My life is hopeless

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What Does a Volunteer Crisis Counselor Do?

Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the United States. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely—anywhere with a computer and secure internet connection works.

Crisis Counselors answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning.

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I volunteer for Crisis Text Line because practicing empathy and reflective listening makes me a better friend, partner, and employee. CRISIS COUNSELOR, STUDENT

How Do I Become a Crisis Counselor?

This all begins with training. In 30 hours, you’ll walk away knowing reflective listening, collaborative problem solving, and crisis management. (These are skills that will help in your personal relationships too!)

You can train from anywhere—in your PJs, in a coffee shop, wherever—and our Crisis Counselors highlight this intervention training on their resumes when interviewing for jobs, applying to grad school, and building out their LinkedIn profile.

Time commitment & Hours

When the rest of the country is sleeping, 2/3 of our crisis situations—and by default texter volume—occurs at night. Our greatest need for Crisis Counselors is between 7pm and 3am PST (10pm and 6am EST).

Are you a night owl or early riser? Looking for an odd-hours volunteer opportunity in crisis intervention? You’ve found the right place!

Volunteer Crisis Counselors commit to volunteering 4 hours per week until 200 hours are reached. Ideally, we expect you to fulfill your commitment within one year. Before you begin as a counselor, you’ll also complete a training period to give you all of the expertise you need to successfully and empathetically navigate crisis intervention.

This training is free for you, but it costs Crisis Text Line $1,008 to train each Crisis Counselor. So, we need volunteers to see training through to the end and serve out their 200-hour commitment.

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Benefits of becoming a Crisis Counselor

This is an opportunity to hone your skills in communication, counseling, and intervention. You’ll be working alongside volunteers who are also social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists which can in turn sharpen your crisis management skills!

But most of all, you’ll feel supported. This is a community. We are a big awesome family.

Ready to become a Crisis Counselor?

We accept applications on a rolling basis. We begin new training cohorts weekly, but space is limited.

To apply, applicants must be 18 or older and have a US Social Security Number and/or a US address. To volunteer, Crisis Counselors must have access to reliable Internet access and a personal computer.

The Process:

Step 1

Complete the 30-minute Crisis Counselor application and consent to a background check

Step 2

Complete the 30-hour web-based crisis counseling and intervention training.

Step 3

Take your first counseling shift and start changing lives!

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Being a Crisis Counselor teaches me so much around believing in hope, trusting the process, and deepening compassion — for others and for myself. CRISIS COUNSELOR, STUDENT
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4 Things to Remember When Life Feels Hopeless

“However long the night, the dawn will break.” ~African Proverb

Were there times in your life where it felt anything that could go wrong went wrong? That was me five years ago.

In a span of nine months, my marriage to a partner of eight years broke down, I lost four family members to unexpected deaths, and I suddenly found myself hurtled from living the dream life to being jobless, penniless, and homeless.

To say life knocked the wind out of me would be an understatement.

Each time I picked myself up, another blow would send me sprawling toward a sense of utter defeat. It was as if a tornado swept through my entire being and left me empty and devoid of hope, strength, and any ounce of self-belief.

Shell-shocked, I spent that whole year crying. I would wake up crying in the mornings, run to cry in public toilets during the day, and end my days crying myself to sleep. It was a dark period of my life where everything was one blurry haze of tears.

As those days of hopelessness stretched on, the only thing I could focus on was taking baby steps every day to build a new life and a new future.

It was an arduous journey where I was often taking one step forward and two steps backward. Many times, I felt like I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I struggled to find the strength to inch forward.

Five years on, I finally came out the other side. My new life and the new me are still under construction, but I now have in me a spring of strength to propel me forward, regardless of setbacks or how grim a situation seems.

This newfound capacity did not develop overnight. It grew gradually as I practiced and incorporated into my life the valuable insights below.

If you’re going through difficult times now, the following four reminders may help you be more resilient.

