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in the depths of (something)

In the middle of and wholly consumed by a particularly negative and/or difficult situation or emotional state. The country was in the depths of the worst economic disaster of the last century. While I was in the depths of depression, I found that I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning.
See also: depth, of

despair of something

to give up all hope of something. Do not despair of his returning; I think we will see him again. I despair of ever seeing her again.
See also: despair, of

drive someone to despair

Fig. to depress someone; to frustrate someone. Sometimes raising an infant drives me to despair! The recent problems drove her to despair.
See also: despair, drive

sink into despair

to become depressed; to become completely discouraged. After facing the hopelessness of the future, Jean Paul sank into despair. Mary sank into despair upon learning of the death of her grandmother.
See also: despair, sink

despair of

To lose all hope for something or someone: The shipwrecked sailors despaired of being rescued. I have seen so much unfairness that I despair of a just world.
See also: despair, of
References in classic literature ?
Their voices were but feebly heard amid the uproar and one saw by their faces that they despaired of the possibility of checking this disorder.
Two days after, a letter from Mary told me his life was despaired of, and his end seemed fast approaching.
And so I raced on toward the trees intending to pass beneath that which held the man-things and take refuge in another farther on; but the wolf-dogs were very close behind me--so close that I had despaired of escaping them, when one of the creatures in the tree above swung down headforemost, his tail looped about a great limb, and grasping me beneath my armpits swung me in safety up among his fellows.
The next few days Tarzan devoted to the weaving of a barkcloth sail with which to equip the canoe, for he despaired of being able to teach the apes to wield the paddles, though he did manage to get several of them to embark in the frail craft which he and Mugambi paddled about inside the reef where the water was quite smooth.
Von Horn had finally despaired of winning Virginia by peaceful court, and had about decided to resort to force when he was precipitately confirmed in his decision by a conversation with the girl's father.
She glanced about her and saw the others gazing at him with rapt attention; and she would have despaired had not she seen horror in her mother's eyes - fascinated horror, it was true, but none the less horror.
Men despaired of matching him with an equal, and Beauty Smith was compelled to pit wolves against him.
History tells us how he fought the Danes, how he despaired, and how he took heart again, and how he at last conquered his enemies and brought peace to his people.