Sometimes we just want to lie down on the floor and never get up again. At times, it feels like life is simply too much to cope with and our poor bodies and brains can bear it no longer. This is particularly true when we have an ongoing issue.
Whether you have a mental health problem, an illness, an addiction, or a life filled with stress, it's sometimes tempting to say "I can't go on anymore. It's all too much."
So how do you deal with feeling overwhelmed and over-burdened and feeling like you can not cope?
Break Things Down
Instead of breaking down yourself, break things down into smaller, easier chunks. Instead of thinking, "How will I get through the rest of the week/year/my life like this?", consider what you need to do to manage today. Do you need a bit of distraction, someone to talk to, a small step forward or extra time under the duvet? Focus only on the next right thing, rather than putting pressure on yourself. Things may not feel as difficult as they do now in a few weeks or a years' time. On the other hand, they may. The truth is, you don't know, so just deal with the present moment.
Stop Adding To The Story
What many of us are doing when we get to the end of our rope is adding onto our own miseries by making up stories about our own suffering. If we're ill, we think things like. "I'm ill and no good to anyone" or "I'm ill and no-one understands" or "I've got an appointment, but I know my Doctor will be useless." Unless you absolutely know things for 100% certain, please don't add to your distress by adding in that extra 'and'. What you say to yourself really affects how you feel. "I'm ill." and "I've got an appointment" will do just fine.
Have Compassion For Yourself
A lot of the extra stress that takes us to breaking point comes from our own minds. We tell ourselves, "I should be coping better!" or "I should know what to do here. I should be able to handle this!" Beating yourself up when you're going through a hard time may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Instead, say to yourself "This is hard." Understand that you have a right to feel floored at certain times. Acknowledge and care for your painful feelings rather than telling yourself off for having them.
Know That You're Stronger Than You Think
The very act of saying "it's too much" just shows that you have already successfully borne a lot of struggles. You may think that in one more day or minute it may all collapse, but think back to some tough times you got through before and see how you survived them. Human beings are survival machines. The fact that you're reading this shows that you're trying to find extra tools to cope, and that you will carry on doing so and will be able to meet whatever burden you face.
Feel For and Care For The World
Whenever we suffer, we are never alone. There are people going through hardships and pain all over the world, and we can connect to all these people and see that our own suffering is just part of life as it is at the moment for many people. Doing the Buddhist Practice of Tonglen can help. Essentially, you 'breathe in' all the world's suffering for a moment (including your own) and hold it with compassion, then breathe out all the kindness and compassion you have in your soul and send it to everyone who is suffering (including you). If it feels too much to hold everyone's pain, you can first breathe in all the strength and courage the world has to offer, and then breathe out all the stress you feel in your body. Make the exhale longer than the inhale to calm your body while you do this. Knowing that you're not alone and making an effort to send good vibes to everyone who is suffering can give you a warm boost to help you feel better.
by Beth Burgess, Therapist and author of The Recovery Formula, The Happy Addict, and What Is Self-Esteem?