There are people who are worried about being lost in life and not doing the right thing and then there are people who are actually off their path but they are off so much they no longer aware of it. Today I am going to explore the second type of people and the symptoms that can let you know if you should be worried.
Sometimes these people are our family members, friends or coworkers. We see them, or maybe we hear about their struggles and we immediately can tell – “no, buddy, EVERYTHING you do is wrong. Not how you do it but what you do. No wonder your life is so sad”. The first step to solving any problem is being aware of the problem and recognizing the need for solving it. So pour a cup of hot tea, have a sit and see if you recognize any of these warning signs. Please note some of them may also be signs of depression and may require more professional counselling.
- sound/look/feel hopeless
- feel not just unlucky but as a complete loser
- no longer feel capable of taking control over their life. You/they believe nothing can be done to fix the situation or make it better
- constantly in reactive mood. They do not plan ahead but only react or do something in response to something happening first (not being proactive)
- have been out of job/the profession they love for 6+ months
- constantly changing jobs
- refuse to analyze their mistakes or consider what they might be doing wrong/not doing
- do not take responsibility for the state of their lives by blaming someone/something else
- have mood swings – from extremely energetic and hopeful to ‘lower than a floor’ sadness
- desperate but also constantly feel sorry for themselves
- tired all the time. Regardless of how time they slept, what they ate or did
- have trouble falling asleep that lasts weeks
- after you talk to the person in question, you feel your energy levels go down. They have no positive energy about them
- there is no planning of any kind. Planning is the first step to taking control of your life. Planning happens by anticipating the future and preparing for it rather than reacting to the situation, and ideally is long-term
- refuse to focus on more than one aspect of their lives (e.g. does not want to focus on both family and career) because they feel they cannot handle additional stress
- no longer interested in lives of other people that are close to them (family/friends)
- no idea what they actually want to have or obsession with specific outcome
- feel alone to deal with their problems
- feel inadequate/not strong/not young/not old enough/not rich enough/not capable enough to deal with their problem
- their house is always a mess
- they no longer seem to enjoy things they used to like
- lack of appetite or focus on unhealthy accessible food that does not require a lot of effort
- their financial situation is bad – e.g. debts, no savings
- their look, clothing, shoes, hair demonstrate despair
- they do not seem to be willing to invest energy in improving their situation. They choose to hold on to pieces of previous life/situation that still remain
- they emotionally closed down from other people/keeping everything in themselves
- they look older than they actually are
- something bad has happened to them recently (e.g. death of a loved one/friend/family member, loss of job, bankruptcy, breaking up/divorcing or a serious fight with someone they used to trust) and they let these events to continue affecting them and use them as the reason for not putting the effort required to move their life forward/off the wrong course
So what to do if you noticed more than 5 symptoms listed above? If this is someone you know, a simple hug would not be enough but definitely would help. For someone in this position, kind words of encouragement go a long way but yet have to be properly balanced by guidance towards specific small steps that would demonstrate quick wins – this would help them to feel more confident and learn that something can be done. It is not something that can be fixed at once, it requires a process to get someone back on course that may take weeks or even months.
If you think you might be in this situation yourself, first of all know that there is no power greater than the power of human will. Throughout history, people have done the impossible, over and over again. It is impossible to beat the person who never gives up. Almost every celebrity, millionaire or successful person we are aware of today had a low point of their life when nothing was right and no one believed in them. What sets them apart is that they simply kept pushing forward and believed in themselves. Many of us go through bad parts of their lives but nothing is permanent. This shall pass too. Just keep taking small steps and eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. There will also be a second post that will focus more on how to leave this state.