Are You Feeling Hopeless and Trapped?

PinExt Are You Feeling Hopeless and Trapped?

hopeless Are You Feeling Hopeless and Trapped? Have you experienced a sense of hopelessness recently?

It seems that there are a lot of people out there that feel stuck in situations that are draining, depressing and going nowhere.

Don’t give up!  I want to offer you some hope.  I want to extend to you some suggestions on how to overcome your hopeless and trapped feelings.

Together let’s make the sun shine on you again!

A story of a woman feeling hopeless and trapped

This is a true story.  I know a woman, let’s call her Jane, that feels hopeless and trapped.

Jane has worked full-time the last 20 years for a large retail chain.  Her schedule often includes working evenings, weekends and holidays.  She hates her job because it keeps her from spending more time with her grandchildren and other loved ones.

Her employer demands more and more from Jane all the time.  They continually raise her sales quotas and put pressure on her to meet them.  This stresses Jane because she really wants to meet their expectations, but it is becoming increasingly difficult.

Jane lives paycheck to paycheck and doesn’t have any savings.  Retirement is just around the corner for her and fortunately she has already started to receive Social Security benefits, but she isn’t sure it will be enough to live on once she has to stop working.

Jane has arthritis in her knees and has to stand on her feet for most of her 8-hour shifts which is sometimes painful.  There are times she misses work because the pain is too much to bear.

Of course, Jane is also concerned about how to cover the high-cost of healthcare once she retires.  She knows she’ll need prescriptions and a doctor’s care to manage her arthritis, but she doesn’t know how she’ll afford these things.

Jane lives alone in an apartment where the rent continues to rise.  She fears that eventually she’ll no longer be able to afford to renew her lease.  Of course, this presents a multitude of issues because Jane doesn’t have the money to pay moving expenses never mind finding a new place.

Adding to her troubles, Jane’s employer is suffering from the recession and closing stores.  She doesn’t think her store will be one of the ones to close, but since she is older and makes a higher salary, she wonders if they might lay her off.

Jane’s feelings about this downward spiraling situation leaves her negative, depressed and fearful.  Of course, this is a further strain on her health, relationships and happiness.

Jane feels hopeless and trapped.

Let’s examine Jane’s overwhelming situation

I won’t kid you.  Jane’s situation isn’t pretty.  It is a mess, but I don’t think it is as rare as we would like to believe nor do I believe it is completely hopeless.

I think there are a lot of people feeling stuck in a similar situation as Jane.  There are people dealing with seemingly crushing issues with their:

  • Jobs
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Marriage
  • Children

These are usually the big five that create the most anxiety in people’s lives. 

Jane is struggling in three of these areas.  She has trouble with her job, finances and health.

These three issues are intertwined which is what makes the whole situation seem so complicated and therefore hopeless.

We must take a pragmatic approach to help Jane sort out what to do.

The steps to overcoming the feelings of hopelessness

Feeling hopeless and trapped comes from the notion that there is nothing that can be done to resolve the situation.  We must exert control in order to regain hope.  Here’s how to do it:

1.  Write down the issues that leave you feeling hopeless and trapped

When problems swirl around in our heads, they often grow out of proportion.  They also become entangled with our emotions.  This quickly overwhelms us.

Writing down the problems helps us to organize them and to separate the emotion from the real, practical issues.  This simple step will start to give you a sense of power.

Be as specific and complete as possible.  Try not to leave out any factors influencing your decisions.

We’ve already completed this step for Jane.

2.  Determine the root issue that is causing all the other problems

Usually, there is one root cause that is leading to all the other issues occurring.  In Jane’s case, her lack of financial resources is largely responsible for most of her trouble.

If Jane wasn’t so financially strapped, she could look for another job that might initially pay a little less, but that would offer her a better schedule and maybe allow her to sit while she works.

Don’t fret too long about determining the root cause.  In fact, I would suggest going with your first inclination after writing things down.  Once you start to take some action, the situation will unfold and you’ll be able to adjust, if necessary.

3.  Decide where you are willing to make some sacrifices

People usually wind up feeling trapped and hopeless because they don’t see any flexibility.  In order to address the root cause of the problems, you have to make room for change in your life. 

