair?

  1. How do I manage my moments of despair?
    I have found that in the most trying times in life it is always beneficial to talk to someone about the problems you are experiencing. There is no right or wrong person to talk to when you are having difficulties, because most of the time you just need someone to listen. For some reason being open with someone about your problems makes it much easier to carry them and as a result it allows you took work through them. Moments of despair sneak up on us from time to time but having good friends and family makes it less of a burden. It is always important to ask for help early in a problem, because then problem cannot spiral out of control. In my moments of despair, I lean on my family and friends and with each trial comes an insight that will help me with the rest of my life. Learning from each of the challenges we face can save us from falling into despair from future hardships.

  2. The times that I have been faced with despair, I have found comfort by turning to friends and family. By having a support system, during these times were crucial to me. But there would come a point, when I felt I had talked enough to my friends and family, but was still stirred with emotions. Whenever I reached that point, I remember myself picking up a pen and paper and writing. Until I read The Parallax, I did not realize that I was subconsciously writing to handle my moments of despair. By writing I was able to sort out my thoughts and control my emotions which eventually helped me move on from my moments of despair.

  3. I found that in times of despair my effectiveness was also diminished. I, like many others, relied on my family and close friends to get me through. But in these times I have noticed that things like work and school often take a backseat, which can add more stress to times of despair. After reading The Parallax, I noticed parallels between the struggles in the book and how I handle struggles in my own life. I learned ways to balance my life in times of despair and also ways to help get past tough times as well in an effective manner.

  4. How do I handle my moments of dispair? I have greatly learned over the past year what despair is. Losing family members is hard, but nothing compares to the pain and dispair of losing a parent. With the unexpected loss of my mother and the loss of another important relationship, for the first time I had to really figure out how to deal with that type of dispair. It took time and it took a lot of patience from my friends and family to talk to me and help me through it. The biggest lesson I learned about dispair though is that you can’t get through it until you actually want to. You have to be willing to start letting stuff go and putting it in the past in order to move on and let your friends and family cheer you up and help you get back on track. The Parallax showed stories from people that had to finally let go in order to get past the dispair that they experienced. Learning from past experiences helps us to deal with our dispair and hard times in the future. Unfortuantely it seems that it took one very hard moment for me to be able to learn how to deal with things in the future. Now, I feel like I could probably deal with anything that comes my way without it taking me over like it did before.

  5. In times of despair, I like everyone else depend on my family and friends, but it takes me a little while before I get to this point. At first, I hold all my emotions within me because I do not want to be a trouble to anyone. Then once I could not hold anything else in any longer I would break and put all of this stress on my family and friends. I would talk about my worries and concerns and feel better after I had released everything from within me, but when it comes down to it nothing was ever really any better. The worries and concerns were really still there. This is a vicious cycle that I have been involved in for many years now. While this is occurring my self-effectiveness is near zero or possibly even negative. It never occurred to me until I read the Parallax to write about my worries and concerns to keep the emotions from being tied up inside of me. I have not done this yet, but I hope like Frank in the Parallax that through writing I have a change in my perspective while releasing my emotions.

  6. I used to shut myself off to the people and world around me during moments of despair. This would decrease my effectiveness and also put a strain on my relationships with family and friends. But as my relationships grew stronger I realized that my friends and family where there to help me during times of despair if I would just let them. When I could share my despair my effectiveness would not decrease as much as it had before. This is a good thing because, the less effective I would be the farther behind I would get on school and other things in life, and it would just cause my amount of despair to go up.

  7. How do I handle my moments of despair? I would say that as I have gotten older, I have relied on my mother more and more for emotional support from people who care for me, and God. Everyone struggles with personal and school/work problems, and having that person to call at any time of the day really helps. I have also utilized counseling services over the years because there are some thing I don’t want to burden my mother with, or would like to get an unbiased perspective from. I used be skeptical of counseling and sitting in front of a “shrink” to discuss my personal issues. But it really does help to talk things through with an unbiased professional who keeps the sessions confidential. I am not an avid writer, but after reading the Parallax, I was able to figure out why writing in a journal could help bring out those stresses and put them onto paper. We have had to journal from time to time for my Resident Assistant job, and that has helped with putting strong emotions felt at that time into one place. I also depend on the power of prayer to get me through my moments of despair because I know that the Lord has a purpose for me and will guide me through all the days of my life. Yes, I get confused and angry when things don’t go “my way” but I have faith in the path that He has set for me.