1. Remember that life always changes. Things can get better.

When troubles strike, it can feel like things will only get worse, but that is the pessimist in us talking. If we keep the faith and respond to the situation with positive and constructive actions, we can break out of the cycle and things can get better.

Sometimes all we need to do is to simply let time pass and to resist the temptation to overreact and aggravate the problem. During times like these, I would distract myself by actively engaging in other areas of my life.

2. Recall how you overcame similar struggles in the past.

When plodding through a challenging time, it’s natural to be gripped by fear, self-doubt, and pessimistic thoughts that we won’t be able to surmount the obstacles. We forget that it always feels impossible until it’s done, and that we have overcome similar struggles in the past.

A simple but extremely effective thing I did was to list down the occasions in my life where I busted through hurdles and rose above the seemingly insurmountable difficulties. As I penned out the victories, I found renewed faith in myself and in the unknown future, which may well bring the good instead of the bad like I feared.

3. Remember that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Zoom out on the issue and focus on the grand scheme of things. More often than not, the raging fires in our lives hijack our attention and we fail to see the big picture. It’s rarely the case that every aspect of our lives went awry at the same time, and it’s critical to keep the right perspective when the going gets tough.

We need to remember that our problems are merely a subset of everything that’s going on in our lives and not let the worries, fear, and anxiety overtake our minds. Even if every area of our lives—namely health, relationship, work, money, and passion—went haywire, the fact that we’re alive means there’s hope for things to turn around.

4. Remember that there are still things to appreciate.

Do not let the darkness blind you from seeing the stars. It’s human nature to get caught up with the things that are not working out in our lives and forget the good bits. I’m a big believer of a grateful heart being a magnet for abundance and miracles.

No matter how terrible life may seem at any single point, there are always good things if we keep our eyes peeled for them.

Thanks to the challenges, I came to see who my true friends were, and I also learned to appreciate many of the blessings I had taken for granted. I might have lost a life partner, loved ones, money, and employment, but these setbacks are transient.

I would always have my degree, knowledge, skills, professional experience and network, and people who care deeply for me to fall back on and to get me back on my feet.

As I grew stronger in handling life’s curveballs, I was grateful that I had developed this invaluable life skill at a young age so I can have the rest of my life to benefit from it. While maintaining a thankful heart, I realized that even in dark times there are stars we can gaze upon if we view our plight through the right lens.

Which areas of your life are you struggling with right now? How do you cope and stay resilient?

About Sylvia Huang

Sylvia Huang is a blogger on life ideas that make everyday feel good. She writes about habits and productivity, health and wellness, emotional intelligence, and money matters. Her inspiration comes from her experiences living in Japan, France, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia, working in the fund management industry and travels in over twenty-five countries. Read her other articles on her website,

See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

How to stop suffering, even if everything is bad


A person among people Know yourself

I have to work with clients on their difficult past experience, and every time I observe how disbelief in their own strength seizes them. They doubt their worth, their ability to get better, and even their deserving of something better.

On the way to healing, the inner logic throws up heavy thoughts:

  • "I'm a complete loser, and there's nothing you can do about it." nine0012
  • "My life is a mess, no matter how hard I try to fix it."
  • “Everything is hopeless. I guess I'm just not meant to be happy."

These self-deprecating thoughts can be very painful and trap you into self-sabotage. After all, if improvements are hopeless, there is nothing to even try.

In order to neutralize the destructive installation, it is necessary to deprive it of its usual function.

Perhaps not everyone has reached such a degree of hopelessness as some clients, but many have certainly experienced doubts and uncertainty more than once. When we give in to uncertainty and let it guide our actions, we move away from what is serious and important. nine0003

That's why I'm always working on neutralizing thoughts. To neutralize a destructive installation, it is necessary to deprive it of its usual function. For example, take the thought "I'm not good enough." This is an extremely heavy, depressing thought, which often leads to even greater anguish and suffering. However, if you sing "I'm not good enough" to the tune of the song "Happy Birthday", it loses its original meaning. The words are still the same, but the effect - the function - changes.