This generally requires you to make some sacrifices in one area so you have the room to make changes in another.  Normally, these sacrifices are temporary so they shouldn’t cause too much panic.

For instance, in Jane’s case, she might decide to find a much cheaper apartment for a year or two so she can change jobs.  The cheaper apartment won’t likely be as nice as what she enjoys today, but what’s more important?

This temporary sacrifice in lifestyle might give Jane the flexibility she needs to find a job with a more stable employer offering her a better schedule that doesn’t require her to stand all the time on her arthritic knees.

Who knows?  Once Jane feels better about her situation, she might perform better in her new job which may lead to a promotion and even higher pay than she had before!

4.  Make a plan for change and take immediate action

Once you determine the root cause and decide where you might be willing to make some sacrifices, then you are ready to formulate a plan for change and take action.

Write out the steps toward change that you need to make to address your root cause.  A written plan will help you stay on track.

For Jane, she might have the following plan:

  1. Find a cheaper apartment.
  2. Move.
  3. Save some money.
  4. Find a better job.

Jane should immediately break this down to the smallest actionable steps possible.  For instance, she could breakdown Step 1 as follow:

  1. Buy newspaper.
  2. Look in newspaper for cheaper apartments.
  3. Call and set appointments to view 2 to 3 apartments.

Once Jane has such a list of action steps, she should act immediately.  Any delay will allow the small momentum gained through this process to evaporate.  It is imperative that action is taken with as little delay as possible!  Jane could go right now and buy a newspaper.

5.  Constantly review progress and re-evaluate the situation

Chances are that just getting started with this process will make you and Jane feel better because it restores a sense of some power and control.

It opens one’s mind to the possibilities.  It creates hope.

Refer often to the your original assessment of the issues, your root cause and your plan for change.  Has anything improved?  How are you feeling?  What else can you do to make positive changes?

This constant process of re-evaluating the situation will ensure you stay on track and will also give you the ability to make adjustments as necessary.

Warning: Read this before starting this process!

Taking some action in a positive direction is absolutely, positively necessary in order to overcome your feelings of desperation and hopelessness.

However, you should take small steps and go slowly.  You need to clear the fog from your head before making any rash choices. 

For instance, do not go in and quit a job you hate before you have another source of income.  This will only lead to more trouble!

Also, do not tell your spouse that you want a divorce unless your situation involves extreme abuse, drug use or other unlawful activity.  Instead, I encourage you to take positive action to fix your relationship.  Divorce will introduce all kinds of problems of its own.

Whatever your situation, go slow, be deliberate and be practical.  You might even enlist a trusted advisor to review your plan with you to reveal potential kinks before taking any big steps. 

Action is necessary, but it must be positive and prudent!

You can beat the trapped and hopeless feelings!

There is hope.  It is possible to dig yourself out of any hole.  It just takes some time and effort.  Do not continue wallowing in your misery.  Take action today to beat your hopelessness and to set yourself free!

What is your situation and what do you plan to do about it?

Photo by {dpade1337}

PinExt Are You Feeling Hopeless and Trapped?

39 thoughts on “Are You Feeling Hopeless and Trapped?

  1. Thanks for this article Jeff. So many people are going through uncertain times right now, it can be very frightening.
    These tips can apply to so many situations – at the moment I am going through a hard time with my partner of 7 years and we are trying to make things work rather than just break up. Sometimes you have to do some hard yards to get to happiness.

    Read curiousjessica´s latest article – What I’m grateful for.

  2. Great article Jeff,

    I did what you mentioned when I wanted get out of job I never liked, and I got much better opportunity.

    Sometimes when I become aware of an issue, ponder it for a while, write it down and let it go (just somehow sure that it will be ok), something good happens.

    A lot of times I got brake through when I am on the edge, pissed and that’s motivates me to take actions in a right direction (unfortunately sometimes motivation like that do not last long)

    The issue often is that when you are in a negative mode – it is not always easy to thing about good stuff and make a change. Usually it take some time


  3. Hi Jeff,

    I really liked this article. We are being constantly bombarded with bad news and no one is talking about how this bad news can severely impact people on the emotional level – so thank you for bringing this up.

    I also love how you focus on solutions and helpful tips for pulling through. Everyone needs a little hope!