  8. How do I handle my moments of despair? When I was younger I use to just shut out these moments in my life and avoid dealing with them. This was very painful and emotional time in my life. I don’t like to talk about things or involve other people. As I matured and grew into a new person I often turn to my family in times of struggle. No matter what my problem, I find it now helps to talk to my mom. When that doesn’t help I know I can always turn to God. He gives me strength in times of need. I know I am a better person because of God and my family. I would not be able to get through certain things if it wasn’t for them. I am so thankful I have people I can turn to. I have never been much of a writer but I believe being able to write and put experiences into words would be another beneficial way to help in times of despair. Everybody handles these events differently in their lives, it’s important to do what is best for you and get through the struggles we face.

  9. How do you handle your moments of emotional despair?

    Like many others probably do, I unfortunately like to internalize my emotional despair. Sometimes I don’t want to talk or share my pain with others for fear of being judged or not understood. A lot of the time when I’m upset, I write letters that I never intend to send. Like in the book, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, the main character Charlie writes letters to a random person telling him his story just so that he can have someone to talk to and not be judged.
    Sometimes, it’s good to talk about and share emotional despair with others because internalizing all the pain and hurt feels like a hot coal in your throat that you’re not doing anything to fix. Talking about emotions with others isn’t intended to ask the person to fix whatever you’re upset about, it’s more of getting your feelings off of your chest.
    You don’t always have to talk about your feelings out loud to someone; writing is a useful tool in channeling your emotions and sense of hurt in a healthy way. Writing letters provides me with an outlet of emotion and enables me to put my thoughts into words and rise above my emotional despair.

  10. How do I handle my moments of despair?
    As much as I hate to admit it, I internalize my own emotions and heartaches. Reading ‘The Parallax’ has enabled me to relate to the message by writing my “personal story”. I did not initially know what to expect from reading ‘The Parallax’. But the references to 9/11 really struck me and stuck with me throughout my readings. Everyone has a 9/11 story to tell. Quoting Dr. Stein, “You could have been anywhere and have been affected by 9/11.”
    From the age of 14 to 15, I struggled with my own aftermath of 9/11. My dad, being Naval for 10 years followed by 2 years with the Air Force before I was born, decided to step up and defend his civic responsibilities when 9/11 occurred and joined the Army within a year of the tragic terrorist attack on domestic grounds. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my dad would be called away for a year from 2005 to 2006, being sent overseas to some of the most dangerous areas for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spent some time in Kuwait, but majority was spent in Tikrit, Iraq, where combat and defense was heavily needed. Those 13 months away were detrimental to my physical and mental health. Never knowing if he was safe, never hearing his voice every day, never being content with my safety at home without him. I can recall a specific video chat online between him and my mom, my little sister (age 3 at the time), and I, when we began to hear sirens and loud commotion coming from his side of the video chat. The last thing we heard from my dad before we lost connection was “I will always love my girls, no matter what may happen to me.” I am still unsure as to what arose during that video chat, but I do know my dad will not talk about it to this day. This being roughly 8 or 9 years ago, I remember not receiving any contact from my dad for a week and a half after that. I can remember the torment my family and I went through during that time. Is he okay? What happened? Is he even alive?
    My emotional health deteriorated during his deployment. I suffer from general anxiety and depression, which had not surfaced and been medically recognized until this time. I became so distraught that I was forced to turn to medical and psychiatric help. Just writing about this time in my life makes me as emotional as I was during this period of my life. While I have lived through other intense hardships in my life, this one changed me the most as an individual. Coming from a strong and loving religious Christian upbringing, I began to question God and my faith. In general, I felt absolutely powerless with no control of the situation. These feelings eventually subsided once my dad was safe and brought back home.
    A second hardship of mine came from my unforeseeable divorce a year and a half ago. I felt completely helpless and powerless in my marriage where I was mentally and emotionally abused by my ex-husband, who had strayed away and refused to give up his ways. He never took initiative to work on or end our marriage. Rather than that, he pushed me into deeper helplessness with feelings that I had no control over the situation. Compared to the hardship I had when my dad was deployed, where I did nothing to enable control over myself and the situation, I have since experienced a paradigm shift. After months of convincing myself I had no control over the direction my marriage was going and what my ex-husband was doing, I was able to convince myself I am not helpless or powerless and will take control of my situation. This led to finding a lawyer and obtaining a dissolution of marriage. While it was still a situation that I struggled to move on through, I, myself, was able to change a trait I have always lived with. A self-limiting trait or paradigm. This paradigm shift has given me new opportunities to live my life, and not be sheltered behind my own insecurities. From ‘The Parallax’, I have recognized a change in myself that I never noticed before. I do have control in my life.

