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Losing hope

Working through the pandemic may feel like being in a dark tunnel with no end in sight. When challenges seem endless and like they are beyond your capacity to control, hopelessness is a normal reaction. 

Hopelessness is the belief that your current circumstances cannot be changed. It has been said to have four stages: hope, rage, despair, and apathy.3

  • Rage is the first reaction when a goal or hope is blocked. It shows you that something is wrong, and that action must be taken.
  • However, rage may be ineffective in achieving your desired goals or hopes — particularly when they are so challenging, they are nearly impossible to achieve. This can be frustrating. Your rage can turn to despair.
  • If a nearly impossible challenge worsens to an impossible one, then despair can lead to apathy. This is when you no longer hope for anything.

Hopelessness is important to consider when thinking about your own mental health during the pandemic. Researchers in Turkey, Italy, and the United States have found that many healthcare providers are showing signs of burnout and exhaustion, and increased levels of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.4, 5 

If you have been feeling hopeless after all that you have been through, then building hope is important for you — and it’s possible too! 

Just as hope can be destroyed, it can also be built.