When our circumstances seem very difficult and overwhelming and we are unable to see a way out of them, it can often lead to feelings of hopelessness. We are often faced with fulfilling a number of different roles and expectations as a result of the challenges and unique circumstances that life presents us with. In some cases, when the challenges of life seem like they are too difficult for us to cope with, it is possible for thoughts of suicide to cross our mind. It may seem like there is no hope for a solutions ahead and that ending one’s life may be the only way out. It is very important to be able to pay attention to these feelings and how they are affecting us, and to reach out for help as soon as possible.
Mentioned below are some of the ways in which hopelessness can manifest itself in our body, mind and behavior:
- Physical: Reduced immunity, loss of appetite, disruptions in sleeping patterns
- Emotional/psychological: Worthlessness, fatigue, lack of motivation, low confidence, lack of interest, lack of energy, suicidal ideation
- Behavioral: Neglecting hygiene and appearance, inability to fulfill daily responsibilities, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm, suicide attempts
Sometimes these feelings of hopelessness can become exceedingly distressing. Mentioned below are some suggestions that can help when feeling this way:
- Acknowledging feelings: It is very important to acknowledge our feelings of hopelessness and to be compassionate with ourselves.
- Self-care: These are times when we are in need of a lot of care and it is very important to attend to our physical and emotional needs. E.g. making sure to eat regular meals, to bathe and take care of our hygiene, and to try and do relaxing and soothing activities.
- Accessing support: Talking to someone who will listen to our feelings without any judgment and act as an empathetic sounding board. However, in the absence of a supportive friend or family member, reaching out to a counselor can be of immense help
- Distancing from the distress: If the vulnerability is too high, it can be best to distance ourselves from the distressing thoughts or environment. Stepping out of the house, being around people, or asking a trusted friend or family member to be around us, could all be helpful in times of high vulnerability.
- Identifying and eliminating triggers: It is very important to understand why we are feeling this way and to see if we can avoid some of behaviors or situations that are causing it. These signs are meaningful opportunities for us to seek help.
- Seeking professional help: It is important to contact a mental health professional immediately to seek help when experiencing extreme hopelessness.
When hopelessness becomes overwhelming, it can lead to thoughts of suicide. In these instances, reaching out to a professional almost immediately is extremely important in helping us manage our vulnerability. Counselors at iCALL are trained to deal with such intense vulnerability and it can be very helpful to reach out and access this support in times of need.