  11. I have no idea how I would handle a moment of despair. I have never been in a situation of true despair. In times of great adversity or challenge, I often turn off my feelings. This allows me to rationalize what is happening and act in a way to solve my current issue. After I have finished dealing with the immediate situation, I may or may not deal with the emotional aspects of what happened. I often do not address any feelings that I had during my adversity. Ignoring my feelings allow me to do what needs to be done. I am not one to be emotional at times of duress and may not deal with those feelings later on.

  12. Most often, my feelings of despair have all been related to living up to the expectations put on me, whether by individuals, society, or myself. There is a lot riding on my performance in school, and the decisions I make in a minute often have consequences that will last for a long time. While I am at a point in my life where I have plenty of people I care about and lots of support, I still am balked and sometimes outright paralyzed by the responsibilities I have and the imminent rush of reality just around the bend post-college. Despair frequently is able to steal a night away from me, leaving me aimless and unresponsive. Largely, it’s not dealt with, which is how I’m pretty sure it’s despair. I don’t know how I plan to deal with it better in the future, but I hope that reaching out to the people who are supportive of me might yield some ideas.

  13. How do I Handle my Moments of Despair?
    In moments of sadness, confusion, and anger, I believe the first step in handing this despair is realizing that you need someone to help you through it. It is a humbling experience to admit to someone you trust that you need their help in getting through a tough situation. In my personal experience, the more open I can be with another person about my sadness, confusion, or anger, the more I am able to make sense of my own thoughts. It provides a means for me to vocalize my thoughts and have a discussion with someone who can relate and understand. Sometimes a discussion towards a solution is what is needed most, other times I just need someone to listen to our troubles. Regardless, not only do I grow closer with that person but I also have the rare opportunity to become closer to my own thoughts.

  14. I first want to start off by saying I absolutely love the title and the concept behind it. The idea of everybody viewing things a little different than actuality based on their own personal position in life. We all are a little different and those see our surroundings differently. There is no right or wrong but rather just different views that make our own experiences unique. Being able to recognize all these small differences will allow you to not only see the world better but also understand that not everybody is the same. We have all had our own personal best and worst experiences that set the limits for our own personal scale. Everybody’s scale is a little different and some peoples are drastically different. These difference are the fundamental cause of personal parallaxes.
    Now to answer the question of how I would handle my moments of despair, I would answer its always changing and I don’t really know. Now this might not seem like a logical answer but it’s the truth as every experience and interaction I encounter in my life changes my reaction and perception of events. Things that use to get me pissed off and I responded by shutting the world out like Frank did might not even bother me anymore. I might now instead try to make everything a happy ending like Sarah. I’ve gone through many losses in my lifetime and almost lost my brother to addiction. At the time I was pissed and didn’t know how to handle the emotions I felt which is similar to Frank’s response. So I can understand why people react that way and realize that they might need space to be able to work through the emotion. On the other hand I recently lost my grandpa and found great comfort in my family and in talking and remembering him for the great man he was. So in this case I associate my response to Sarah’s style of coping.
    As far as how traumatic events effects people I completely understand the 180° range of emotions that were present on 9/11 in this country. There were people like me that sat in high school in the middle of America with no personal connection to the victims that day other than being of the human race and mourn for their families and just puzzled by the anger that drove people to do something like that. On the other hand there were people that standing right there watching coworkers and family members parish right in front of them. Then there were thousands of people like Frank and Sarah somewhere in between that just sat in terror not knowing if their loved ones were alive or dead and just trying to pass time however they could until they could get an answer. The response of people in all these categories is based off their own personal scale of emotions along with their own style of coping they have formed.
    In conclusion, it doesn’t matter your view or opinions as long as you are aware that other people don’t always perfectly overlay with yours and that is OK. Being conscious of these very subtle differences makes a huge difference in your interpersonal communication and connections you are able to have.

