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“For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.”


Did you know this quote above is where researchers think desperate times call for desperate measures came from.  I’ve been thinking about desperation as we continue to help people reduce toxic stress in their lives through HOPE Chest.  HOPE Chest is an emergency fund that helps when one has exhausted all other funding options for rent, utilities, mental health, prescriptions, car repairs, surgical stockings, burying a loved one and so much more.  And often, people are desperate for help.  It’s made me wonder what desperation means and what it looks like.

We may all have seen someone desperate in our lives.  Maybe they’re those moments of willing a loved one to live, maybe they’re moments when your car dies on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, maybe the light burned out and you’re out of light bulbs.  Context is everything when it comes to being desperate.  You could run out of your favorite food.  Many of us have used that desperate times line.  I’m sure I have and today I think maybe I’ve never really been desperate.

Websters’ defines desperation as an utter loss of hope.  I think I better choose more appropriate words because I’m a really hopeful person and still I’ve used desperation.  And when I looked at synonyms for desperation, I got pretty down.  I haven’t often truly felt desperate.

Many people we help are truly desperate.  They’re making choices of feeding kids, keeping lights on, putting gas in their car, getting their prescriptions refilled (if they’ve actually seen a doctor), and still trying to walk through a world that can feel really painful at any given moment.  Those are desperate choices pitted against one another to make it to tomorrow.  And sometimes, they make bad choices in dealing with desperation and are solution driven in the moment.  And sometimes, that desperation makes things even harder or in fact, lifts the toxic stress to meet another day in a better frame of mind.

I guess, if I’m desperate, it’s to help people be less desperate.  Have you been desperate or helped someone who was desperate? What did you say or do? I’d love to hear from you.