Balancing Helplessness and Hopefulness

There are many symptoms of depression that are frustrating to deal with. Among them, hopelessness is one of the most difficult ones to manage. Hopelessness is a feeling that can sneak up on us. It can be disguised as so many other ways of feeling, and it can be hard to distinguish between other emotions. But to me, living with depression is a constant balance. On one end is the persistence of helplessness; on the other, the optimism of hopefulness. Life can be a constant back and forth between the two, which is what I want to talk about today.

Over the years, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about depression. Whether it’s my own education or hearing other people’s experiences, there is always something new to learn about it. People experience the world in different ways, and depression is no different. While that can be a unifying aspect of mental health, it can also make things tricky. There are so many symptoms of depression that could be obvious in one person and latent in another. I wish it was as simple as saying ‘look out for these symptoms,’ but it’s often more complicated than that.

When dealing with depression, feelings of helplessness can feel insurmountable. Those feelings can feel like a tap on the shoulder, reminding over and over about how you feel. Seconds and minutes can feel like hours, and you wonder if you’ll ever feel another way again.

After years of experiencing depression, I’ve noticed a reoccurring cycle of my feelings. The feeling of helplessness feels like it will never end. It’s painful, it’s empty, it’s impossible to overcome. But eventually (and this can take time, unfortunately), the feeling subsides. It makes way for other feelings. Those feelings aren’t always positive, but I reach for it because it’s different than what I was experiencing.

And in my experience, over time, the darkness leads to the dawn. That helplessness turns to hopefulness, and I am filled with gratitude. I’m grateful to make it through the darkness once again, and I am hopeful that I’m improving at how I manage it. This feeling doesn’t usually last long, but it is enough. It’s enough to hold on to for the future. It’s enough to try and remember next time I’m not feeling so well. And it’s enough to remind me that I’ve grown over the years, and I am better at fighting this fight than I used to be.

Experiencing depression can often feel like a balancing act. We’re between two worlds – what is going on around us, and what’s going on inside our heads. We ebb and flow between so many feelings, and that journey can sometimes feel like a tightrope. But over time, I’ve learned that there’s actually a net underneath that tightrope – and every single time I’ve fallen, it’s been there to catch me. And I hope you know that it’s there to catch you as well. Wishing you all the best this week, friends.

There are SO many feelings we experience as humans, but I find that I come back to helplessness and hopefulness quite often. Now, over to you! What emotions do you find yourself going back and forth on? How do you manage and deal with these feelings/emotions? Let me know in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Balancing Helplessness and Hopefulness

  1. Kris Ambrose September 23, 2022 / 1:55 am

    This article was so helpful! I really like the example of “falling into a net to catch is”. Such a great way to express what it’s like to fall and then get back up. It is all about managing. Once I realized that just like exercise is something I do regularly to manage my health (physical and mental) , I will need to make the same time and effort toward my anxiety and depression.
    Thanks for putting things in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith October 4, 2022 / 11:12 am

      I’m glad you found this post helpful! It really is all about managing – once that concept made more sense to me, everything else clicked into place. We manage everything else in our lives, why should mental health be any different?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s