    Read Jason Patrick´s latest article – How to save money on your wireless bill.

  4. Since Jane has no assets and hates her job – What if Jane quit her job, sold her belongings and moved into an assisted living? She would have the free time she deserved to spend with her grandchildren. And would probably meet some wonderful people along the way.

  5. Truly insightful Jeff,

    The story of Jane is no doubt hitting very close to home for many people these days. I really appreciated you practical approach and the caution to not rush right in all at once.

    It’s so sad to see people who have worked hard and pulled their own weight going through such tough times. I am sure this post will provide hope for many.

    Read Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s latest article – Do You Have Glory Day Syndrome?

  6. nice article,
    but it’s really tough when you can’t pay the rent for 5 months and leave it heaped up..and the owner calls every now and and then.

    job > salary

    pay the rent
    pay college fees
    pay the bills
    fix the car
    buy food
    buy cigs
    buy washing machine
    buy a gun and murder yourself

    • AGREED that is exactly what I would like to do but A) I can’t work which is driving me crazy & B) I can’t do that to my kids though they are no longer young

  7. Interesting suggestions Jeff. Though I still don’t know how to overcome my feelings of being trapped in life.
    I’m now 32 years old and my life has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I just attempted to pour out my life story, but it was just too complicated and take too long. Instead, let me just say that I’m trapped in life, in every aspect. Things I can’t easily get out of. I’m so screwed. Thanks for helping make sense of things Jeff. I just wish it were that simple.

  8. Sometimes its really not that simple. It just gets messed up by the day, and you are delaying ur decisions by the hour, which runs into days, weeks, months sometimes… And you loose more opportunities.

    I feel trapped by the choices I made, and I would not be able to go back on the road I wanted for myself. As you said – It generally requires you to make some sacrifices in one area so you have the room to make changes in another.. But what if you really are in a fix about what is more important to fix right now…

  9. Pingback: Are You Feeling Hopeful Or Hopeless? » Article Bundle

  10. I agree with the last few that you have no clue about real troubles in certain situations. I was really hoping you had an “understanding” bad circumstance story when I started to read the story of the woman only to be disappointed by the fact that she can still do something and has fairly simple troubles that are solvable.

    • Pixelmation, I’m sure I don’t understand every situation. I’ll readily confess this. Also, I’ll go on record as saying your troubles may be well beyond what can be overcome with what I can offer in a 500-1000 word blog article. If they are, then my heart goes out to you. I hope you find help and that your life improves.

      • Thanks Jeff, sorry so cynical but here is why, I typed the following up this morning for in response to others feeling their life sucks:

        Life sucks big time!

        I’ll start at the beginning of this downward spiral, or wait, maybe I should go farther back and really make all of you feel pathetic in your own “oh, my life sucks” stories, some of which are so damn pathetic I had to laugh cuz your life can not suck as bad as mine did and still does. First let me just say that when I was able to work my life was great cuz I always made very good money for my age and my talents which were sales and tenacity, now are just a pipe dream.

        It started when I was around 9 years old I was molested by my uncle but blocked it out so my parents never knew although my mom knew something happened but never pushed the issue (go figure cuz my dad didn’t do anything when I was 15 and almost raped by the man I was babysitting for, no big surprise there). So, any ways as a teenager I was raped or date raped whatever you wanna call it these days, too many times to count. Then when I was 19 I was forced to give a guy a bj and that time my parents actually reported it, maybe because we were in a different state and all. (I harbor NO bad feelings as that was my past)

        When I was 21 I married a man that raped me daily, beat me, gave me crabs, gave me herpes which now I have to live with for the rest of my life, yippy! Oh wait, it gets better I assure you this story is far from being over.

        I left him shortly after we married, to then fall in love and marry again, only this time to a pedophile and at that time I already had a 6 year old daughter and 2 year old son. He started molesting her within a year after we married, I found this out after 6 years of marriage so you can just imagine the blow I took when everything fell apart. So we were divorced. (my daughter did turn out very well for what she went through)

        Then I got sick and was in a lot of pain but couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with me until a PA told me, matter of fact like, that I have Fibromyalgia and Ankylosing Spondylitis, of which I had no clue what the hell either were so continued life as normal, as I did have good days too. Single mom of 3 kids all 4 years apart from each other, worked almost 2 hours away 8-10 hours a day with only 1 day off a week and tend to kids and deal with the pain from FMS, which I still had no clue about it.

