Psychology of Survival: Fear and Despair

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This week’s Mental barrier is Fear and Despair.  I decided to put both of them together as they are so closely related that it is extremely difficult to tell them apart but they both need to be addressed separately

Despair – This trait takes an interesting form. Despair is the mental view that something will be so horrible that the mere thought of it stops you from progressing forward.  This can easily be seen when someone states that “after XX event, the world would be so bad that I wouldn’t want to live in it, so I won’t”.  This thought process gives the person a complete aversion to even wishing to survive.  Despair is the most difficult barrier to get over simply because a person in despair has lost all hope and is completely apathetic to the idea that the end of the world as we know it is worth surviving.

Fear – Fear often looks like despair but, thankfully with fear not all hope has been lost because of this it is much easier to deal with because all hope has not been lost.  People are often afraid to put together a plan or talk things out with their family or spouse from the fear of possibilities outside of their control and the inability to have immediate answers to the issues they will be facing.  This is especially true in a situation where you have a family involved as the sheer terror around not being able to fully protect your children during every conceivable disaster.  The truth of the matter is…not one of us has all the answers.  We can only prepare so much and the rest will be left up to being able to your ability to improvise during a disaster.

5 Responses to :
Psychology of Survival: Fear and Despair

  1. pam says:

    Thank you for all the good information.

  2. Tcrale says:

    I personally feel that despair is much more lethal then fear. The reason I say this is because you can actually channel fear to become productive and it is ultimately very useful in combat. However despair is the more lethal one because it is a trained “giving up” and it can take multiple forms. Maybe someone has experienced constant failure which causes or maybe they’ve been told there is no way to get out of a certain situation (when anyone who’s either experienced the situation or knows about it can tell you, you can, ie. no food for 10 days). But I just feel that despair is the most lethal especially when shit REALLY hits the fan. So my question to you is, how should I be able to better prepare people for despair (And also fear), so they know what to experience?

  3. Jerry says:

    Amen.
    I agree that despair is lethal. My wife despaired yesterday, and I simply told her not to despair without good reason (on my part) other than to bring her back to an even keel.
    Her situation is as follows: Cancer, surgery (3 each since Oct 2011) and now pills with bad side-effects for five years following chemo and radiation completed. After-effects are the usual burn from radiation lasting longer than the two weeks promised, but even so, this is not really all of the problem.
    Her age of 79 going on 80 in January is more of her problem. What do you do when facing ‘going around the corner’ to see what is really on the other side? She loves to be active in the yard, but has been relegated to sedentary life style against her better judgment.
    I feel the same since I am 75 going on 76 in June. I presume to ‘know’ where I am going and she does too. But getting there is a different story. All we have ever done has been a looking forward to accomplishing our mission here on earth, but not to this transition from one state to another.
    I guess my answer to Tcrale is the psychology I used on my wife which has worked as well as possible: snap out of it, pick up the pieces and keep going forward serving God (or whomever or whatever) as best as you can no matter what… Doing a ‘Thelma and Louise’ over the cliff and into the Grand Canyon in a convertible is not the proper final solution, nor is keeping one last round in your sidearm for yourself either-as the ants come.
    Any positive suggestions are welcome.
    [email protected]

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