I am in a rut, how do I get out? I don't feel like there is anything I can do that will change my life. It all seems hopeless. Help!
- Name Withheld
Thank you for your question and permission to use it. It isn't easy to admit you have hit a dead end and need help in your life, but it is a powerful step.
First realize that you are not alone. Many people, including those we consider the great people in their fields have been in ruts and suffered from depression and many of those people got out of their ruts and enjoyed life again. We can find that is factual from many biographies.
Next realize you have the power to change how you feel and to change your life. You know others have, you also know that at times you have. Claim that power and use it. Just turning on some upbeat music and moving around the house can affect our mood. It won't correct our life problems, but it will show us we have the power to change how we feel and it can be something as simple as turning on music for a start.
To give you specific advice I would have to know more about you and your circumstances, but here are some general tips.
"If it is to be, it is up to me." Realize you must act and by writing me you have already started.
Next, understand that if you were living an exciting life, then you would want to live it, you would be excited to live it. Go about making that life.
To take an extreme example, I find that people that have attempted suicide don't actually want to die. Wanting to die is not their actual goal, they just have a life they feel they can't face and being in an unresourceful state they chose to quit living to avoid a life they can't face. If I can help them to go about creating a life they think is worth living and they would enjoy facing, even embracing, then they will want to live that life.
People that come to me with depression have two common characteristics, one: they are habitually thinking sad or depressing thoughts and two: they are not actively engaged in life in a positive way.
I once asked a woman if she had ever tried to be happy and she looked at me as if I had suggested she go home and boil puppies for supper. With some work I found out she was known to her friends and family as the most depressed person alive. That was her identity, if she wasn't that person she didn't know who she would be or how she would interact with people. It took some time, but I got her to look at herself in another way and to find a way to "give up" her most depressed person identity and actually make a new one that she created by plan. Now she helps others overcome ruts and depression. She engages in life and does it in a positive way.
You may not have the strength to break out of your rut alone. The answer is never in a pill, but there is help in others. Good friends are good choices and a good Christian counselor will help you look to a power outside yourself that is greater than yourself to overcome problems you don't think you have the internal resources to overcome.
To sum it up in this short post, believe you have to power to change your life and you will have it. Do different things to have a different life. If you make a life you feel is exciting you will be excited to live it. Know that others have felt like you do and have overcome it. You are not alone or strange. Good friends are a good help. Writing things down on paper and then making plans and goals is a great way to work through problems and plan and change your life. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or even think of suicide, remember someone always cares and there is always help, reach out for it. If the first person you talk with isn't a match and doesn't feel like the person to help you, then just try again. You wouldn't expect to find the perfect mate on the first date you go out on, so realize you may have to reach out and look for help more than once to find the right match for you and your new life. Throw out your "rules to life" things that limit you and keep you from seeking and creating a life you would love to live. Helping others is a way to find meaning and purpose, it is also very rewarding, so consider helping someone everyday in a simple way, even if it is just to give a compliment or hold a door for someone that has trouble getting around. Good Christian counseling is counseling that can add meaning to your life. Secular counseling may help you with your problems, but it can't tell you why you are here in the world or help you with meaning or purpose that goes beyond this life and material things.
Please email me regularly and keep me posted on your progress.
best and be blest,
Scott Hogue CChH
Scott Hogue has been teaching people how to change their lives for decades. Isn't it time he helped you?
Since your circumstances are unique, you must see professional advice where there is risk. The information and ideas that Scott Hogue teaches is not a substitute for such personal advice.