Joanna Macy — Buddhist teacher, deep ecologist, and social activist — speaks of the "social taboos against despair." Just as fear is equated with cowardice, despair is often seen as a profound failure of character, will, spirit, and faith. I believe this is one reason we currently prefer to see despair as a medical condition. In a culture that condemns despair, it's hard to look at this emotion in a way that honors its dignity, power, and wisdom.

Miriam Greenspan, Healing Through the Dark Emotions