    “… you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”
    John 8:32

  15. How do I handle my moments of despair? Reading the story of Frank and Sarah’s trip to Colorado and how it occurred on September 11, brought back memories of my experiences that morning. My wife and I had finished a four day hiking trip in Yosemite on the 10th and spent the night in Fresno on our way back to L.A. We were woken up, far too early, by a phone call from my brother stating that I had to turn on the TV and no one had heard from my Dad. In the early morning confusion I though my brother was acting especially odd. I turned on the TV and the conversation started to make sense. My parents at the time were living in NYC; my dad worked in one of the buildings across the street from the Twin Towers. It was a rude awakening. As the morning progressed, getting calls in and out of NYC became more difficult. My phone rang at some place in the California’s central valley, it was Dad. He had been in the subway station under the towers when the second plane hit . He had started walking towards their apartment when the towers fell, but he couldn’t get a hold of my mum. The call was short; I was to call my mum and keep trying until I reached her. I called the number of my mum’s friend, she had called from there earlier in the morning, my mum was there. In the hours that had passed since we had spoken, she hadn’t heard from my dad, she attempted to give blood at the local hospital. She wanted to help. She was relieved to hear that my dad was alive. The call was short, she was heading back to their apartment. Those were the memories that came back when reading The Parallax. My wife described me as a six-foot ghost in the car that day and the following days. While my parents survived, we both knew a few people who didn’t. My effectiveness that day and for awhile after was not-existent. Looking back I’m still amazed that my mum wanted to help others, even when the fate of her partner was unknown. She knew, because of her medical training, that blood or plasma would be in demand. She also has a strong sense of selflessness. She was trying to be effective, trying to help. Years later, she told me she went to the hospital because she knew if my Dad had been in the collapsing towers there was nothing that she could’ve done in those moments to save him, but she still wanted to help. She was attempting to be effective in spite of what was going on around her. I withdrew with worry about what the outcomes were going to be, with worry about my parents not knowing the fate of each other, with worry about my feelings. I turned inwards in times of despair, while my mum went the opposite way. Looking back at my mum’s actions that day, she realized that the outcome of my dad would be revealed at some point, but she had the drive to do something to help others. Reading through The Parallax, reflection on the actions taken in past events can be used to plan ahead. Those reflections can be used to see the same event from a different perspective and those incites can help shape the approach taken in future events.

