Feeling Discouraged, Lost, and Depressed
By: David Lechnyr, LCSW
When we become discouraged, feel lost, are confused, and feel overwhelmed, it is easy to feel like we want all the pain and sadness to stop. We want to run, to feel no more, and to have our upset, anger, and sadness removed quickly. Understanding a few issues might be of help at these difficult times.
Discouragement of Depression
When we experience depressive feelings, it is easy to feel discouraged and to feel hopeless. Depression is many times anger turned inside because of things that has happened to us in life. At other times, depression is the result of a chemical imbalance.
No matter what the cause of one’s depression, it is easy to feel discouraged and wish that there would be some easy solution to change things. Many times we feel more depressed and emotional when we are about to face things and come to understand that we have to deal with emotional, or physical, issues that we have stuffed deep inside of ourselves. It is a time of change for us! It can be a creative, but emotional, time. This is good, even though a disturbing one.
We feel all alone and respond by saying that but it is just not fair. Or we think that we can’t take it anymore and wish for peace and comfort. However, one’s depression masks the reality of the situation and seems to focus one on thinking only on the pain of the present situation, i.e., the pain.
The Tendency to See Negatives
When we are depressed, it is easier to dwell on the negatives of our situation, life, and problems. Classically it is the tendency to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. The more we focus on negatives and problems, the stronger the tendency will be for us to feel depressed, sad and hopeless.
It is critical that if one wants to change their depressive feelings that they must start to focus on the positives in life. At first, one has to fake it until they make it because the more we start to act normal the better chance we have to ultimately feel normal. The more we think of running, the more we will continue to be discouraged and depressed wishing that it was all over with.
The Lack of a Future Focus
Depression robs us of the ability to see the future and any potentials in the future. When we are depressed, it is easy to forget the accomplishments of the past and to only focus on what has not worked for us. It is critical to remember that our decisions are the hinges of our lives. However, it is critical that you have a future focus rather than thinking and focusing only on the now.
Let go of negative thoughts and what if thinking patterns. Focus on what you can control and how it fits into your future plans, no matter how vague they seem or the little you might believe in them. Also understand how the decisions of the moment will affect everyone else around you in your family, friends, etc. It will dramatically impact them in negative ways!
A Journey of Discovery
Making a change in one’s thinking requires an understanding that you are on a new journey of discovery. During this journey we frequently find ourselves feeling discouraged, wondering when we will ever reach our destination where we can find the solution.
The reality is that we do not always understand what is happening to us, to others, and in the world. Sometimes, we have to find ways to thicken our skins, learn to tolerate delays, uncertainties, frustrations, lack of direction, and a sense of hopelessness. We have to learn to live with unclear, ambiguous, conditions and situations.
All of this takes time, maturity, efforts, and a belief that things will get better. We have to take the leap of faith where we have to trust that in time, things will be different. Nothing happens when we want it to. Struggles teaches us patience and builds strength of character. We may want to give up, but it is critical to keep our eyes focused on the future. This requires growth and maturity on our part.
Slow down, accept the reality of the situation, and know that with time you will be able to figure things out. At times you will want to give up because you will be feeling discouraged, impatient, and wanting the pain to end. Talk less about the pain and focus more on what you have to do one day at a time. In a crisis the focus needs to be on putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
The focus needs to be on finding solutions that are reality based and help you grow as a person of strength even when you feel that you are weak and confused. Remember, there are no easy and quick answers. In fact, when we try to rush things, answers seem to be harder to find. When we slow down, take our time, and let go of our impatience, answers seem to come more naturally.
All of this may be hard to see at this moment. Hang in there.