        So fast forward 4 years of off and on working, trying to make it by but having to reduce hours and/or quit my jobs due to the pain it was causing me. I did finally get my ssa after that 4 years even though my attorney said no way is this judge going to give it to you because I had been trying to work. The judge saw my point of view that I would much rather work than make a measly (at that time) $600 something, and that he should see that, as I did try to continue to work, and he did and granted me my disability.

        The following year I was remarried to a wonderful husband whom I am still married to and we started a Tile installation biz which we had to close at the end of that same year due to the economy crashing. My husband went to mowing and had been with the same company for almost a whole 3 years when we were in an accident (I’ll get to that later)

        At the end of the following year we lost everything and were homeless so my friend took us in until we got a tax return so that we could get back on our feet. We did, we bought a 5th wheel (not knowing what all we were getting ourselves into) and had it set up to live in, so that we would never be homeless again. We moved into it over 2 years ago and are still living in it today but now with another homeless couple that have nothing to offer but a little help here and there.

        After spending a year and a half in the 5th wheel we realized it was not made for winter living so our plan was to get into a rental by that winter and we would have but then on Oct 5th of that year the accidents happened, which has taken a major toll on us.

        Our son was hit by a truck on his bicycle one morning and we were on our way to the hospital to see him when we were hit by a dui driver. Since then life has literally been a living hell, especially for me and my son (my husband has had to be the strong one through this so I know it has also been a living hell for him too) as it affects any parent(s) to have their child injured then act different and to be in a whole lotta pain, many nights I have spent and do spend crying because of his pain and suffering, though I do have my good days as does he.

        My husband has not been able to work since the accident and he did get some reimbursement but they stopped doing that because his spinal doctor wouldn’t tell the insurance company that he couldn’t work, so he suffers in pain while doing side jobs until he can find someone willing to hire him in this situation…not likely happening. Oh, the worst part is he can no longer be treated as he exhausted his pip which the attorney told us after racking up over $2K in medical bills, one of which we are making payments on no matter what because we need this doctor, if we ever have the money to see him again. He is the only doctor out of all the doctors he has seen that has given him relief from pain, all natural!

        My son wants to work but since the accident his head is messed up and he already had a learning disability as it is. His pain is chronic so he is getting somewhat used to it, he suffers from constant headaches/migraines, back and neck pain and his shoulders/back/neck are so tight it’s like a very tight band or something. He is now very depressed, emotional, gets irritated easily, can’t concentrate; and sleep, what is that? He can’t get good enough sleep to save his life!

        SO, how do you feel about your life now?

        Wait, I’m not done…I was able to go back to work last spring and I was so very much so loving it and wanting to continue as I had a very cool boss, too. He still wants me to work for him and I have also been given another work opportunity (see people who know me want me to work for them) and I would love to take up both offers but now I can’t.

        See, after 6 months of feeling great and working and helping other people, helping my friend who is a single mom, etc, something happened to me and I thought I was going crazy or something but finally pinned down what it was that happened. After all that I did those 6 months I developed what we call Fibro-Fog though you may know it as Brain-Fog.

        After I am done writing this, my brain will be mush for the rest of the day, yippy…and I’m an avid reader but today I won’t be able to read because I chose to write this story. Now all’s I’ll be able to do is veg in front of the tv :(

        Thanks for reading my sucky-ass life – the only good parts of my life are:
        A) My Husband rawks!
        B) My other 2 kids are doing great!
        C) My parents are still married and alive!
        D) My Jeep

        • Pixelmation, I like how you ended this comment. You concentrated on the good things in your life. You’ve obviously lived through some extremely terrible things. Your job now is to make the best of what you have left. All hope is not lost. You have today. What will you do with it? Who will you love? What will you give? What little joys and triumphs will you claim? I know it isn’t easy, but you have a choice. You can either re-live the past or start working to create a brighter future. Those are really the only two options. What you look forward to may not be the future you wanted, but it doesn’t have to be completely hopeless either. You are obviously out here looking for better things for yourself or you wouldn’t have come here. I commend you for your effort and I believe you can find what you are looking for. You are due for some good fortune, but it will only come if you play a role in bringing it to pass. I sincerely hope you experience some good things soon.