  16. If Love Could Have Saved You, You Would Have Lived Forever.
    Time is fleeting, I think a death is far too often the catalyst for a change for most. However, if could be any big event or any change that may just cause someone to stop and ponder the current state of affairs for just a moment. Such as Frank and Sarah, while in the end Katie was not on one of the 9/11 planes, for just a moment they had to stop and question WHAT IF? Sometimes moments of despair can bring out the worst in people, alcoholism, abuse, etc. or sometimes it can eventually bring about change and personal growth in people even though it may take time.
    Moments of despair can also come in a couple of forms. For my family and I we have mental illness which is not so transparent and we have also suffered significant loss.
    May 12, 2004 will forever be both celebrated and mourned in our family.
    To preface that date, growing up I was not exactly the typical carefree teenager. While I had a modest amount of angst and my laundry list of problems included the standard boy drama, an all-girl catholic school, and being raised in a house where my parents would give us the moon to make us happy; a few years prior I was stamped with the family curse of depression at the ripe age of 12. I went from one of the most popular in grade school to a downward spiral of homeschooling for a year. Lucky for me, my dad knew what to look for (there is a long family lineage of depression and schizophrenia), while I would have not called it exactly a BLESSING, I am glad to have a family who approaches mental illness with acceptance and a swiftness to be able to get myself back on track quickly.
    Being put in an inpatient and outpatient psych facility at the age of 12 makes you grow up pretty quick, they made you attend meetings with 18 year olds about drugs, alcohol and eating disorders. You learn about abusive relationships and hear stories most people don’t come across in a life time. That would be the first big “parallax” moment in my life. Trying to go back to middle school after that is pretty tough, it is hard to find TP-ing houses entertaining or bullying even remotely tolerable. I remember standing up in an auditorium back at school trying to tell them about my experience and calling most of them immature, it probably wasn’t the best way to remake my old friends.
    However, at the age of 15, I was finally feeling like ME, I was in a “serious relationship” if you can call it that at the time (I did end up marrying him!) and school finally wasn’t feeling like a chore anymore. I got a job working at the local floral shop as a sales associate and they let me make flower arrangements when it got slow even though I wasn’t certified. The group older ladies and the 15 year old were a pretty comical gang however, they were my second family and from then on I’ve always enjoyed working and hanging out with people older than me. This is one way I have learned to deal with tough situations too, there is nothing like a group of moms to make you feel better! I accepted that not being the social norm was finally ok, and while I continued to deal with some anxiety and depression, I liked this new path I was on.
    My siblings were all a little different, having grown up in a family where my parents were older than most of my peers. While they tended to go out of their way to do anything for us, they also took the approach that we needed to learn from our own mistakes instead of being punished, so there was never any grounding. I had an older half-sister Alexis from my Mother’s first marriage, however she was raised by father since the age of 2. My brother Harry was 7 years older than me, and I had a twin sister Abby.
    Alexis was a rebel from the start, throwing raves at age 16, she was a DJ and party thrower. To this day she is the follow your heart, flower child type.
    Abby was still very moldable, she was trying to fit in during high school, she brushed off all the stuff with me and just wanted to be normal. She hung out with more of the popular crowd than I did, and got involved in sports.
    My brother, Harry, had some of the issues that I struggled with as well. They diagnosed him with ADHD early in grade school and he scraped by through High school. He was always very shy but a huge sweet heart and my parents kept trying to push him towards college. He got into College at MIZZOU which is where peer pressure and anxiety made him take a nose dive straight into the deep end.
    Around the second semester he was there and shortly after rushing for a fraternity, he began binge drinking and getting involved in drugs. I remember my mom and dad calling and not being able to contact him and the long screaming matches when he would come home on the weekend. Finally after a week of no contact, my dad drove up and found him, unconscious after a bender. He was pulled out of school and brought home not that long afterward.
    A couple years went by of Harry going in and out of jobs, inpatient hospitalization treatments for various issues or not sleeping, having an apartment, or staying in the house for a year or so. He partied hard with my older sister. I tried to hang out with him, we would go on crazy adventures in his car to the mall, one time careening off the highway because he was speeding. He pierced my ears and belly button after he became a professional piercer in a tattoo parlor, too bad I was allergic to metal. I do remember the few serious talks we had of the demons he suffered with, and how I too knew the feeling of trying to escape the dark black hole feeling.
    When I started to get old enough to hang out with him and understand what was going on, I was often angry. Angry and frustrated all the time of what he was putting my parents through. Both financially and mentally, they were often worried about him. I can’t remember how many car accidents he got in. He would always talk his way out of it, he got to be a great story teller. I wished my parents would cut him off, or stop believing him. Stop giving him second chances.
    On May 11th 2004 he was discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility and went to his apartment where he took a handful of prescription drugs and proceeded to walk down the street. His roommate called my parents to come get him.
    I was so angry. I was so infuriated I still remember HATING HIM.
    I didn’t say goodnight when he was put to bed on our sofa that night. Just down the hall from my bedroom.
    On May 12, 2004:
    I was still so angry I didn’t wake him up to say goodbye in the morning when I left for school the next day.
    My mom went to bring him his favorite chicken noodle soup at lunchtime and he was dead at 23 years old.

    I never got to say goodbye. I never got to say I was sorry.
    If Love Could Have Saved You, You Would Have Lived Forever.
    He was the in so much pain and hid it well. We found out a lot of hidden details after he was gone. A lot he tried to fabricate to make my parents happy so he didn’t disappoint them. He had the best sense of humor and the biggest smile. I try to remember the hilarious stories, like him dressed in a Tigger costume driving a golf cart down the street, because the painful ones are still sharp on the surface even after all these years.
    To watch your father cry at 15 is probably one of the hardest things to see. My mom couldn’t talk for days and I just remember crying until there was no tears left to be shed. We left town for a while because it was too hard to talk to people coming by. The rest of that year went by in such a blur. If there ever was a feeling of rock bottom despair, that was it.
    We got through it by being there for each other. My mom, dad and twin are my best friends. While my sisters can drive me crazy, and my relationship with my parents probably drives my husband crazy, I wouldn’t survive without all of them. They are the first people to pick me up when things go wrong, or my anxiety gets out of control.
    That phrase everyone says when something bad happens: hug your loved ones and tell them you love them, you never know if it will be the last time? It is very true. No matter what they did to make you angry, in the long run it isn’t worth a hundred years of regret. Love them always.
    While I apologize my story is long, I’ll come to some conclusions. After he died, and after multiple road bumps along the way, I continue to vow to get my life together and get on a path toward helping people. Hence why I am now down this road of pharmacy, especially in honor of him.
    Forgive often, do your best to take care of yourself and better yourself, but be gentle. Know when to ask for help. Sometimes you just can’t “pull yourself up by the bootstraps.”
    If nothing else I wish I could scream to those who hurt, HANG ON. It does get better, it will get better. It can take some time, but it will eventually be sunny again.

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