There are many decontamination techniques that give such a result. Many people with whom I have worked have managed to neutralize their thoughts, that is, to take away their power. And although deactivation techniques are effective in dealing with the inner critic, at some point the client returns to objectivity: “But it’s true!” nine0003

Many stubbornly cling to their insecurities because they are convinced that this is the truth:

  • "I don't have a penny."
  • "My husband doesn't love me anymore. "
  • "My life is a complete nightmare."
  • "I was deprived of parental rights."
  • "I was diagnosed with cancer."

Of course, it is much easier to cast aside doubts if you are generally aware that the thought is not substantiated by anything. But when the deepest fears are justified, things are much more complicated. At such moments, it is tempting to enter into an argument, to start convincing the person that he/she “is not all lost” or “there is still a future”. However, this will only lead to unnecessary excuses and further aggravate the situation. nine0003

The content of a thought is not so important whether it is true or not, either. What matters is where it leads. Only her action matters

But I changed tactics. Acceptance and responsibility therapy does not try to figure out how true a thought is. Moreover, it does not really matter whether it is positive or negative. All this doesn't matter. The main thing is what and how thought serves. After all, thoughts are tools. They push to follow goals and values, or, conversely, drag them into self-destructive behavior. nine0003

The value of a thought is measured not by its reliability, but by how it works and what it does to us. The negative statement "I'm a bad friend" can make people more considerate. The negative and certainly true statement “I will die” can help to reflect on how we live. An unpleasant truth like “My personal life is a complete mess” can be a reason to register on a dating site. And in the same way, a completely positive statement “I am always and in everything the coolest of all” can ruin relationships with others and make us a narcissistic narcissist. nine0003

The content of the thought is not that important. True or not, too. What matters is where it leads. Only its action matters. The next time your mind starts babbling about mistakes and shortcomings, and your inner critic turns up the volume so that you can hear better and be sure to believe because it’s true, ask yourself: “Does this thought somehow help me live and move forward?” If yes, great! And if not, it's time to remember the peppy motive of the song "Happy Birthday".

About the Author

Steven S. Hayes Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Text: Elena Anisimova Photo Source: Getty Images

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What is a feeling of despair in a person, an explanation of the state of despair

According to studies, despair begins to be felt especially often and sharply when people enter the period of early adulthood - 30-40 years. This harmful feeling causes problems with mental and somatic health. nine0003

The state of despair can be seen as a symptom of mental disorders, or it can be a situational emotion that occurs in response to negative life events. An oppressive sense of hopelessness is found in diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, various types of addictions, and more. Despair is not always associated with a psychiatric diagnosis, but, regardless of the cause, this feeling has a devastating effect on life and health. Negative emotions threaten not only the well-being and mental stability of a person. They can also rob you of the motivation you need to complete daily tasks, connect with people, or even seek help. nine0003

People often experience feelings of despair after tragic events. This is usually the main emotion that arises in response to a sudden traumatic event. In this case, this is a normal and understandable reaction, but it can lead to rash decisions in critical situations, or it can drag on and poison life for a long time. Fortunately, it is in our power to dispel this pernicious feeling. We can learn to cope with any loss, move on, change and continue our lives if we do not ignore the problematic situation and turn for help. nine0003

What is despair

Everyone experiences despair at difficult times in their lives. We may despair from time to time about our work, marriage, sex life, finances, world events, and more. But usually this despair dissipates over time, and life goes on. At least until the next crisis.

But sometimes despair does not go away, but, on the contrary, deepens and begins to significantly affect behavior, flowing into a chronic problem. When this feeling reduces the quality of life, prevents you from moving towards goals, dreams and desires, then it becomes pathological or clinical despair. nine0003

Despair is characterized by a lack of hope, optimism, and passion for life. This feeling can be described as a mixture of mental anguish, despondency and disappointment, which lead to the loss of the meaning of one's existence. Therefore, in despair, the explanation that life goes on and all problems can be solved may not have the desired effect if there was no preliminary psychotherapeutic preparation.