          • You are right! Actually, though I have been feeling hopeless due to our situation (and I hold no grudges for my past), I noticed that after typing that up and posting on here then later talking to someone else about my concerns it has made me feel a glint of hope…I honestly didn’t think it would but that must be why I had the burning desire to post on here so that I may recognize that fact!

            Thank you Jeff and yes, we really are only promised this day and don’t know if we will even have tomorrow. Even in my situation I believe that I can, as I’m able to, walk to some of the businesses that surround me and just ask if they need help, if I can clean the restroom or fix a computer issue or wash dishes for a few bucks to help.

            Those in a bad relationship: get the hell out!! Been there done that as there are shelters for women with children. Unfortunately for us without young children or with felonies can not do that in some states and cities BUT I do know that even without children anyone can at least get help with food using their state’s food program.

            Blessed Be!

  11. Finance, health, marriage, children

    Hopeless. Trapped. There are no choices I can make that won’t result in emotional pain, financial insecurity, and frankly – fear. Fear for me and my family. So my choice has been in-action. I went online looking for something – which of course isnt here. I want to feel like I’m not alone in my despair.

    I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve made hard choices – but this time do not feel I am able to. The pain of staying put is less than the pain and fear of making a choice – but it’s hurting my kids and I know I am capable of so much more.

    • Been there and it will be worth the pain to get yourself and your kids out of the situation.

      I have major regret, bad anxiety and Fibromyalgia because I didn’t do it when I should have.

      Do not risk your children and your health/sanity by in-action. Living with these isn’t fun at all.

      I feel blessed that my kids don’t hate me anymore for allowing them to be put through what they went through but that took a very long time to get to the point for them to be able to forgive me and move on in their own lives.

      They turned out pretty darn good but some do not turn out good at all and they spiral down and blame you all their life, which in turn makes you feel guilty and regret that you didn’t do anything but stay. It is so NOT worth it!

      I see kids today that are older than mine that act way worse due to stuff that happened to them, even less stuff my kids went through, and am so very thankful my kids turned out better than I could have ever asked for.

      Please, do not give up and do not suffer your children. They will see you as a survivor and will learn from you and therefore be able to pull through tough times as they get older…you are their main support, mentor, and emotional support and they need you to be strong even when it hurts so very bad…I know, it kills me, pains me daily what I didn’t do and so I suffer in silence, not a fun thing at all!

      Be Blessed in your decision =)

      • Pixelmation, I REALLY admire you for all you’ve been through and maintained sanity and will to live etc!!

        Really great that your kids turned out well too… Too bad one of the kiddies had an accident and remaining problems, hope things got better for him?
        If not, there are organisations who help such kiddies too (and their parents) hope you managed to find some!!
        Intelligence and academic success is just one of god’s gifts and people can have SOOO many more blessings than just this!!
        (In fact, some ‘intelligent/academically successful’ people can have WAY more troubles than ‘simple’ loving caring kiddies…)

        Just maybe adjust your expectations? Also, please don’t blame yourself too much… Us kids can be selfish, I know, I blamed my parents often too, for not doing what I felt would be better, for not being better… (We still drive each other ‘crazy’ sometimes, we’re just very different or very alike in some cases…)

        As for ‘brain fog’ and fibromyalgia, nutrition can make a difference too… There are articles and info online… Even headaches/tension/anxiety and such can come eg from magnesium deficiency etc.

        Good luck to both of you, Motivator and Pixel!

  12. Well let me say you wrote a nice article before I continue with my story. I truly feel helpless and hopeless to the point of wanting to end it all (although I know it’s not a logical feeling to have) I suffer from MDD, GAD, Panic, and a host of personality disorders. I have 5 suicide attempts and more gestures to count. been on every med and only get a little relief, have not had a girl in over 10 years, gone bankrupt, not had a job in over 5 years, on SSDI, been in and out of hospitals and currently in program that basically is throwing their hands up because I am not getting better. My mom has recently died and I am lost. Don’t know where to start or how to start again as I feel unstable and fearful. I will continue to read your site.

