Coping with Despair

Well, hello! It has been several days since I have written, and many of you continued to visit; thank you for that. Today’s search term was despair… how to cope with it, so I will discuss that, with a bit of a twist of hope.

When you are in the grips of despair, you feel hopeless, like nothing is worth it, that things cannot get better. You are listless and depressed… It is difficult to hear that things can be any different, and, yet, they can be.

It is possible to rise above despair, to get through it, past it. I am living testimony to that, and if what I’m going to say worked for me, it can work for you.

The bottom line is, to get through despair, it is necessary to refocus your attention on another who is in need, another who is hurting. It is necessary to drag your attention to the other person, thinking of how you can be useful to them by sharing about your pain.

First, identify why you are feeling despair. Write it down, list the reasons out. Get it all out on paper. Then look for the ways in which you are feeling self-pity, ways in which you are feeling like a victim. Choose to look for a way out, a way to feel better.

Next, write down one thing you have done that makes you feel better, one thing for which you are grateful. Is it getting a cup of coffee every morning? Does that lift your spirits? Find that one thing for which you can be grateful, that one thing that makes your heart sing.

Then seek out someone else who is feeling down, feeling despair for the same or similar reasons that you are feeling despair. Go to them and let them know what worked for you to feel better, even if you felt better for just a second. Let them know of the one reason you were grateful in the midst of your despair. Share this humbly, not with an attitude of, “look at me. You need to do this, too.” Share with gentleness. Simply share your story.

Notice the flicker of hope in their eyes, on their face, as you have given them hope, even a glimmer, that things can be better for them. When you notice this, know that you were the one who brought them some hope from their despair by sharing what helped you. Know that you got out of yourself long enough to be of use to another.

This is your way out of despair. Keep being of use to others, one person at a time, and you will notice that you begin to feel more hope and less despair, simply by being grateful for one thing and then being of service to one other person.



Using Gratitude in Dealing with Despair

Good morning, everyone! It is the wee, wee hours of the morning and I popped awake, so here I am. I wish for you each an insightful day, filled with many moments of gratitude.

Face of Despair

Face of Despair

I wanted to address the person who searched for “dealing with despair.” Let me begin by saying that I know what it is like to live in despair, to be filled with it. When I was about five years into sobriety, I was so filled with despair that I was praying to die. I knew of no other way to deal with my despair than to exit this world. I was like the image to the left – wailing, covering up my eyes and just wailing.

I remember those days, and want to say I know how debilitating they are. My heart goes out to those of you who are feeling despair. I also want to say that there is a way out of it; there is something you can do to minimize your despair.

I am not one for saying “fake it till you make it,” or “act as if.” I believe that not being with what you are feeling is detrimental. However, there comes a time when you can make the choice to move through your despair to something else.

To get out of despair, using gratitude is a powerful thing. You may not be grateful for anything in your life, nor see how you can be. Yet, gratitude is a great anecdote for despair.

Try this… be grateful for at least one thing today. Is it your sight, your hearing for which you are grateful? Are you grateful that you can see the beautiful flower in that garden, or hear the birds sing? Whatever that one thing is that you are grateful for, focus on it until you are really, truly appreciative that it is in your life.

Can’t find anything for which to be grateful? Use my example; be grateful for your sight, your hearing. Take your attention off of your despair and focus on the gratitude you have for that one thing. Allow that feeling to consume you throughout the day. Revisit it again and again.

Helping others to see their world with new eyes is what I do in my coaching practice. If you are having difficulty being grateful and would like some assistance to get there, please call for a free 30 minute discovery session. We will discover together what you want from your life and the blocks you are experiencing that keep you from getting what you want. Simply call me at 415-883-8325.

As you go through the day, make an effort to find gratitude for one thing, just one, and focus on it throughout the day. Use gratitude to deal with your despair and let us know how that went for you by leaving a comment.




Feelings of Giving Up

Good morning and happy day to each of you! I am compelled to speak to the person who expressed “feelings of giving up.” I remember being in that state where all I could do was pray to die because I was experiencing feelings of giving up. It was s such a place of despair that I want to speak to the person who searched for it.

The reason I am so much wanting to speak to them is because I want to relay there is hope. It gets better – it really does. In fact, there are things you can do which will make it get better, which can get you out of the place where you have feelings of giving up.

One thing you can do is begin to identify the one thing that lights you up. This could be the simple beauty of a flower, or seeing a child laugh. I blogged yesterday about this, so read yesterday’s blog. Find just one small thing that can make you smile in spite of yourself and your feelings of giving up. Focus on it and bring your thoughts back to it when you begin to have feelings of giving up.