Despair is a strong emotion that negatively affects how a person perceives himself, other people, personal circumstances and the world in general. Often, hopelessness guides a person's behavior, because of it there is a negative attitude towards the future and the loss of any motivation. To despair means to stop appreciating even those things and events that were once very important. Emotions are often associated with a lack of inspiration, as well as feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, abandonment, oppression, and social isolation. nine0003

People who know what despair is can say the following about themselves:

  • My situation will never get better
  • I have no future
  • Nobody and nothing can help me
  • I feel like I've given up
  • It's too late to change anything
  • I have no hope for a bright future
  • I will never be happy again

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to contact a specialist immediately after a traumatic event. But if a person feels that time is running out, and the feeling of despair does not go away, then it is necessary to seek professional help. The therapist will not only help you find the cause of despair and eliminate the feeling of hopelessness, but also teach you how to cope with life's difficulties and think rationally in critical situations. This will help to avoid rash actions that will negatively affect life for many years to come. There is no need to visit a psychotherapist whenever there is a feeling of hopelessness. A competent specialist will teach you how to be persistent and independently cope with these situations in the future. Therapy will make it clear that no matter how hopeless things seem now, there is always hope and meaning to move on. nine0003

Suppressed motivation, lack of interest, negative thoughts about the future, and low self-esteem are all common issues that accompany feelings of desperation and that must be dealt with in the therapist's office.

One of the effective psychotherapeutic approaches that are used for this problem is cognitive therapy. It is aimed at working out the negative thoughts and attitudes of the patient. Because the cognitive approach requires people undergoing treatment to carefully consider the validity of their assumptions, a person who is discouraged may initially be resistant to this approach. However, an experienced specialist removes these psychological barriers, helping the patient to look at life from a different angle. nine0003

Numerous studies show that psychotherapy often helps people who have fallen into despair find hope and achieve lasting mental health.

If necessary, drug therapy can be carried out, which includes modern antidepressants, mild sleeping pills and other drugs, the choice of which depends on the situation.

What despair means for children

Despair and depression can occur at any age: not only in adulthood or old age, but also in adolescence or even early childhood. The psyche of children is extremely unstable and vulnerable. As such, children and teens are usually more susceptible to trauma than adults, but with the right support and reassurance, they can also recover faster. nine0003

The strong, confusing, and frightening emotions that follow traumatic events undermine a child's sense of security, causing them to feel helpless and vulnerable.

Trauma and despair - what does it mean for children and how to recognize them? Manifestations depend on the situation and the age of the child. Among them:

  • Unfounded fears
  • Frequent crying and screaming
  • A large number of aimless movements or, conversely, reduced motor activity
  • Return to behaviors that are characteristic of an earlier age, such as thumb sucking or bedwetting
  • Loss of interest in friends, family and former hobbies
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Poor school performance
  • Complaints of physical ailment
  • Feelings of depression, apathy or guilt

Ignoring the problem can lead to irreversible consequences: the child will stop living a full life, may start studying, lose friends and interest in life for many years. Deep despair often degenerates into acts of violence: either against oneself or against others. In the worst cases, mental illness develops, various types of addictions and even suicidal behavior occur. nine0003

If a child has fallen into despair so much that this feeling for a long time prevents him from functioning at school or at home, this means that it is no longer possible to postpone the appeal to a psychotherapist.

Signs to watch out for parents:

  • Despair persists for 6 weeks or more
  • Academic and performance problems
  • Child frequently complains of headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, or sleep disturbance
  • Child finds it increasingly difficult to communicate with friends and family
  • Child or adolescent expresses suicidal thoughts
  • The child became withdrawn, anxious
  • Outbursts of rage and aggression that were not there before
  • Bad mood, sadness, tearfulness

The more parents know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for their child's depression, the faster their recovery will be.

Learn more