The Dalai Lama, when asked, "If you look at the depressing conditions found all over the world and the injustices that happen to people everywhere, how can you be optimistic?" thought for a second then let out a deep belly laugh, and replied, "What else would you suggest?" (quoted by Will Parrinello, producer of film, Dreaming of Tibet.)
People who have not experienced the profound darkness of a mind whose home, the brain, is in a state of depletion of certain essential chemicals cannot understand how it may not even be possible for a person in that condition to help him- or herself. That state is a temporary one, and may be relieved by sleep which nine out of ten times, does "knit up the 'raveled sleeve of care" to some degree.
Once there is a glimmer of light, then calling upon Guru Rinpoche, Tara or Chenresi especially with accompanying visualization can let in more light. But also recall that, in this instance, you are using "skillful means."
Recall the fact that in Buddhism prayer plays a distinctive role. It is not a form of supplication, but a reminder of the Refuges: "Dharma-Vinaya says: We do not supplicate the Blessed One. The practice, when embodied, leads to liberation. The Blessed One taught that patience is the highest Earthly Nirvana. The Tathagata is not a god, and the Tathagata is not to be supplicated." (Ven. Dhammapiyo)
Lama Zopa, in a lecture no longer available online:
"It says in the teaching of the Wheel of Sharp Weapons that Lama Atisha received from Lama
Dharmarakshita that experiences like depression are not un-causative phenomenon. They are causative
phenomenon. They have causes. Even though one cannot tell based on his/her experiences what has
caused a disturbance doesn't mean it has no causes. There are reasons for why these experiences
happen. The cause for the depression, the reason for the depression, what makes it exist now,
happened either previously in this life or in past lives. The cause happened before the result.
Is there any benefit in persisting in the belief that someone else's action (or lack of one) is the cause of your suffering? There is a saying: "You cannot cover the surface of the earth with leather -- only the soles of your own feet."
An experienced Buddhist practitioner will first ask, "What is there to really kill?"
The desperate or profoundly sad feeling can also be used as a challenge to your
skill. In a place where the means to suicide are not available to you
and/or where there are others present as a kind of safeguard, consider what the
implications are. Then if the feeling returns another day, you will have
that memory of the experience of that incidence of mindfulness as a kind of cue
to help with your commitment to life.
Buddhism cannot therefore, consider that suicide is anything other than an evil action. And to do such a thing with intention will result in serious karmic consequences.
When you are overwhelmed by depression and despair, it is not easy to think clearly -- to be Mindful. Therefore it is very important when you find yourself thinking about the possibility of suicide, to talk to another person, preferably someone with experience in those things. In most industrialized areas of the world, there are help telephone services. At least try one of those, if you have no one to talk to in your personal circle of family or friends.
The treatment known as Cognitive Therapy is helpful because it does not focus on the past, but is logical, working through reasoning.
Plan ahead not to get caught in black holes all alone, if you think you have that tendency. Make a deal or a buddy contract with an acquaintance or friend, so that you can contact the other and they can also call you when things are not going well. This suggestion might actually work better with someone who is willing but whom you do not know too well -- that is, someone with whom you did not, and do not, have an emotional relationship.
S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder
Often, a desperate feeling will pass with a little physical exercise such as a walk outside. If you live in an area where the winters are long and dark, that can be a cause of serious depression -- it is not just a "mental thing." If there is not enough light in your environment, brightness/hours -- there are special bulbs or fixtures you can get. But if those physical adjustments do not help, or if your depression returns with some regularity, please see a health-care professional.
If the desperation is brought on by a radical change in your life, drug withdrawal, an unpleasant or frightening problem involving shame, family, money and so on, please talk to a social or psychological professional, a school advisor, or an elder in your community. There are also various support groups. It is extremely unlikely that your situation is a unique one, so do not feel shy about discussing it.
"I am having trouble distinguishing between two things. I am one of the one-in-three Americans who have been sexually abused, and one
of my most important tasks is to build a far more solid sense of self than I have ever had. At the same time I know the work of dharma of
dissolving the vicious nature of ego is my ultimate task. I need some help in how to deal with the conventional and ultimate levels at the
reified: The creation of something through labeling or naming. In other words, we are accustomed to thinking in terms of a separate entity called "self" because we label individual subjective experience, then we label it which creates in our minds (or is solidified, as the translator has chosen to say) the "fact" of Self.