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How to Survive the Pit of Despair

Pit of despair

The Pit

Have you even been down in the pit of aloneness, isolation, loneliness, and desperation? What did you see in there? Better yet, how did you see yourself in there?

The pit is the last stop before you reach the suicide thought station that the train of mind can sometimes take you to.

No, you are not the only one who feels the way you do when you’re in the pit, and you’re right that it doesn’t make a difference if others feel it too, that they might too have felt that way before.

In fact, nothing matters when you’re in the pit because down there, there is no room for others, friends or foes. Nobody is allowed in the pit, but you and your regrets, hurt, and insecurities. There’s just you with nothing but a negative (which we like to call realistic) attitude and thinking.

You’re a lot in your head and it feels like nobody can take that trance-like state away from you. And when the ones who love you try to comfort you, you resist them and push them away because you might not want to burden them or you might think that there is nothing they can do anyways. You feel like you’ve slipped past the point of salvation, of help. You look at the ones you love and you try to muster up a smile so they’re not worried, but they always know and probably feel as helpless as you do.

Yeah, you feel helpless in the pit; how could you not feel hopeless and helpless when it feels like there is nothing left?

You feel completely stunned and shocked, and oh so confused. Isolation breeds further isolation. Everything feels like a lie, and above all you feel like you’re a lie.

The pit allows no light and it’s darker than the depths of Hades. The pit is the place you find yourself in apparently out of the blue or when you’ve failed terribly. Failure and the perception of it can take you to the bottom of the pit, and so can fear and depression.

I wish I could tell you that someone can take the pit away. Nobody can or will, but once in a while you hear a success story that will make you wonder if the same is possible for you.

You see, with a clear mind outside the pit, you can reason with yourself and are more perceptive about possibilities. The pit has no reasoning skills incorporated with it. Its only reason is punishment, that is self-punishment. It makes you feel inert and inflexible in a way that retards some of your most basic cognitive abilities and faculties. In the pit, we feel blinded by emotions that maintain an air of dullness and almost rhythmic presence. It’s hard to come out of the pit and many times we lose the ability to even will it. We feel like giving up entirely, after all isn’t everything pointless?

You could give up, it’s certainly an option. You could also try to entertain the pit by staying there under one condition: you are allowed to get as close as you need to, to what you encounter and examine it. Some do it with a brush, others with a camera, or through song.

Don’t try to push away the emotions you feel when you’re in the pit, for it will only expand its reach. You can’t escape the pit because the pit is your creation. Get to know it and you won’t need a ladder to get out for it will begin shrinking right before your eyes.

Observe and record what you see – in any way you prefer- because once you see, you understand what is happening to you. Once you understand, a layer of clarity starts enveloping the pit and the emotions that lie in there and with it your ability to get out.

How to Survive the Pit of Despair

Diana C. Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C.

“Diana” Diana Pitaru is a Romanian psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She writes about universal psychological issues that affect quality of life and impede the creative process. Passionate about psychology, philosophy, art, and culture and how these areas connect to improve mental health, Diana offers support and insight to creative adults and teens who struggle with identity/existential issues and in relationships, have a history of trauma, or suffer with depression or anxiety. You can find her Denver practice at

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APA Reference
, . (2015). How to Survive the Pit of Despair. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Mar 2015
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