The next thing you can do is become willing to look at things from a whole new angle, with new eyes. Resolve to have this willingness. If you can’t seem to become willing, ask the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness. Just keep saying, Universe, please help me be willing to have willingness.

Next, think of how you can help another. Set aside  your feelings of giving up for a brief time, and do something nice for someone else. Help an elderly person in some way, or a homeless person. Set aside your feelings of giving up while you’re helping them and you’ll begin to feel better.

Now consider what the lesson is that you are being taught, for our darkest hours can be our greatest teachers if we allow them to be.

Give these suggestions a try and see if you do no begin to get through your feelings of giving up. I hope you are feeling less like giving up and more like you have value to others in the world.

If you would like help to get to a place of feeling better about things, I coach people to get past the feelings of giving up. Simply call me to schedule a free 30 minute discovery call. On that call we will discuss what it is you want from your life and how o go about getting it. Call 415-883-8325.



Easter – A Day of Rising Up by Finding Sobriety

Good morning and Happy Easter to each of you! I wish for you a day of rising up, of being reborn in your life. For me, that rebirth happened after I found sobriety. By becoming sober, I became able to heal form past wounds, and to learn to forgive, to create forgiveness in my life.

Today, I want to address sobriety and then mention forgiveness…

Have you been beaten down so low in your life that you are in great despair, with little or no hope that things will get better? Are you drinking mass quantities to numb the pain and confusion you feel? There is a way out. It is one of sobriety.

Right now, today – a day of rising up – you can choose sobriety. You can choose another course for your life. It doesn’t have to be in shame that you do this – instead, you can be in great relief that you no longer have to drown your sorrows and feel miserable the next day. Ah yes, the hangovers. How I remember them well… getting up and not being able to function until the afternoon, going to get my hangover food – a burrito from Taco Bell or a thigh from Kentucky Fried Chicken – all so it would settle my queasy stomach and quell the sharp pain in my head.

Are you there yet? Wanting to give it all up? Then it is time for you to consider sobriety, to ask for help. There are many support groups around from which you can get assistance. All you have to do is look in your yellow pages, or google alcohol support groups. They are there to help you – right now. Follow that small voice in your heart that wants to be done, that small voice that urges you to ask for help. It will be the best thing you do for yourself in your life!

Once you find sobriety, after a while, you will learn how to create forgiveness in your life, of both others and yourself, and that is the most freeing and peaceful thing you can experience. It will make you glow, make you radiant. You do not want to miss this experience!

The thing about sobriety is, it allows you to heal from all the demons you chase away when you are drinking. Through sobriety, you create a life that is filled with freedom, with peace. But you have to start somewhere, so why not at the beginning and what better day than Easter?



Dealing with Despair

Face of Despair

Face of Despair 

Good morning. I hope it is a day of brightness for each of you. Yet, judging from the search term of “dealing with despair,” which showed up three times, I suspect some of you are not feeling brightness in your lives. So today, I want to talk about a way out of despair.

See the image to the left? Can you see the little face, mouth open in a wail of despair, hands covering his eyes? It is from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, with the verse that says, “Can you hear my wail? Can I hear myself?”

What I meant by “Can I hear myself” was that often, we do not pay attention when we are in deep pain. We ignore it by stuffing it, by becoming incredibly busy, or by numbing the feelings with substances. Is this you?

STOP! Your soul is crying out to be acknowledged, wants you to pay attention to it, wants the opportunity to heal. When you feel those feelings of despair, stop. Become willing to write in a journal or notebook what you are feeling.

When writing, I suggest you print with your non-dominant hand. This will prompt all sorts of your deepest feelings to emerge onto the page; you’ll get to the bottom of your woes more quickly and easily. Try to stay with those feelings for at least 15 minutes at a time. When you can no longer deal with them, THEN get up and be active… do the dishes, take a walk, do something productive.

Then look at and consider what you have written about your despair. Consider how you want to feel instead. Write about that in detail… what would your life look like if you were not in despair? Vision it, write about it. Now, consider if there is an action you can take right now that will move you forward to that vision of how you want your life to be.

Focus on that one thing, that one action. Keep it simple. You will have to find one action you can take. Maybe you cannot do it in the moment, but you can do it today sometime, or tomorrow. Make a to-do list and put that action step on the list. Often, when we are being of use to someone else, our despair lessens, so you might consider an action step that involves doing something good for another.

On the other hand, we often forego our needs for the needs and desires of another, so you may need to focus on your needs and desires right now. Doing good for another can come after you have met your needs.

Now, take that action. Just take it, do it – that one simple thing. Once you have done it, sit and contemplate how you feel about yourself now, having done something good for yourself. Write about it, share about it with someone you trust not to steamroll you.

