Throughout the lifespan there will be different points when life can feel impossible.
During these times when life is challenging, you may want to give up and escape from your current circumstances.
You might find yourself fantasizing about quitting your job, leaving your partner or your kids, quitting your life, as you know it. You might want to hide away so no one could find you or bother you. You might daydream about hitting pause or starting over all together.
Sometimes you might feel deep regret about big decisions you’ve made throughout the years and how these choices now make you feel like it’s too late.
Sometimes you might lay awake at night grieving the choices you’ve made and all the paths you didn’t take—the career, the school, that person, that opportunity that slipped away.
When life is feeling impossible the content of your thoughts might be negative replays of what has gone wrong, who has done you wrong, and how tomorrow will likely be no different. Sometimes your thoughts can come so fast and the topics can change viciously from one concern to another. The thoughts speed up even quicker and the worry thoughts get louder and you might find yourself in panic.
When life feels unbearable it can feel impossible to even get out of bed in the morning. An overall sense of darkness consumes you before your feet even hit the floor. You might ponder how will it be possible for you to get through the day and face the people in front of you.
You muster up the energy and the courage to face the day and you plaster a smile on your face and fake it through the day. You might feel in a daze throughout the day finding it difficult to remember the details of what happened. You were present physically but not present mentally. Life begins to feel like a blur and it’s passing you by.
When life feels unmanageable it can feel like you are carrying a heavy backpack everywhere that you go and each day things just keep getting added and nothing ever gets taken out. You feel worn down by your backpack. You now own this backpack as your own even though many things inside do not belong to you. Your body is suffering from all these things you have to carry. Your stomach, your crest, your throat, your back and it feels like you can’t possibly take on anymore.
You might long for a time where things felt so much simpler…lighter.
You are reminded that you have been through difficult times but you can’t remember ever feeling as overwhelmed and hopeless and you do now.
When life feels especially heavy you might think, “Where did I go so wrong” “this wasn’t supposed to be my life”.
When life feels unbearable you might become hyperfocused on how well everyone else is doing and how happy everyone else seems. You might follow the lives of others that show small fragments of their lives that confirm for you that your life is not measuring up.
As you walk through life you might notice people around you and wonder if their life is better and you feel certain that their life is definitely easier. As you observe others you might notice yourself feeling jealous, envious, and even really angry that your circumstances aren’t theirs. You are probably self aware so you then notice yourself feeling jealous and you get upset with yourself for having these negative thoughts about others and yourself.
When life feels hopeless people might remind you to stay positive and to focus on things like gratitude. You might walk away from some of these conversations feeling worse than you felt at the start.
There might be times that you wish it could all go away and you might try to escape in things like TV, alcohol, dating, having an affair, or sleeping.
When you feel like life is impossible you might convince yourself that life has never felt good and things have never improved. This current state feels like the only normal you have ever known and you see no end to the painful life you have constructed.
When life is feeling impossible, you might wish you had people in your life that could understand, that could see you, validate your experience without trying to tell you what you aren’t doing. You might feel lonely and avoidant all at the same time. It feels like people wont understand and you don’t know how to help them understand.
You don’t want to be perceived as being the friend that always has a “problem” or something negative to say.
When life feels unbearable, everything about your day-to-day life can feel like too much. Like thinking, feelings, and behaving is all working against you and this experience with life is not what you signed up for. It might feel like you are stuck in the fog and you don’t know how to make your way through.
So if these are your feelings I wish to tell you…
You are not in this battle alone. I have felt very similar feelings throughout different points of my life, and I see it in everyone around me at different times. I see it with my family; I see it in my friends, with my clients, and my coworkers.
To feel this way is what it feels like to live as a human, perfectly imperfect. You make mistakes, you feel broken sometimes, and all these things are part of our humanness.
The intent of these words is not to easy your pain, as I know it would likely take much more than words. You need action. I want you to feel comfort in knowing someone else see’s your pain, someone else has felt this pain.
I so badly want to fix it for you and tell you things will get better from here but I don’t know if that is the truth. For many of the people I work with, sometimes things get a little bit harder before they get better. I do not know how your story will unfold exactly.
I want to acknowledge how badly you are hurting right now and how hard it is for you to even put that into words. I want to validate your experience and let you know it’s perfectly okay to feel the way you feel right now. I so badly want you to be okay but it’s okay that you aren’t today.
I want to validate that it is okay to feel regret and to be angry with some of your choices and life circumstances along the way. It is okay to not feel grateful all the time for the things you do have. It is okay that you want to quit your life and that you fantasize about having a mindless job somewhere else where no one depends on you.
It is okay to hate the way things are right now. It’s okay that you feel stuck and that you are being pulled all at the same time. It’s okay that you feel like you don’t always make sense especially when you try to put your feelings into words.
But even in these moments the one rule is you aren’t allowed to GIVE UP. You have not come this far only to come this far. And now that you are here and you have acknowledged the struggle and frustration it’s time to dig deep and turn towards any support available.
This can look different for everyone. This can be a friend, therapy, yoga, working out, and meditation. This can be medication, reading a favorite book, binge watching something mindless on Netflix. Maybe it’s attending a group where other people need support and where your perspective could be helpful to others. Leaving you feeling like you contributed something even through your pain.
Sometimes you might need to catch up on sleep and nourish yourself with healthy foods that make you feel best.
Taking care of yourself through these difficult times is essential. Remember that you have survived 100 percent of your worst days so far. When you are stuck in the thick of this difficulty it can feel endless and impossible but I assure you it will pass.
In passing through this difficult time you will find an incredible resilience and strength within you that you did not even know existed until now. It is often not until long after the fact that we come to appreciate how rewarding facing and overcoming challenges can be.
Remembering the one rule is you do not give up on you. Trying not to numb out. If you mute the pain you also mute the joy. When we stop feeling the negative emotions, as we perceive them, we stop feeling all emotions.
The reality is our emotions tell us important information about what’s going on within us and they prompt us to know how to respond. Emotions are part of the human experience and we are meant to feel the whole spectrum.
You’re not going to feel connected all the time and you don’t need to.
You’re not going to feel grateful all the time and you don’t need to.
You’re not going to feel loving or loved all the time and you don’t need to.
Free yourself from these heavy expectations.
When life feels unbearable this is a kind reminder for you to take care of you today the best way you know how too. Give yourself the space you need and the grace to make it through these times.
Maybe the next time life is feeling unbearable you come back here to this post and remember you are not alone. One moment at a time, just keep moving forward.
Hold on to the moments when you feel inspired, hopeful, and find the healers that resonate with you. Work on trusting your individual process and know that what is meant for you could never miss you.
I see you and I honor you.
Tonya Torres, LMFT