When you’re feeling helpless, you often lose your sense of direction. Things in your life may seem pointless, like your family, friends, and work. This is a normal reaction if you’ve experienced loss, such as losing a loved one or a broken relationship.
Feelings of helplessness can also overwhelm you suddenly without a specific reason. If you feel that your life doesn’t have meaning anymore and you’re drowning in despair, realize that there’s hope. You needn’t go on feeling overwhelmed and depressed forever.
Nine Things That Can Make You Feel Helpless and How to Avoid Them
The moment that you recognize that you are helpless, you’re on the path toward healing. Are you ready to walk out of the shadows into the light of hope?
You are a blessed and worthy person who deserves to have joy and fulfillment. Here are nine things that can make you feel helpless and how you can avoid them.
1. Your Life Feels Out of Control
It’s human nature to feel the need to be in control of your life. No matter how hard you try, life happens, and some situations are out of your hands. It’s times like these that you feel confused, angry, and helpless.
While it’s normal to want to have a say in your life, some people go overboard and want to control every situation. A study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that these Type A personalities have more issues under uncontrollable stress.
If that sounds like you, it may be the culprit for your feelings of helplessness. Perhaps nothing speaks to control issues better than the beloved Serenity Prayer. It’s a liberating feeling when you realize that there are things you can’t control or change.
Now, you have more time to work on the changeable things. Your perspective may vary, and your hope will be revived.
2. You Feel Abandoned or Alone
Another basic need for humans is socialization. According to an article published by the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, socialization is a vital part of your well-being throughout life. You have strong bonds that connect you with family, friends, and the world around you.
Although everyone needs a little solitude to rest and re-group, there’s a difference between being alone and lonely. If you don’t have a close circle of friends or a significant other, it leaves you without a support system. With nobody to share the good times and trials in your life, it’s easy to slump into a helpless depression.
Having a satisfying social life isn’t defined the same by everyone. For you, having a couple of close friends to hang with maybe enough. Other people may feel distraught and lonely unless a group of besties is ever-present.
Also, marriage isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re on top of the world when you date casually to meet new and exciting people. Perhaps you’ve committed to a significant other. No matter how you define your social life, your health and well-being depend on having others in your sphere.
3. You’re Grieving a Loss
Losing someone you love is one of the most earth-shattering occurrences that you will face. It’s like a sudden tumultuous storm that rips your world apart. As you try to make sense of the grieving process, you feel helpless and torn.
Death is not the only loss you can experience, although it’s quite devastating. Divorce, losing your job, and even moving to an unfamiliar place can cause different levels of grief. It can lead to depression and other mental illnesses unless treated.
Whoever said that time heals all wounds was wrong. You don’t “get over” a loss, especially when it’s a death. However, you allow yourself to experience grief the only way your know-how. You extend compassion to yourself and learn how to cope with a new reality with hope.
4. You Feel Defeated
Who doesn’t want to be a winner? Once you’ve felt the invigoration of winning and success, nothing else will do. Unfortunately, even the most talented and highly skilled people experience failure. It’s just as much part of life as winning.
Failing at something that you’ve invested time, energy, and resources into can make you feel hopeless and defeated. It can be especially damaging when you experience a string of misfortunes. You may feel so down that you want to give up.
Failure and defeat are other types of loss, and you will grieve. However, you can boost your hope and energy when you get back up and try again. When you consider all the famous people who failed many times before they succeeded, you will realize that you’re not alone.
5. You’re Paralyzed by Fear
Even though everyone experiences fear, it’s still a difficult emotion to explain. It also has social and psychological ramifications, especially for men. An article published by Emotional Review shares that boys are unfairly socialized to suppress emotions like sadness and fear.
Both men and women are bound and embarrassed by fears. When these irrational feelings affect your daily activities, they become phobias. No matter the fear, you might feel as if you’ll never escape.
If it weren’t for healthy fears, people would be careless and get hurt or die. Ask yourself if your fear is rational or if it’s turning into a phobia. When worry is holding you back, you may consider cognitive behavioral therapy to learn better-coping skills.
6. You’re Overcome by Guilt
Guilt is a sharp two-edged sword that can either help or hinder you. For many people, understanding the reasoning behind their guilty feelings is burdensome. When you’re oppressed by shame and guilt, it’s understandable that you’d feel degraded and hopeless.
Have you done something purposely to destroy something or hurt someone without reason? Then your feelings of guilt are justified, and your remorse can help you apologize and make amends. However, you may be living with a burden of guilt that someone placed on you undeservingly.
Take an honest inventory of your feelings and decide if your guilt is unwarranted. If you feel guilty because of intentional wrongdoing, try your best to apologize and make amends. Let go of the needless guilt that you or others have placed on yourself.
7. You’re Life Doesn’t Seem to Have Purpose
The search for life’s meaning has been ongoing since the beginning. Everybody needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Do you feel like you are wandering through your life without purpose or direction?
Understandably, you might feel frustrated and hopeless if your life doesn’t hold meaning. If you get depressed, you may lose interest in the things that always brought you joy. Such raw emotions can be even more detrimental if they turn into suicidal ideation.
It would help if you learned to appreciate yourself as an individual with unique talents and abilities. One of the things that can make life seem useless is boredom. Consider expanding your knowledge and learning new skills or do something you’ve always wanted to do. Try to bring more spontaneity into your life.
8. Someone Has Hurt You Deeply
Perhaps nobody can hurt you as deeply as family and friends. The pain and betrayal can fester into bitterness that only hurts you more. When you’ve been wounded emotionally, it leaves scars that often don’t heal.
Forgiveness is one of those rare gifts that benefit the giver even more than the recipient. When you choose to forgive someone who’s hurt you, it’s not excusing or forgetting their actions. It gives you hope by breaking the bonds of bitterness so you can go on with your life.
9. You Feel Things are Lacking in Your Life
As a human, you need nutrition, clothing, shelter, love, and acceptance. When you lack any of these, life can be challenging, if not impossible. People who struggle with poverty or a shortage of emotional support don’t have much joy or hope.
However, do you feel like you’ve been shorted in life even when you have all your basic needs? You can be one of the wealthiest people in the world and still feel like you’re missing something. Trying to fill the void with materialism only makes the despair worse.
An article published by the Association for Psychological Science mentions Rabbi Hyman Schachtel’s work about human happiness. Schachtel said that true happiness doesn’t come from having what you want but from wanting what you have. It’s an exercise in gratitude.
When is the last time you showed gratitude for all your blessings in life? Keeping a journal is a fun and meaningful way of listing your many blessings each day. When you feel down and hope is sparse, reviewing past entries can brighten your whole perspective.
Final Thoughts on Helplessness
Although it’s okay not to be okay, you needn’t stay that way. When you are drowning in depression and feel hopeless, there is help.
Try these suggestions and talk to your mental health provider about more ways to combat depression and how to renew your joy and well-being. Life is too short to spend each day feeling helpless and hopeless.