How To Heal When You Feel Completely And Utterly Broken

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No state of mind is more dangerous than feeling hopeless. 

There’s little to no chance of success in achieving your goals when you don’t even want to try. But let’s face it — who in their right mind wants to be put in an emotionally fraught situation?

Whether it be a loss of employment, a divorce, a breakup, or even the death of someone you love, hopelessness can quickly become your state of mind. But just like in any other tedious situation, there’s always a lesson in it for you.

If you use turmoil as an opportunity for growth and awareness, there’s a significant light at the end of this dark tunnel.

When you find yourself in a dark place, a place where trying feels pointless, that’s when you discover that you’re so much stronger and so much more resilient than you think.

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Hopelessness can inspire a journey inward

I’ve worked with more than my fair share of hopeless clients stuck in all sorts of debilitating situations that have left them feeling lost with nowhere to go. The one thing I learned as a clinician is that when you’re going through a life-changing event, the last thing you should be is alone.

Especially when you don’t have to be. With the right support, this is a wonderful time to tap into you. 

You do have the power to become whole again, but having the right help makes all the difference. Working with a Master Certified Coach, and perhaps a therapist, too, can help you work through your feelings of hopelessness.

This unique team can help you manage your distress while concurrently creating a personal growth plan that’s right for you. 

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First, identify why you're shutting down

Sometimes we don’t have a choice when we’re faced with an extreme situation. Everyone at some point in their life will — or has — faced something they never thought could happen to them. In such cases, it can be difficult to take the necessary steps to move forward. That’s when it’s best not to go it alone.

Odds are you didn’t plan for your difficult situation.

Maybe you assumed you would be with your partner forever, but for one reason or another, you broke up, or they died. Never did you think you’d be unemployed or betrayed, but it’s easy for your plans to go up in smoke.

Life isn't fair, it's just — just what you make of it. Put mildly, you cannot control what happens to you. However, you can control how you react to what comes your way.

You might not have even thought about what you would do if your circumstances drastically changed, but now you have no choice but to survive. 

At this point, you have two options: 

  • Pivot while finding a way to heal and move forward.
  • Accept your hopeless feelings as your permanent state. 

If you choose to shut down, your quality of life won’t get better. But if you choose the process of healing, you won’t feel hopeless forever.

There’s no one way to learn how to cope, but a seasoned, well-qualified coach can work with you to develop positive coping strategies and return to normalcy. 

RELATED: 5 Smart Ways To Boost Your Emotional Intelligence And Control Your Emotions

How to start healing those hopeless feelings

If not you, you know someone who’s lost their loved one. You may or may not have gone through loss before. But this time, it’s not so easy. 

With each tragedy we experience, the effect on us is different. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve gone through a previous similar experience or if you know someone else who has, you can be left feeling empty.

Loss is something we can never truly prepare for or become used to. Everything that doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger and much wiser.

So how can you apply a general blueprint to heal from your personal situation?

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1. Assess where you are

Ignoring or denying your feelings never leads to anything good. Letting yourself feel can help you determine what kind of help you need. Moreover, allowing yourself to identify and label your feelings can be the start of healing in itself. 

While grief is different for everyone, you should be assessing where you are during the weeks and months after you experience a huge life change. If you haven’t accepted what happened, you should seek help. 

Many think acceptance is the first step, but there are several other stages of grief before acceptance. If you’ve moved into acceptance, you’re on your way to healing.

RELATED: How To Get Through Grief When You're Feeling Hopeless After Losing Someone You Loved

2. Consider your resources

Once you determine what kind of support you need, you can consider your options. 

Do you think you need more time with your friends and family or the exact opposite? Are your hopeless feelings so pervasive that you aren’t able to complete everyday tasks?

Only you can decide whether or not you need help and whom to best receive it from. 

These two steps are a good place to start when you want to heal. If you allow yourself to feel and consider your needs, you’re laying the groundwork for getting help.

RELATED: Why It's Important To Share With Others When You're Struggling

3. Take actionable steps toward healing

Where do you want to be? What’s realistic?

It’s hard to imagine yourself being healed when you lose hope. You shouldn't pressure yourself by making your goal to “be healed." Having a goal that’s worlds away from where you are can increase your feelings of hopelessness, especially if you don’t know how or where to start. 

You can’t go directly from having your GED to becoming a surgeon. But you can enroll in community college and take some classes to qualify for your medical degree. 

In the same way — you can’t wake up and heal one day — but you can start taking small steps.

Set specific and actionable goals. Make plans with loved ones on the anniversary of a death or breakup, engage in healthy activities on a certain day of the week, or connect with a support group.

And above all, seek the help of a highly recommended, experienced, and credentialed professional who resonates with you and your core values. 

And most importantly, keep track of where you are and adjust if necessary. Unlike driving with Google maps, there are no right or wrong turns.

As long as you keep going and putting in the work to heal, you’ll arrive at your destination. 

It may seem like your hopeless feelings will never go away, but we can work through them together. One day at a time. 

RELATED: How To Stop Carrying The Weight Of Your Turbulent Past Or History Of Trauma

Dr. D. Ivan Young is an ICF Credentialed Master Certified Coach, Certified Professional Diversity Coach, National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and a Certified Master MBTI Practitioner.