    • Dazed, I hope your life has gotten better!!

      If not, I hope you found some support group/s or something like that! With problems like these, it’s difficult to do it alone, or even with help of one person or one group…
      There are online forums for psychological support and RL organisations and groups too, where at least you could find other people with similar (or worse) problems and some psychologist/coach etc to help.

      Sorry to hear about your mum, losing relatives can suck big time, yeah… It takes longer or shorter time to recover for different people, please give yourself time to grieve and recuperate… Rome wasn’t built in one day…

      There are different views and approaches to psychological problems and personality disorders and such, have you tried tweaking nutrition and natural means? going for a walk each day is free and can help a lot…
      There are lots of interesting free things you can do (library, parks, art gallery openings, bookshop/cafe events etc) where you can also meet interesting people… In some places, you can even get some place to have a veggie garden for free and grow your own vegs, reducing the costs, and if the place is unpolluted (check on this first!) it can be healthier too…

      Good luck and hope things get better!!

  13. Good article!

    Jane from the article could also ‘fix’ her arthritis with natural means – my dad cured his rheumatism with nutrition and different lifestyle… Again, there are books and info online for this… And it can be MUCH better than relying on any doctors or prescriptions!! (Prescriptions just dull pain, nutrition & changed lifestyle can make pain disappear!!)

    Moving elsewhere could be good too, yeah…
    And looking at options available for homeless people and people without insurance etc. (So she can be a bit reassured there ARE programs and options for this!!)

    If she has kids and grandkids she loves she could also move in with them, provided they agree… (some caution is needed there, and well-established boundaries ideally…) But it’s an option… Or she could share an appartment/house with a granddaughter or something (I LOVED living with my Granny some of the time!!) or another relative or friend/roommates/flatmates… There are ‘Granny appartments’ over garage or such… (where there may be more independence) Lots of options out there…

    I’d also recommend she join a support group or something like that – there are great support groups for the elderly where I live, or maybe there can be church events and groups, charity etc. She could network with people and increase options for food/help etc.

  14. Oh, and ‘Jane’, would probably need to learn some budgeting, some churches have moneysaving/budgeting programs even…
    And there are charities that help with food (and maybe paying a bill sometimes) to single and retired people too…

  15. This article was pure bullshit just like the rest of the pig shit floating around. “Janes” situation is a kick in the dick, there is no sugar coating it. You can’t puff air up someone’s ass and feed them lines of shot like “oh it’ll get better”, “you just gotta hang in there”. What kind of b/s advice is “find a cheaper apartment”, “find out where you can make sacrifices”…. that’s pure bullshit and you know it. I’m pretty god damn sure she’s already fully examined every option, multiple times. There isn’t always a happy ending, sometimes shitty things happen and that’s just the way it is, looking at the entire thing with bullshit rose colored glasses does nothing but make things worse because eventually that bubble will burst and you’ll find yourself trapped in a shithole with no way out. Just fuckin stop already. People look at things like this for a way out, for some solution, and it’s a dick move to patronize them and bring up things you know for a fact they have already tried. Why not just fucking tell “Jane” to get a higher paying job, or go back to college at 65 and starts new career or hey let’s be happy and go for walks and start a garden…. it’s all fuckin trash and you know and you’re an asshole for putting this bullshit out there trying to give people false hope

    • Jon, I’ll certainly admit that many people are confronted with very difficult, heart-breaking situations in life. I’ve experienced plenty of heartaches in my own life where I wanted to go crawl under a rock and give up. It was that difficult to go on. However, I couldn’t throw in the towel like that. Instead, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and moved on.

      Sometimes, hope is the only thing we have to hang on to. If you let go of that, what’s left? Bitterness? Defeat? Depression? What will those get you?

      My approach, the one that tries to inspire some hope, may not be perfect, but I’ll take it any day over where you seem to be. It is each person’s choice how they view the world. I choose to believe that there are solutions. I believe that better days can be found. It isn’t always easy, but with a little faith and hard work, you can make a better life.

      I know this works because I’ve lived it. I’ve been in the hole and I’ve climbed out. You, my friend, are still stuck in the hole. Will you choose to climb out or are you going to stay in there? It is pretty dark in your hole. Are you sure that’s where you want to be?

