Life has beaten you down.
You are tired.
You feel lost and hopeless.
The motivation and desires that once characterized who you are, are gone.
And this feels bad. It feels really bad.
We all experience occasional ups and downs but when we get hit with one big challenge after another, it affects how we feel. It also affects how we think, and we can find ourselves spiralling down into a dark place.
Life can feel too overwhelming to manage.
The thoughts of doing even the most basic tasks feel too much. Those around you may express concern. They may express encouragement that you can fight your way through this.
But you still feel lost. And hopeless.
In a recent session, a client shared these exact sentiments and she expressed a sense of hopelessness that felt – well, utterly hopeless. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may be tempted to turn inward but it is so important to resist that temptation. This sense of hopelessness will grow in the dark space of isolation. And you deserve so much more than that.
The answer is to reach out. I know it is hard. I know it may be the last thing you want to do. But it is essential to create the opportunity to shift out of the dark place of hopelessness.
You need to be selective about who you reach out to as some support can be powerfully helpful, while other help may be well-intentioned, but ineffective. You will be able to tell the difference based on how you feel. If the support leaves you feeling the same, or worse, that is an indication that you need a different type of support right now. This is not to suggest that the person you reached out to is not a great person with whom you can have a great relationship – it simply highlights that you need a different type of support at this moment.
The right type of support leaves you feeling a sense of relief, at least to some degree. You likely will not be skipping down the street because you feel so amazing (but if you do, please embrace, and enjoy that feeling), but you feel a little bit lighter.
Helping you to shift your perspective is one important way the right kind of support is going to help you. Often when we feel hopeless, we also experience a sense of helplessness. You lose any sense of control over your experience and quite possibly, your future. Engaging the ability to see what you can control can be a powerful way to help you feel less helpless. And when you can do this, you will start to feel different.
Another important strategy is looking at the steps you can take to take care of yourself. And if this is a potentially emotionally unsafe situation for you, how you can protect yourself. The key is to maintain a sense of respect to those around you but not at your own expense.
I am not suggesting that they are easy things to do, however, they are possible.
If you find yourself feeling stuck, overwhelmed or feeling helpless, let one of our skilled therapists offer you the right kind of support. They will get you moving forward on a path that creates an opportunity for hope and change.
by: Mary Joan Brinson MSW, RSW