I am not suggesting this is easy, for it is not. It will take willingness on your part. AND, once you do it, you will reap the rewards and you will feel less despair and more peace in your heart.

Sit down and write today… now. Then take that action step.

If what I say resonates with you, move at the speed of instruction. : ) Write again and again about your despair, focusing on your vision and taking action. Let us know in a comment if things change for you.


Books to Read When You Are in Despair

Hello again today. I’d like to list out the books I found especially helpful in my quest and thirst for inner peace. I hope you, too, find them to be useful to lift your despair.

The Invitation and The Dance by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Yesterday I Cried and In the Meantime by Iyanla VanZant, plus the meditation book by her, Until Today

It Will Never Happen to Me and Changing Course by Claudia Black, PhD

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck

These books were all especially useful to me in my journey to wholeness. I hope they are useful to you. And there are more. If you are interested, feel free to email me at to get more information about how you can receive my books. I have a library of them I am giving away, so if you are interested, email me.


What to Do When You Despair

Good morning all! I am back on a brand new computer and will not be having crashes any more! Yay!! Thank each of you for continuing to visit while I was down, and my computer was at camp, getting new data imported from the dying one.

Face of Despair

I am drawn to the search term “what to do when you despair,” and would like to offer  the image to the left to depict our wail when we are in despair. Do you see the face, the mouth opened in an utter wail? The hands covering the eyes, hiding tears being shed? This image is from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, which is available for purchase online under the “products” tab.

Ah, if you are in a place of despair, I feel with all my heart for your situation, having been there myself many times in the past. It is a place of utter pain, of inability to move forward… a place where one feels hopeless, feels that things cannot get better. For me, it was a place of giving up. It was the time that I start praying to God to let me die, because I was too afraid to kill myself, afraid I wold fail in the effort.

What do we do when we are in despair? Well, what worked for me was to discover a way in which I could use my despair to be useful to another person. It happened quite by accident, actually. I heard a man share at a meeting of my alcohol recovery support group, and he was suffering form the same despair I was feeling.

So, I went up to him and offered him the names of books I had read which were comforting to me, and I offered him the name of my therapist. He was so grateful, he almost started crying. After that happened, while I was walking to my car, I realized the things I was despairing about were the things which had been useful to him.

I had been of service to another simply by sharing of my despair and what I’d discovered that was comforting, even though this comfort did not sustain me. I suddenly realized that by taking action and sharing of the few simple things I had done, I was useful and in doing so, I felt worthwhile.

Boy, I suddenly had a purpose for my life… to share my story and small solutions with others so that they, too, could find comfort in small things. My despair left me at that moment of realization and it has never returned. That was in 2007.

So, what can you do when you despair? Well, take action. Any small step you can do to help another human being will do and you will begiin to see your life has a purpose, that YOU have a purpose! All it takes is a small revelation you have discovered. If you think hard enough about it, you will likely find one such comforting thing you have discovered and you can share it with another.

What action can you take today to be of service to another, based on one comforting thing you have learned? Have you read a book that was useful to you, or had a revelation about something in your life that brought you joy? Share that with someone else who is in despair and I almost guarantee you you will feel better about things. Allow that to be your “aha!” moment, when you can be useful to another.

What was your aha! moment that you shared with another? Leave a comment and share it with us.


Growing Beyond Despair

Good morning. It is not quite dawn here at my home as I sit to write to you. Honestly, I do not know exactly what I want to write, other than to say I’d like to continue with positive words about despair and suggestions on how to grow past it.

Yesterday, I wrote about my experience with despair and how I got past it permanently. I invite you to read that article in addition to this. Today, let’s focus on the things you can do to work toward letting go of your despair, growing beyond it.

I believe that a solution lies in the doing of something for others, but I also believe that we can’t skip over the step of looking deeply at our pain. Most people do not do this, simply because it IS painful, but the rewards we reap by exploring are many-fold. Inner peace, freedom, serenity, are a few of the rewards and these are huge!

The two single-most things I found that we can do to grow beyond despair are to journal about our feelings, our past, and to read self-help books. For me, the self-help books gave me hope, gave explanation for my feelings. I read Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation and gained immense hope and deep understanding of my inner-most desires.

Then, Claudia Black’s books about the effects of abuse in our lives gave words to my feelings and helped me climb out of the hole of despair. After Claudia’s books came Alice Miller and John Bradshaw.

All of the books I read that helped me get through despair are sitting in two boxes here in my study and if you are interested in finding out what I have and reading them, I am happy to relay to you what I have and can send to you. Call me at 415-883-8325 if you’re interested in knowing more.

So, one way to get beyond despair is to read books that speak of hope. The other way is to write, and I suggest journaling with the non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, teach yourself to print with your left hand, for example. The rewards are tremendous, as deep feelings will flow onto the page.