      I sincerely wish you the best. I hope you find what you are looking for.

      • So then, with your expert advice, present me with the abounding opportunities that are visible everywhere I look that I have seemed to somehow overlook.

        I am 25 years old, I am deaf in my right ear, I was diagnosed with a severe vestibular disease at 15, I suffer severe and random vertigo attacks every day and am unable to leave the house most days. I underwent cranial surgery in 2008. I live with my parents. I have no job and can’t work because I am chronically ill. I can’t attend school because my past student loans have become defaulted due to my inability to work and make payments, thus I can’t receive aid to attend school. I have been denied disability multiple times because my disease is not considered disabling as of today. My mother suffers from a terminal illness and does not leave the bed. I have no money, no means to make any money, and my friends have all moved on with their lives, as they should.

        I am 7+ years behind those my own age in terms of life achievements. I have no goals at this point in time because I have no ability to reach them within the foreseeable future, and those I can reach I have never had the desire to obtain.

        So please explain where the silver lining lies?

        Please refrain from saying things such as “do you have relatives or friends willing to lend you money to attend school?”… “have you tried any out reach programs”…. “join a support group”…” or any variation of those because I have already exhausted those routes.

        I am not religious so do not suggest that either….. so there you go sir… enlighten me… give me those rosey colored glasses.

        • like I said… sometimes holding out hope only makes things worse

          life is what it is…. and looking at it like its not… really won’t help

        • Jon, I’ll admit that life is not easy. For some, like you and others that have posted comments here, it can be very difficult. I certainly don’t want to minimize what you are up against. My heart goes out to you. It really does. You no doubt have an uphill battle in front of you. I acknowledge that.

          Also, I want to say that, in all fairness, there is no way that I can solve all your problems via this forum. Plus, I’m no “expert”. I’m just a regular guy, like you, trying to navigate life’s challenges the best way I can.

          However, here’s what I can do for you. I can throw you some new insights to chew on to see if they help. You can toss them out if you’d like, but maybe they’ll help.

          From the limited amount I know based on what you’ve written in your comments, here’s how I see where you are mentally.

          You are completely focused on what you can’t do. You’ve mentally closed all the doors of possibility. In fact, you gave me a list of all the things that you are already convinced won’t work.

          You are trapped feeling sorry for yourself which is understandable, but unproductive. This leads you to wanting to quit, to give up completely. You obviously aren’t there yet, because you are still reaching out trying to find a handhold so you can reel things back in. I commend you for that.

          But, giving up is certainly one of your options. You, no doubt, are facing some tough odds and difficult struggles. So, you can accept defeat and go on being pissed about it.

          But, where’s that going to get you?

          I hear in your comments a desire for more. I hear a longing from inside you. Are you brave enough to acknowledge it?

          Instead of giving up because things are hard (an understatement I know), why not do what you can? I mean it may not be as much, right now, as what you really want, but it will be something more than what you’ll get if you simply quit.

          Lots of people face incredible struggles in their lives and look at what they do. Take Helen Keller, for example. She probably had more to overcome than you do and she still lived a productive, fulfilling life. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but it was better than the alternative.

          I would ask you Jon, “What CAN you do?” Instead of making lists of what you CAN’T do, start making a list of possibilities. Again, they may not be perfect and you may hit a few dead-ends along the way (you’ve seen a few of these already), but don’t let that steal your entire life from you. Do what you CAN and build from there slowly, but surely.

          Also, I want to point out that there are people out there willing to help you. Look at what is happening here. I don’t know you, but I’m taking time to try to help you. There are plenty of others that will do the same. They may not be knocking down your door, but you can find them if you’ll look and not push them away right from the start.

          Again, you can call all this crap if you’d like. It is your life and your choice how you live it. I just wanted to point out that there is an alternative way to see your future if you choose to look at it through a different lens. I wish you all the best.

          • So please explain what positive, productive things I CAN do… and please do not try and talk about taking walks or working out… because neither of those things does 1 single thing towards fixing my situation.

