What does hopelessness feel like? Hopelessness is the feeling that all is lost, there is no hope. Ultimately, feeling like there is no opportunity for life to improve is a pretty dark place to be. Are you in that dark place? Can you tell what hopelessness feels like?
Perhaps someone you know is feeling down. Or maybe you are worried they might hurt themselves. Keep reading to find out about feelings of hopelessness and how you can help your loved one.
What Makes People Feel Hopeless?
According to PsychCentral.com, human hope is tied to three things:
When people feel disconnected from the world and people around them, have no sense of accomplishment. Perhaps they have a lack of safety and security, and they feel hopeless.
What Are the Different Types of Hopelessness? What Can Hopelessness Feel Like?
Hope In the Age of Anxiety, by Anthony Scioli and Henry B. Biller lists nine types of hopelessness.
Hopelessness Can Feel Like Alienation
Alienation is the feeling that you do not quite fit in with your peers. Maybe you feel like you have been forgotten about as a person. As a result, you have trouble making attachments or bonding with people. Perhaps you may resist or reject new friendships or relationships because you assume you will get hurt.
This type of hopelessness is when you feel all outcomes are going to be terrible. At its core, this type of hopelessness might be a result of early childhood trauma or serious illness.
People who feel this type of hopelessness may have been held prisoner at some point in their lives. It is possible a person with this type of hopelessness was or is in an abusive relationship that they feel they cannot escape.
Actually, some people feel this type of hopelessness as a result of blaming themselves or feeling like they deserve to be treated badly or abused.
Hopelessness Can Feel Like Forsakenness
In this kind of hopelessness, a person feels like they have been abandoned by loved ones in their hour of need. That is why these feelings of rejection can make someone become untrusting or feel stigmatized.
Some people feel like they cannot do anything without relying on others for assistance, including standing up for themselves.
For Some, Hopelessness Can Feel Like Lack of Inspiration
People who do not feel mentally stimulated by the world around them feel this type of hopelessness. Simply put, they may feel creatively blocked or like the world has no point of meaning.
When people feel as if they do not have the physical or financial capabilities needed to achieve their goals, they may feel this type of hopelessness.
Hopelessness Can Even Feel Like Oppression
This type of hopelessness is felt by people who are not treated fairly or equally. For instance, sexism and racism lead to this type of hopelessness.
What Are the Symptoms? What does Hopelessness feel like?
Here are the most common symptoms:
- Appetite or weight changes – gains or losses
- Anger or irritability – constantly feeling agitated, possibly violent
- Concentration problems – trouble remembering, focusing, or making decisions
- Lack of energy – feeling physically drained, sluggish
- Lack of interest in daily activities – no joy from hobbies, sex, or social activities
- Reckless behavior – gambling, substance abuse
- Self-loathing – hating yourself, worthlessness, guilt
- Sleep changes – sleeping all the time or insomnia
- Unexplained aches and pains – headache, stomach problems, back pain
What Can I Do to stop feeling hopeless?
There are several things you can do to combat feelings of hopelessness and depression.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy. According to the Mayo Clinic CBT is used to treat a variety of issues and is the preferred type of psychotherapy. As a result, you work with a mental health professional to identify negative thoughts and help you react to them in a more appropriate way.
Mindfulness and Meditation for Hopelessness Feelings
A lot of negative thoughts and feelings of hopelessness stem from thinking about things from the past that cannot be changed. Accordingly, mindfulness is about being in the present moment. First, take a moment to notice your breath. Next, notice the way the air smells, the sounds you hear, and the things you can see around you. Then, in the practice of meditation, you use mindfulness to focus yourself on positive affirmations.
Take Control of Feeling Hopeless
Ask yourself what the reason is you feel hopeless. Can you name something specific? What about that thing or situation do you have control over? By contrast, taking control, even in a small way can give you a sense of hope or achievement.
If you are feeling so overwhelmed by the never-ending list of tasks, that you do not even know where to begin. Pick one thing, it can be a small thing, and get it done. Next, cross it off the list. Then do the next thing.
Think About What You Would Do If You Felt Good
Fake it till you make it. When you are lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, not interested in doing anything, that is when you need to haul yourself out of bed and walk around the block. Pick something that you know you would enjoy if you were feeling great and do that thing. Once you get past the hurdle of showing up, you might be glad you did.
Choose Happiness, not Hopelessness
It sounds cliché but it is up to you. In the same way that you make the choice to love your partner, even though they always load the dishwasher wrong every single time. That is why you should make the choice to start loving yourself even though you are not perfect.
You are the person who gets to decide how you feel. In other words, you’re the one who can control how you react to the world around you.
If you are reading this and you feel like you want to hurt yourself right now, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8225) or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Hopelessness and depression are different for everyone. However, that does not mean you are alone. Even if you are in a mental place where you feel alienated like you have no one. There is someone. That person may be a stranger, it does not matter. In fact, sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger. Someone who wants to help you climb out of the abyss you feel like you have fallen in. What does hopelessness feel like?