Why do I feel so helpless?
Are you feeling helpless right now?
Do you feel like you don’t know which way to turn or what to do next?
Does it seem like you just don’t have any ability to help yourself?
If these questions made you stop and think then read further before this sense of helplessness turns into a deeper depression. Before we begin though, we must first look at what makes a person feel helpless. People often begin to feel helpless when they feel like they have no options.
“Options” is the key word here.
If a skilled worker loses their job they do not necessarily feel helpless because they know there are other jobs and opportunities out there for them. However, if after months of effort they still do not have a job (or even a lead on one) then helplessness will begin to set in.
But then, if after a few months they finally landed a good job again – would that feeling of helplessness remain? No! Even after so many dead ends and missed opportunities, all it would take is ONE new opportunity to eliminate their sense of helplessness.
In other words, helplessness stems from a feeling, real or imagined, that there are no opportunities or options available to us.
Developing Your Skill Set Can Reduce Feeling Helpless
It may seem that these feelings of helplessness are out of your control but in reality there are many ways to overcome them. Most important for overcoming these feelings (and for many other aspects in life as well) is to have a wide repertoire of skills and abilities to deal with any situation.
By developing new life skills and constantly learning and improving on your abilities …you will find yourself more resilient when life throws you a curveball.
Suppose you were a skilled construction worker who after an economic downturn lost your job. If over the years you had focused solely on your skills as a construction worker then you would have to resign yourself to whatever jobs the construction job market had available. However, if over time you had invested in developing other skills such as:
- Getting a heavy goods vehicle licence
- Learning sales skills
- Learning first aid and teaching skills
…you would have exponentially more options to explore within the construction market. Rather than feeling helpless and perhaps even desperate just to find a job that equalled your last one you would be confident that new doors were ready to open for you.
The more skills and abilities you can use to adapt to a new situation the greater your feelings of confidence will be. To avoid feeling helpless, avoid being helpless by constantly improving and embracing opportunities to learn new skills and abilities.
Feeling Helpless After A Breakup
A lot of people come to me feeling helpless after a breakup. The person will feel like their ex was “their whole world”. This is often because the person removed themselves from their regular circle of friends during the relationship and spent all their time with their boyfriend/girlfriend.
This is a very common mistake.
Then, when the breakup occurs, they can feel all alone and helpless because they had let their ex be their whole world …and had neglected with their old circle of friends. Some of which, they may be completely out of touch with.
However, if during their relationship with their ex they had maintained their circle of friends, they would now have more options after the breakup for going out with their friends and potentially meeting new partners. Then they wouldn’t feel as helpless.
It’s this lack of options again which can induce feelings of helplessness.
Unchecked Helplessness Can Lead To Depression
Persistent feelings of helplessness will ultimately lead to depression. This is why it is so important to deal with it.
Depression stems from chemical imbalances in the brain. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that this chemical imbalance usually has a CAUSE. The chemical imbalance is often created by a cycle of negative thoughts which the person allows to first enter their mind …and then they nurture those thoughts through incorrect thought patterns.
Failure to deal with these thought patterns and the underlying issues that drive them results in helplessness and then depression. Depression can be interpreted as a signal from your mind that hope is lost. So, in effect, feeling helpless can bring on feelings of depression.
The more skills and abilities you can use to respond to that signal the more capable you will be in actively finding new opportunities and overcoming feelings of helplessness.