In his Preface to the 1984 edition of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, the eminent psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, explained why he wrote his book:
“I therefore felt responsible for writing down what I had gone through, for I though it might be helpful to people who are prone to despair.”
Despair is the temptation, even an overwhelming feeling, when physical or emotional suffering becomes too severe, to give up on life, to doubt its meaning, even, at times to prefer death to life. The way out of despair, though, is not a feeling but a choice, a conscious decision, to believe that life has meaning, despite its hardships and sufferings; that tragedy can be transmuted by choosing to turn it into a triumph.
I have experienced despair. I have tasted its bitter herbs and, in their place, I have decided to “feed on” faith, hope and love, and to seek a Higher Power, a belief in God, for the strength to face life and its vicissitudes.