12 things to do when there’s nothing you can do

how to treat anxiety

It’s dawned on many who endure a chronic emotional/mental disorder: “My circumstances aren’t going to get much better.” That’s hard insight. Still, there must be something they can do when there’s seemingly nothing. Right? Being in that position, I believe there is…

It’s hit home. Our friend has been dealing with panic disorder and agoraphobia for twenty years. She’s gained insight into the fact that it isn’t going away – and she isn’t going to get appreciably better. She believes there’s nothing she can do, and that angers and saddens her. Maybe she’ll read this article. 

The insight threshold

Well, I crossed the same insight threshold a handful of years ago. Given I’d been dealing with mood and anxiety issues for some forty years at the time, I’m surprised it took me that long. So reality is, not only are my emotional/mental circumstances not going away, they aren’t likely to get a whole lot better.

Okay, that’s the way it goes. I’ve accepted it.

Certainly our friend and I aren’t the only ones. Actually, I feel fortunate when I think about folks wrestling with, say, treatment-resistant depression. Too many have had to try second, third, and fourth-line interventions – including med cocktails, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and deep brain stimulation – and still haven’t found much in the way of relief.

It’s brutally unjust, but life can sure as heck go that way.

12 things to do when there’s nothing you can do

how to live with depression

“I’ll always have depressive episodes, but there will always be things I can do.”

“I’m not going to get better” insight can be very difficult to absorb. Thing is though, if we’re consistently open and honest with ourselves – if it’s a fit – sooner or later it’s bound to hit home. I mean, reality evolves. And not only is trying to push it aside going to fail, it’ll severely gum us up.

Anyway, the bottom-line on this side of the fence is I’m not ready to check-out. And believe me, I’ve given it a thorough review. That being the case, I came up with quite a few things to do about the fact that there’s nothing – supposedly – I can do about my emotional/mental circumstances.

I’d like to share twelve with you…

  1. Know everything there is to know about your disorder and stay current. How it presents in you and others, what makes it easier to tolerate, what makes it more difficult, available interventions: they’re all need-to-knows.
  2. Take advantage of every legitimate relief option available.
  3. Accept the chronic – incurable – nature of your disorder.
  4. Appreciate beauty and peace whenever they make the scene – and for however long.
  5. Adjust your world and life-view, as well as useless expectations.
  6. Work through disappointment, frustration, and anger.
  7. Establish and nurture an active relationship with a power greater than yourself.
  8. Communicate with, and draw strength from, that power throughout each day.
  9. Associate and share with people who are capable of understanding and accepting your circumstances.
  10. Share what you’ve learned about yourself and life – your gifts – with others.
  11. Come to grips, and be at peace, with your mortality.
  12. Discover and develop the meaning of your life. Make it your personal code and guide.

How ’bout a bonus #13: always hold onto hope.

Think, feel, and act carefully

No doubt about it, insight and its generated realities can be hard. And if you’ve crossed the “I’m not going to get better” threshold with your emotional/mental circumstances, nobody knows that better than you.

As disturbing as it may be – at first – I’m all in when it comes to hard insight. In fact, I recommend it. But are you going to be willing to believe there are still things you can do when there’s supposedly nothing?

Seems to me the answer to that question will set the tone for the rest of your life. Think, feel, and act carefully.

Hey, if you’re up for reading more mood and anxiety disorder-related articles, I know where you can find hundreds. Yep, peruse those Chipur titles.