At first you may discover that the feelings that arise are too painful. If so, talk to someone you trust, or to a minister, or to a counselor. The point is to get help with them, but try to continue on. Research has shown that writing with the non-dominant hand uncovers deep creativity. I found it also uncovers deep feelings.

Be gentle with yourself as feelings surface. Do this exercise for a limited time each day at a pre-designated time of the day. Even five minutes is a great start. Eat well; exercise to release the tension that may arise. Don’t act upon what you discover, as what you are feeling now will change. It will morph into more of a peace eventually.

And I cannot stress enough to get help with what you discover.

I wish you well in your healing process and seriously, call me if you’re interested in getting access to my library of healing books. 415-883-8325. May you find peace in your journey as you learn to grow beyond despair. .



Despair and Trauma

Hi, all! The day dawns bright and clear here in my home town of Novato, just 30 minutes north of San Francisco. It holds promise of peace for me and I hope for you also.

Yesterday’s search term really spoke to me. It was “despair and trauma” and it spoke to me because I experienced trauma that caused me great despair throughout my life as an adult. My upbringing was physically and verbally violent, traumatic for me, and throughout my adult life, I drank heavily to quell the feelings of despair I felt over the incidents I experienced.

Sometimes, I got drunk enough that I lost all self-control and found myself wailing over my despair. I would keen for hours until I was cried dry. Even in sobriety, I experienced despair over the issue that I saw no purpose in having had experienced the abuse I did; there was no purpose in it other than to make my life miserable.

Then one day, I had the opportunity to be useful to another person who was struggling, simply by relaying what had happened to me and what I had been doing to heal from it all. He was so grateful for the information, he almost started crying.

As I walked to my car, I started crying because I suddenly realized my upbringing had been of use. I was crying tears of realization, of joy. My background had been something that allowed me to connect to someone who was suffering, and I was able to have compassion for their plight.

If I never would have suffered as I did, I never would have been on the healing journey I was, and what I learned never would have been helpful to that man. See how my upbringing suddenly became useful to another? I did, and my despair disappeared and has not returned since that day about 6 years ago.

You, too, perhaps, can quiet your despair simply by letting your experience with trauma be known to someone else who is struggling. Then, share what you have done to heal from that despair, things that have been useful for you, things that have given you even a little bit of hope.

It is my hope that you discover, as I did, that your heart soars because you used your trauma and despair to be useful to another. It is my hope that you find peace.




Overcoming Hopelessness and Despair

Good morning. May this be a pleasant and productive day for you all. Today, there were numerous searches for issues related to hopelessness and despair, so that is what I will address today.

There are no two things that are so emotionally draining as hopelessness and despair. And once we are feeling these, we feel physically drained as well. We are chronically depressed, and have no energy or desire to do anything. At least, that is how it was for me.

For me, there was a feeling that things could not and would not get better. That hopelessness and despair touched everything I tried to do, and I seemed to just keep failing. Soon, I gave up. I started praying to die because I was too afraid to kill myself. The biggest thing I was despairing about was my background, the abuse, and feeling it was for no purpose in my life other than to make me miserable.

Then one day, something happened which took away the hopeless and despair in an instant. I was at a meeting where a man shared about his continued difficulties with his childhood issues. Hmmm, he sounded like he had a similar background as mine, so I went to talk to him after the meeting.

After I asked if he wanted to hear what I had to say, I relayed my story a little bit, and then started telling him about the things I was doing to try and get past the effects of the abuse. I told him about my therapist who was versed in 12-step programs as well as Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) issues.  He asked how to reach her and I told him.

Then I started talking about books I had read which had been very helpful in putting the puzzle together about my hopelessness and despair. John Bradshaw, Alice Miller, and the most helpful, Claudia Black. He was so grateful for this information he almost started crying.

As I walked to my car, I started crying as I realized there was a purpose for my abusive upbringiing. It was to have experienced it so I could relate to others and the hopelessness and despair they felt because of it, and then so I could relay how I was healing from it. And doing this was useful and helpful to others who were suffering from hopelessness and despair. Suddenly, the feelings went away, and I felt refreshed, lightened, alive.

To get past your feelings of hopelessness and despair, I suggest you consider all the things you have done that have helped you, even a tiny bit, to feel better. Then, seek out others who are dealing with what you are dealing with, and relay to them what has been working for you in your journey.

In other words, use your successes to build up someone else. Use your experiences to be of service to another who is suffering from hopelessness and despair. When you do this, your own hopelessness and despair will lessen.

Let us know if this has been helpful for you to be of service to another by leaving a comment. Thank you.