According to You It’s Pretty Much Over. But I’ll Toss You 10 “Yes You Can’s.” Catch!


In tears, running his fingers through his hair, he was laying it all out. His failing marriage, troubled son, depression, and anxiety – it was all too much to bear. “Bill, I’m totally collapsing. I can’t make it this time around!”

I looked him square in the eye and calmly said, “Yes you can.” And we moved-on from there…

Tired and dysfunctional relationships, family members and friends in crisis, the economy, 24/7 troubling news broadcasts, a never-ending winter – God only knows what else. And on top of it all, your symptoms.

Is it any wonder you find yourself believing (as in perception) you’re on the very brink of collapse?

No surprise – the whirlwind is what you make of it (after all, you made it). Oh, I know we’re all built differently, with tolerances 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 interpersonal resources to emerge.

Okay, I’m a licensed counselor. But first and foremost I’m a mood and anxiety veteran. I’ve been on the verge of what I believed to be collapse numerous times over several decades.

I know the horror and hopelessness of – you name it – panic, anxiety, derealization, depersonalization, agoraphobia, intrusive thoughts, depression, elevated mood, and alcoholism.

As many times as I thought my goose was cooked, 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?

But then it was time to survive for the best of reasons…

10 “Yes You Can’s!”

What I’m about to offer didn’t spew forth from a shrink textbook or a counseling conference. I wouldn’t do that to you. What you’re about to read comes from my heart, based upon my life experience.

When you find yourself standing at the threshold of what you think is total collapse, come back to the following (dang, print this)…

  1. Put the whirlwind on hold. Step back, take a few deep breaths – somehow divert – and open even a tiny space 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 yours. 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. Come on, you know you have been – and made it out.
  7. Grab a pad and pencil and jot down as many pieces of personal history survival-proof as you can.
  8. From a different angle, try to prove to yourself you’re unable to emerge (good luck).
  9. Meditate upon the lessons to be learned in your present situation. And be thankful you have the opportunity to grow.
  10. Get angry! Come on, are you going to let your circumstances beat you? Bam!

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, darkness, 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 then it happened – I emerged and flew skyward like a butterfly.

Is it any wonder I can calmly reassure you – “Yes you can.”

Hey, speaking of “Yes you can.” Check-out some Chipur titles, k? Yummy, and good for you…

  • Beth Wilson March 4, 2014, 11:17 pm

    I’ll ask you, Bill, what an old friend used to say to me. Have you been reading my mail again? I love the truth you speak/write as well as the assurance that you’re not flippantly dashing off 10 ditties without significant road-testing of your own. Thank you for your transparency. I AM printing out the list of 10 right now, a copy for me and one for my sweetie, who lost a beloved job a few months back and struggles to right-size. You’re a blessing, dear Bill!

    • chipur March 5, 2014, 8:52 am

      Well, Beth, I have been known to snoop around a bit – but your mail? Ah, no. The transparency issue – never had a problem with it. In fact, I’ve always believed it to be my responsibility to share openly re my past. I mean, if one has to have endured such fun it’s gotta’ count for something (for others), in addition to one’s own growth. Pleased you found the piece worthy of printing and sharing. Means a lot. You take are of yourself, Beth…

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk March 4, 2014, 11:59 pm

    Helpful list of “Yes You Can’s!”, Bill. These are definitely a keeper and I too will print them out. We all get into the dumps at some point in our life and it is important to have inspiration and encouragement to get up and try again. Thanks!

    • chipur March 5, 2014, 8:54 am

      Thanks for your visit and comment, Cathy. Glad you feel as though it’s “keeper” material. We can’t have enough healthy arrows in our quivers, right? You bet – get up, dust off, and try once more. Peace!

  • Patricia Miller March 5, 2014, 1:01 pm

    LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!! Thank you for something to cling to, to keep, to share, to print and glue into the little notebook I keep in my purse, to copy and paste into the app I keep on my phone of “emergency” uplifting items. YES, this hits on all sides of the issue of despair and the thinking that rallies around in the “Argh, this is the BIG ONE,” moments. You continue to convey hope for those struggling to find it, and I’m so grateful.

    • chipur March 5, 2014, 1:52 pm

      Well, such enthusiasm. Glad you’re feelin’ it. Even more glad you’ll use the piece as a go-to in times of need. We can become so overwhelmed with the “I can’ts,” and we need to know that just isn’t the case. As always, Patricia, thanks for your visit and contribution…

  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe March 5, 2014, 8:56 pm

    Yes you can… I am always in awe of your gift for sharing help from your heart having been there, done that – this is no exception. What a fantastic list and if someone can grab just one piece – it may be the split second they need to give pause. Thank you for the gifts you give every time your write (and how fortunate your clients must feel)…

    • chipur March 5, 2014, 9:21 pm

      Aw, Lisa – you do my heart tons of good. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. We’re all in this effort together, aren’t we? It’s about sharing, learning, and healing – and you bring so much to your readers and audiences. Peace, k?

  • Leslie Ferris March 5, 2014, 11:06 pm

    All good of course, but I really love number 4 as if resonates with me for sure. When I came to that realization, that we all were all called to endure some pain and that what I was going through was just ‘my’ pain – I just thought oooohhhh Okay. And somehow that helped a little. And that someday knowing that I would use that pain in some constructive way was of further help. You have a lot of deep insights there Bill, and I sure do hope you keep sharing gems like this one!

    • chipur March 6, 2014, 11:13 am

      I’ll do my best to keep the gems coming, Leslie. Thank you for your visit, comment, and encouragement. Means tons. Speaking of pain/suffering. Here’s a link to an article I posted on just that. Check it out

  • Dr. Herby Bell March 10, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Dr. Papillon,

    What a beautiful list–and true-to-life run up to it. Somehow I think of hospice workers who say hospice is not about dying, but about living right now…and now. Something about this sage advice reminded me that none of us get out alive, (as we become really ready to pass) and these present circumstances, whatever they may be, will pass if we give ourselves access to the wisdom in your list.

    Failing well and succeeding well–two sides of the same coin. Your list will be in my ever thickening file of Bill White real life resources. Thank you, Bill for all of the heart you put into these posts and your work.

    • chipur March 10, 2014, 7:13 pm

      Ah, Dr. Bell, I assume. Nice to have you back and your comment is, as always, appreciated. Glad you found the article/list worthy of hanging onto. Just never know when it’ll come in handy – for you, or another. I do, indeed, put tons of heart in my posts and work. And it means a lot to me that you recognize it. That means I’m accomplishing my mission.

      Thanks, Herby – you’re a good guy…