Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are common in people who are clinically depressed. Researchers of the cognitive theory of depression found out that people who are depressed struggle with these feelings more often than those who are not. There are different types of hopelessness and learning to recognize them is the first step towards overcoming them.
The feeling of hopelessness can be infectious to every part of the person. It can affect one’s physical health because one no longer care about one’s diet or physical activity. Furthermore can impact one’s relationships because one no longer see the point of reaching out to his/her friends or loved one. Finally, it can affect one’s job as one no longer cares for it as one could no longer see what the future holds. When left unchecked and unmanaged, it can lead to increasing feeling of helplessness which may lead to suicidal thoughts.
The Different Types of Hopelessness
In their book, Hope in the Age of Anxiety, psychology professors Anthony Scioli and Henry Biller state that there are nine different types of hopelessness. These are alienation, forsakenness, uninspired, powerlessness, oppression, limitedness, doom, captivity, and helplessness.
Alienation stems from an individual’s belief that he/she is different from other people. When a person feels alienated, he/she feels like he/she has been exiled in a sense and hence, no longer worthy of love and support. A person who feels alienated cannot see a future where he/she will not be cut off from others. This, in turn, causes him/her to further feelings of alienation.
Forsakenness refers to a feeling of abandonment. This leaves a person feeling left out and alone in a time of their greatest need.
Uninspired is what someone feels when he/she doesn’t see opportunities for growth. This can lead to feeling of despair. Despair is what a person feels in a job that doesn’t fill in for his/her need to create.
A person starts to feel powerless when he/she starts to feel incapable of becoming an author of his/her own life or of getting after his/her goals.
The feeling of oppression, whether it’s racially, socially, or relationally, can make someone feel that he/she will never be able to overcome his/her obstacles.
Limitedness starts to creep in when a person thinks that his/her personal skills are limited or when he/she doesn’t have enough to succeed at something or achieve anything. This feeling is common among people who are poor and those who have severe physical limitations or crippling disabilities.
A person experiencing this form of hopelessness feels that his/her life is over and that he/she cannot do something to save himself/herself. This feeling of hopelessness is common in people diagnosed with serious and life-threatening conditions as well as those who find themselves worn out whether by age or certain limitations.
Hopelessness can be felt by someone who is physically or emotionally captive. Prisoners (physically captive) as well as those in abusive or bad relationship (emotionally captive) fall into this category. This can lead to feelings of defeat and pessimism.
People who feel helpless begin to feel hopeless as they no longer feel that they can live safely in the world and that there’s nothing they can do to defend themselves. Trauma and other forms of repeated exposure to an uncontrolled stressor can trigger feeling of helplessness.
Cognitive distortions can cause these feelings of hopelessness. It can be a result of over-generalization, all-or-nothing thinking, or mind reading. A good way of overcoming these feelings is by getting outside one’s thoughts and taking an accurate assessment of the situation. It may involved examining evidences (this is highly applicable for feelings of doom and hopelessness) to get the facts straight. For instance, if one feels alienated or forsaken, he/she can start asking if this really true and do people really abandon him/her. This isn’t easy. This what makes very helpful to have someone who can accurately and objectively look at one’s situation.
There are different types of therapist a person can go to in order to help him/her look at his/her situation in a more objective manner. A hypnotherapist one of them.
A hypnotherapist can help in these situations by putting a person in a completely relaxed state so they can get easier access to insights about these unhelpful beliefs and aid in the creation of helpful beliefs.
If you’re feeling hopeless, I can help you. I’m a certified hypnotherapist and we can work together to find the root cause of it and find a better way to look at them.
Published by Hypnosis in London on 10 March 2017, written by Malminder Gill.