Everyone has bad days, as well as moments when it feels like no matter what you do, things will never change.  While the occasional loss of motivation is normal, dwelling in a dark place where it seems like nothing good will ever happen to you again, or that you don’t deserve good things, is hopelessness.  Feeling hopeless is common in people experiencing depression and addiction. When you are in this mental state, it is difficult to take a realistic look at your own life. You may not be able to see into the future far enough to believe that change is coming your way, or believe in yourself enough to understand how you can create that change.  Because hopelessness is often the result of an underlying mental illness or unaddressed trauma, it is best to seek professional help if you find yourself incapable of feeling happy or positive for an extended period of time. However, there are a few tips you can use to pull yourself out of hopelessness in the meantime.

Get Out of the House

Depression and hopelessness often come with the desire to retreat inward and isolate yourself from others.  This might mean avoiding crowds or avoiding the outdoors altogether, but giving yourself a change of scenery and being around people can sometimes provide you with the mental and emotional boost you need to get by.  You don’t necessarily have to engage with others if you are feeling particularly antisocial, but it can be therapeutic to take a walk in a park or window shop at the mall. Being around people reminds you that everyone is going through their own experiences and working out their own problems, and you aren’t alone.  Staying in the house all the time can feel like your life and circumstances are all that exist, but being around others can help you experience compassion and hope for the future.

Changing your environment is also a good reason to push yourself out of the house when you are feeling hopeless.  Hopeless people are often surrounded by dreary conditions, perhaps in a messy house they don’t have the motivation to clean or in a dark room, they aren’t eager to light.  A bit of sunlight and an aesthetically pleasing setting can make a world of difference for your mood. If possible, spend some time near a body of water like a lake or the ocean.  Water can have an emotionally cleansing effect, and remind you of your connection to all other living things. While standing by the ocean might make you feel small, it can also awaken a profound sense of purpose when you feel you have none.

Unleash Your Creativity

Hopelessness usually grows from a feeling of stagnation.  You may feel as if every day is the same as the one before it, or that you are stuck in a destructive cycle from which you can’t escape.  Stepping out of your routine to do something creative can inspire hope and excitement about new possibilities, as well as provide you with a self-esteem boost by way of accomplishment.  Whether you are already artistically inclined, or have never so much as picked up a crayon, feeling hopeless is a definite sign that you should seek a creative outlet. You can use painting, music, poetry, or any other form of art to work through your negative emotions, and perhaps pick up some positive ones along the way.

Ask for Help

You simply can’t cure hopelessness without human connection.  If you are feeling hopeless, there is a good chance you feel emotionally detached from the people around you or are struggling to maintain healthy relationships.  This may be a result of difficult circumstances, deteriorating mental health, or problematic behavior. Regardless of the underlying reason behind your lack of quality human connection, it is important to take the first step towards healing by asking for help.  You may choose to turn to a loved one or a professional, but you should start by being honest with yourself about your mental health and lifestyle choices, and then be willing to open up to others. Living in a state of perpetual hopelessness is a painful and lonely existence, and there is no reason to continue to suffer when help is available to those who ask.  Unfortunately, many people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with depressive symptoms. Substance abuse increases the severity of pre-existing mental illnesses, and may also lead to addiction. Addiction alone can sometimes feel like a battle you can’t win, and without professional help, depression, and addiction can be a dangerous combination.   

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental illness, now is the time to seek help.  At Burning Tree Ranch, we specialize in long-term care that produces real results, especially for those who have experienced a relapse.  Here you will find a team of qualified and compassionate professionals, ready to help each client through a customized treatment program that addresses all aspects of addiction, including the identification of co-occurring disorders.  We know that the journey towards recovery doesn’t end with the conclusion of an inpatient program, and therefore we provide extensive aftercare programs to best support our clients during their transition into lasting sobriety. We also know that addiction affects the whole family, and therefore loved ones are encouraged to participate in the recovery process and take advantage of all our support resources.  For more information, call us today at 512-285-5900