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Living with feelings of hopelessness and despair

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The current State of Emergency in NSW as a result of bush fires and concern about climate change may leave you with feelings of hopelessness and despair. Other common reactions may include grief for the loss of life both animal and human, grief for the loss of homes and damage to the bush and animal habitat. Feelings of guilt may arise as result of wondering why you were not affected but others close to you were or because you are unable to help or don't know what to do to help. Panic attacks and anxiety may also be felt as a result of the uncertainty and fear of what might happen next. It is also possible that you feel numb as a result of shock. This is not a complete list of the feelings that a crisis may arouse but they are all normal and natural responses it is also normal for each of us to respond differently.

If you find yourself affected by any of these feelings or if you are having suicidal thoughts there are things you can do. You can:

  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you are unable to talk to a friend or family member you contact Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/, Kids Helpline https://kidshelpline.com.au/, or Suicide Call Back Service https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/

  • Seek companionship, stay with a friend or take comfort from a fur-friend.

  • Take time out from social media and news reports. It is important to stay in touch with what is happening in a crisis but it can become overwhelming. Try listening to music or an audio book or reading a book.

  • If possible find time for exercise: go for a walk or swim, go to the gym, take a yoga class.

  • Writing about or expressing your feelings in a drawing can also help.


Drawing can help reduce feelings of hopelessness and despair
Drawing can help reduce feelings of hopelessness and despair


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