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How to overcome feeling helpless. Photo: Mark Alexander @lostpeony

Life happens and sometimes it leaves a trail of helplessness behind. Nobody wants to feel helpless and nobody wants to admit that they do. It just happens and we have no control over that but we can fight it and get rid of it. Here is my experience and thoughts on how to overcome feeling helpless:

Find out what makes you feel helpless

You can’t fix it if you don’t know what it is that causes it. Identify the triggers that make you feel helpless. That could be anything and it is as specific and individual as you are. Be honest with yourself and admit to weaknesses, phobias and anything else that may cause you to feel helpless.

I felt helpless the moment my partner died. I wasn’t in control and I couldn’t do or change anything to make my partner alive again. I felt weak – mentally and physically.

That’s what made me feel helpless and that’s what kept me feeling that way for months to come.

What can you do about it

Knowing what causes it is just as useful as not knowing. Use your discoveries to make a plan of action. Adopt a logical approach and detail every step you need to take to overcome the obstacles that make you feel helpless.

If you find it difficult to do that, pretend you are doing it for someone else. Act as if you are telling your best friend what to do in this difficult situation.

The main cause of my helplessness was feeling weak. The logical thing to do was to become strong. I found a counsellor and joined my local gym.

I did one-hour long weekly sessions with my counsellor and one-hour at the gym three or four times a week. It took a couple of months before I felt a little bit stronger but it worked. I kept going and the feeling of being helpless became weaker and weaker.

I don’t have counselling any more but I still go to the gym. I feel stronger than ever and I look stronger. People comment on it and that makes me feel even stronger and more capable of doing things and facing my fears.

Change is good

Identifying the causes of your helplessness and doing what you need to do to overcome them is good but sometimes you need a push. That could be anything from changing your routine, not going to certain places and/or meeting certain people to just changing your haircut and the way you dress.

In my case that final push was moving out of the house my partner and I shared for 12 years. I loved it but I needed to detach myself from it. I needed to go away and settle into completely new environment and among new people.

I now live in a small flat with beautiful views and surrounded by new friends. I feel settled and happy. Most importantly though – there is no shred of helplessness left in me.

Look after your health

Looking after my physical and mental health was the key to rebuilding my life after the death of my partner. There is nothing more important in life than our health. We take it for granted until it’s too late.

I am healthier than ever and I feel strong, happy and confident. I feel like I can tackle anything life throws at me.

Allow yourself to experience the full extent of that helplessness. Let it get hold of you. Use that time to get to know it. Analyse it and find its strengths and weaknesses. Devise a plan of action. Play up to its strengths, take advantage of its weaknesses and hit it when it least expects it.

That’s what I did and that’s my advice on how to overcome feeling helpless.

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