So, today's quote...a few weeks ago, I was reading Breathless by Dean Koontz, a magical, mystical, thought-provoking novel nothing like the Koontz horror novels I used to read years ago (read my review here). I actually marked several pages with quotes I wanted to write down and remember, but one in particular really spoke to me. It's from a character who suffered years of abuse as a child and teen who finally found the strength to attack her abuser and escape. Interestingly, I thought it also applied perfectly to some of my experiences in dealing with chronic illness:
Despair was an emotion too intense to sustain for long. Somehow, she had allowed her despair to mutate into despondency instead of into desperation. Desperation was energized despair; it would have much sooner led to action, heedless of consequences. Despondency was the dismal incapacity to hope, and hopelessness fostered apathy.
- Cammy in Breathless by Dean Koontz
This really struck me because I had been feeling some despair about the time I read that passage. The day before, I had finally shed my despondency over my son's condition and had taken action on several fronts: I e-mailed two doctors who have written extensively about their theories that I thought might apply to some of my son's recent struggles, I had pored over records of my son's recent symptoms, and I had requested a medication change for him from his doctor. In short, my despondency had shifted to desperation - energized despair - and I felt so much better for having taken action.
Despair is common in our lives; even after a decade of living with chronic illness, it lurks in the shadows waiting to descend upon me during difficult times. And I believe strongly in the power of hope and in taking action. These lines just crystallized my own thoughts and beliefs.
How about you? What have been your experiences with despair, despondency, and desperation?