            Explain how someone who is chronically ill, who cannot afford school, has no job and is currently unable to work therefore has no money whatsoever, is supposed to view life positively and awake each day with a real sense of purpose, not some false distraction like taking a walk or gardening. I mean a real fix for this situation, a sense of excitement about tomorrow because they know for a fact good things are coming… faith and hope are fake and don’t change how things are… so by all means… show me what I missing. Please avoid the corny b.s. and actually analytically view the situation for what it is, without thinking that taking walks, talking to a counselor, gardening, or joining a book club will fix it.

            What is the reason for waking up, besides the fact that its inevitable and “hoping” that things get better… tangibly and physically what is the reason

          • Jon, I can’t hand you the specifics for how you can fix all that is wrong with your life (no matter how much I’d like to) because I don’t know you or your exact situation. Besides, only YOU can determine what would make your life meaningful.

            You ask, “What is the reason for waking up, besides the fact that it is inevitable?” That is the reason. Tomorrow is inevitable. Tomorrow is coming whether you want it to or not. So, you have a choice to make. What are you going to do with tomorrow?

            Personally, I’d rather do something (whatever that might be) to feel of value to myself and the world around me instead of just staying stuck doing nothing and feeling depressed.

            You may not be able to “fix” all your problems. Your new reality may be that you have to live with some significant limitations (to put it nicely). I know that sucks, but it is the cold, hard truth (how’s that for avoiding the corny b.s.?). HOWEVER, you still have the option to decide what you do with whatever is left of yourself. Obviously, you CAN do some things. You have access to a computer. You have an intelligent mind. You have some capabilities if you’ll just acknowledge them. How can you apply these to add meaning to your life?

            Life has no doubt dealt you a tremendous blow. I’d like to erase all that for you, but I can’t and neither can you. I’d like to be able to tell you how to fix it all, but that’s not possible either. You are going to have to let go of your old life (as tough as that is) and move on. How will you start to build a NEW life given where you are at now?

            Hopefully, you can begin again. Why not try to make something out of nothing? There’s the challenge you have to live for. To make something out of the crappy hand you’ve been dealt. Can you do it? I think you can if you’ll stop fixating on the negative and just try. You might be amazed at what happens.

    • Agree with everything you said Jon, it’s easy to give advice to people on how to ‘turn their lives around’ when you’re not the one who has to live it, and gives advice that only applies to the lowest common denominator (the average individual who is merely dissatisfied because of their own laziness and lack of imagination rather than having debilitating problems and outlooks which are impossible or difficult to get rid of and really do interfere)

  16. Good advice to not quit one’s job too quickly. So often there ARE things we can take action with and that is important to do. Some things we can’t change, but others we can. Thanks for the insights.

  17. On the one hand you say that Jane must ‘act immediatly’ embracing the current momentum otherwise she will not use it and most likely not make a change, delaying and staying in the current.

    But then later on you say ‘go slow’. Contradicts exactly what you said earlier.

    Also this does not acknowledge the fact that it is incredibly difficult to make a change (and I mean REALLY difficult) for various reasons, alot of your advice is only applicable for individuals who are stuck in a rut because they are simply lazy and doesn’t help the variety of other reasons what can cause people to feel trapped. Personal anxiety being one for some people it is not just a case of ‘shake up your life’ it is more complex than that.

    Please make your mind up so this is clearer.

    • Dear Confused, to act immediately and yet go slowly are not contradictory. In the article, I was suggesting that my fictional ‘Jane’ should not delay getting started (i.e. act immediately). However, I’d suggest that each action she takes toward crawling out of the proverbial hole be a small, baby step until she starts feeling more confident and clear-headed.

      Okay, now that I’ve clarified that, let me address your other comments. I hope you will indulge me for a few moments while I prod you.

      I DO acknowledge that change is difficult! I know it is hard, but what’s the alternative? Keep wallowing in desperation and self-pity? Keep believing excuses for remaining stuck in hopelessness?

      All of life is complex. Get over it! You are the only one suffering as a result of your circumstances. What are you going to do about it? Keep complaining or at least try to make a difference for yourself? It is your choice.

      Are you in control of yourself or not? If you aren’t, then who is? How you think and act is a choice you make. Granted old habits and wounds can make change hard, but not impossible. The sooner you realize this, the sooner your life will start to improve.

      I hope you don’t mind my ‘tough love’ lecture.

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