11 “Yes you can’s” when you’re sure you can’t

by | Oct 18, 2023

In tears, head in her hands, she was laying it all out. Her failing marriage, troubled son, depression, anxiety – it was all too much to bear. She’d been fighting the good fight, but reached her limit.

Accept the reality of life’s unavoidable suffering – and be worthy of it.

“I’m totally collapsing, Bill. I can’t take it anymore.” I looked her square in the eyes and calmly said, “Yes you can.” And we moved on from there.


Tired and dysfunctional relationships, family members and friends in crisis, 24/7 troubling news – God only knows what else. And on top of it all, symptoms. Is it any wonder we find ourselves believing (as in perception) we’re on the very brink of collapse? The harsh bottom-line is the whirlwind is what we make of it. After all, we had a hand in creating it.

Yes you can

“Okay, I decided to go out. But you seriously believe I can hold on ‘til this dies down?”

I know we’re all built differently, with beaker sizes all over the board. But rarely (as in <1%) have I worked with someone in the midst of hell that I didn’t believe had the internal resources to emerge.

Sure, I have a clinical background. However, first and foremost, I’m a mood and anxiety disorder veteran. I’ve been on the verge of what I believed to be collapse numerous times over a handful of decades. I know the horror and hopelessness of anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, derealization, depersonalization, intrusive thoughts, depression, elevated mood, and substance dependence.

As many times as I thought my goose was cooked – declaring “I can’t” – it never happened. Actually, I had too much invested in my misery to bail. I mean, how could I continue to beat myself to a pulp if I perished (or got better)? But then it was time to survive for the best of reasons.

11 “Yes you can’s”

What I’m about to share didn’t come from a textbook or conference. I wouldn’t do that to you. It comes from my heart, based upon life experience. When you find yourself standing at the threshold of what you think is total collapse – “I can’t” – turn to the following…

  1. Shield yourself from the whirlwind, take a few abdominal breaths, and open even a tiny space in your mind for perspective.
  2. Make a short list – mental or otherwise – of what’s truly going on.
  3. Come to grips with your history of inaccurate/distorted thinking, which has always led to troublesome emotions and behavior.
  4. Accept the reality of life’s unavoidable suffering – and be worthy of it. It may come in different flavors, but all of us are called to endure pain.
  5. Take your first steps toward changing your patterns of thought. Start with #3 and move on to the fact that your emotional and mental reserves are deeper than you believe.
  6. Think about times in the past when you were at the very same place and made it out. And while you’re at it, think about the fact that you’re, indeed, at the very same place.
  7. Make a list of evidence that you’re a survivor.
  8. Approach from a different angle. Try to prove to yourself you’re unable to emerge.
  9. Think about the lessons to be learned in your present situation. And be thankful you have the opportunity to change and grow.
  10. Be defiant. Are you really going to let your circumstances beat you?
  11. While you’re taking care of biz, make sure your typically assaulting inner voice is repeating, “Yes I can.”

What do you think? I’m betting you can come up with more.

“Yes you can”

Again, I know the hell of despair and believing emotional, mental, and physical collapse are at hand. I’m 100% with you and feel your pain and hopelessness. But in the midst of seemingly 10 million “I can’t take it anymore’s” I blindly chose to keep bouncing back.

And here I am, so many years later. That’s why I can confidently assure you – “Yes you can.” Interested in more Chipur mood and anxiety info and inspiration articles? Scan the titles.

Notify of

Inline feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to content