Feeling Overwhelmed, Hopeless or Useless is common. When any of these feelings paralyze you then depression exists. Often such feelings bring us up short and keep us from focusing on the matters at hand.
As we sit down to begin a new week there are many things we will need to accomplish. Feeling overwhelmed can affect how we think about the number and complexity of the tasks life forces us to plan. What should I do first? Will I overlook something important?
Tip: to get a handle on feeling overwhelm by your life tasks; list them in a word document. This will allow you to see all that you face. Then you can rearrange them. What are the components of each task? Are there subcomponents of different tasks that can be done together?
When I had to manage several patients in the hospital, I would keep a list. Then I would go to the various labs and x-ray and review all the studies of all the patients in one pass. Then when I went to each patient I did not have to run back to the lab many times. How might you resort and perform parts of the different tasks?
Hopelessness can really paralyze us. We feel there is no way to approach the problems we face. Frankly, some are truly beyond our control. The weather will be as it will be. We will have to adapt. Here in Minnesota, we expect snow all winter long. We buy cars and clothes in response to that fact. Soon, I will get out the long johns. They allow me to stand at the bus stop without freezing my legs off.
Tip: if you have made a list of the things facing you, now you can look for opportunities to address the underlying problems.
We can’t stop global warming, but we can travel with the least release of greenhouse gasses. In general ground transportation is better than air, and mass transit is better than solo. You have done something, even if it is not all that is needed to be done.
If you still feel overwhelmed by hopelessness then a mindset change may be in order. Ask yourself such questions as: Whose problem is it anyway? Will it really matter what I do? Then try to set it aside.
Years ago, I decided that in the case of nuclear war, I would enjoy the view from the roof. The chances of survival were small; I might as well experience the process and not hide.
Uselessness often confronts us. The major events swirling around us will happen with or without us. We are spectators or “collateral Damage) in the scheme of things. This is where the spiritual comes in.
Are you part of nature? If so, what does nature expect of you? The antelope grows big and strong only to become food for the lion. The lion will become food for the vulture. Our daily struggles prepare us for a role beyond ourselves. In the moment the struggle becomes primary, but in the overall scheme it serves only to prepare for another role. When the antelope loses its struggle with the lion, it assumes its’ ultimate role. How will your struggle today contribute to the world of tomorrow?
When these feelings of Overwhelm, Hopelessness and uselessness stop us for weeks, it is time to get outside help. You probably are clinically depressed and there are many things others can do to help you. You should usually feel like dancing, and not crying.
What ways have you found to dance in the face of overwhelm and hopelessness?
What resources do you have to dance? As All Ways, Seek Joy,7