“Hi, I can’t do this anymore. I’m hurting and life doesn’t seem to welcome me, I’d much rather die and not exist. No one cares at all about me. Nobody does, that’s not an exaggeration. I would love your help. I try to reach out to friends and family that are supposed to love me with nothing in return. Tears soak my shirt. This shit must stop, I just can’t and don’t want to do this anymore. Can you possibly persuade me? I’m open. I don’t even no why I’m here, I guess it’s a dream to believe that someone can care for me.” – Sara, 12
I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE
Have you ever said it? I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE. Have you thought it? We hear that a lot. Is this a soundtrack that repeats in your mind? It could be for any number of reasons, but if you’re saying it to yourself regularly, it may be a sign that something needs to change. Those thoughts may be like background noise in your mind, but those are powerful words. Let’s not ignore them together.
WHY ARE YOU SAYING THIS?
Maybe you feel like you just can’t stay in a certain relationship one more day, you can’t deal with your financial pressures, your family is placing unrealistic expectations upon you, your daily duties are pushing you to the edge, your emotional pain is more than you can handle, or life just sucks. Whatever it is, your emotional capacity is on overload. We all have a different capacity, or ability to manage what is going on in our lives. You may look at someone else and think, why can’t I handle what she can? Because every human being has a different capacity. You will not have the same capacity as your friends and family.
YOUR THINKING DOESN’T GET TO CONTROL YOU
If you’re reading this, you probably sense that something is not right. That’s actually a good thing because the first step in overcoming it is acknowledging it.
Sometimes we allow thoughts to run rampant in our minds. But it is important to remember that you get to choose how you think. You get to determine what you think about, but it will take some practice if you’re not used to thinking about your thoughts.
“The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon.” (Dallas Willard). I love that–it’s freedom. You do not have to allow every thought that enters your mind to have its way with you. In fact you shouldn’t. You get to decide. Where will you set your mind and keep on setting it?
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO HELP
1. Pay attention to your thoughts and stop that particular thought in its tracks.
I have a child who needs to be on an oxygen concentrator overnight. The swishing hum of the machine has become soothing background noise. So much so, that I don’t even hear it anymore. Every morning, while she does one of her chest percussion therapies, I do Pilates on a mat next to her bed. (Too much info? I want you to know why I’m on the floor:):)). It’s often when I’m down on the floor, next to the oxygen concentrator that I realize it is still humming, an hour after I have taken the nasal cannula out of her nose. The hum of the machine is such a familiar noise to me that I don’t even hear it anymore. How have I not heard that noise and remembered to turn it off?
That reminds me of my thought life. We all have thoughts that we’ve been thinking for so long, patterns developed years ago, that we don’t even realize we are thinking them, nor do we realize they are destructive to our emotional well being. Start paying attention to the background noise in your mind. When you hear yourself say, I can’t do this anymore, just stop it. Stop in your tracks and make a decision to turn off that soundtrack starting today.
2. Replace that thought with something that is true.
OK, you might be rolling your eyes. But the truth is we can’t just stop thinking. We have to replace the destructive thought with something that is actually true. And healthy. The truth is that you can still do this. You may need to change some things but you can still do this. Instead of telling yourself you cannot do this anymore, what is something that is true and also constructive?
Here are some ideas of truths to intentionally set your mind upon. “I may be having a hard day today but tomorrow will be different.” “I am a beloved child of God. Beloved.” “I care about people.” “I am doing my best.” You can train your mind to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with constructive, true thoughts. Take a moment to write down a true thought that you will use to replace “I can’t do this anymore.” Then start practicing that discipline every day until it becomes a reflex.
3. Ask yourself, does something in my life need to change?
We all have bad days. Have you ever had a day where everything seemed overwhelming, but you woke up the next day with a whole new attitude? You felt completely different? It’s remarkable what a difference a day can make. Sometimes. But sometimes, we can go weeks with that nagging thought. If you’ve been saying, I just cannot do this anymore for several weeks, there may be something that needs to change. Ask for help. Talk to a counselor (talk online now at d2lrev.com).
Or maybe you need to get out of an abusive relationship. Make a plan to change your spending. Get help in your home. Ask someone to take one of your responsibilities off of your plate.
There are simple shifts you can make to change your stress level today. Look for ways that you can change what is pushing you beyond your capacity. If your emotional pain is more than you can handle, tell someone. Today. Don’t try handle that on your own or to keep it a secret because of shame or a fear of burdening your friends and family. You are not alone. You are not the only one. You are not a burden. So many people care about you whether you believe it or not.
4. Ask yourself what you are grateful for.
Studies show that focusing on what we are grateful for affects every area of our health, including mental health. What is one thing you are thankful for right now? Think about it. Write it down. Focus on that. Write down at least one thing a day. Every night before I lay my head on the pillow, I write down at least one thing that brought me joy during the day. What I’ve found is that as I’m going through my day, I’ll hear myself saying, that’s gonna make the list. It shifts the focus of my day from just getting things done to looking for things that bring me joy. It’s an intentional way of thinking that affects every part of our lives—physically, emotionally, spiritually.
5. Look for ways to help someone who needs it.
I think that we are made for this. Our selfish nature is to look out for ourselves and think about our own needs, but I believe part of our original design was to actually take impeccable care of each other. I’ve found that I am happiest when I’m doing that.
Ann Voskamp said it this way, “We are always lost until our heart makes its home inside of someone else. Our lives are unfulfilling if we only let our hearts fill us instead of filling other people’s broken places…fulfilling lives happen when we give our hearts to fill other people’s empty spaces.”
Take a moment. Sit in quiet an ask yourself, who has an empty space that I can help fill? Who needs me to help heal them today? I promise you there is somebody. Do you see their face? Send them a text right now and let them know you’re thinking about them.
Listen. I see you. I get it. Life just plain sucks sometimes. Some days and some seasons push us beyond what we can handle on our own. The good news is, you don’t have to do it on your own. Interrupt your soundtrack. Set your mind on something true and constructive. Do you need to reach out for help today? Is there something you can change to remove some stress? You are not alone and you can keep going. I just know it. First things first, set your mind and keep on setting it on something true and new. Remember, never be afraid to reach out for help. Maybe not everyone acts like they care, but I promise you someone does.
By Kerry D’Ortenzio, VP, Death2Life Revolution