What does it mean to feel stuck?
When you are feeling stuck you may believe that you have no choice, you feel trapped in a situation where you have very little or no control of. You may feel that your life is dictated and decided by the ones around you (i.e. boss, partner, parents/family, government, society pressures, teachers etc.) and you don’t know how to change or whether there is a way to change this situation which becomes more and more unbearable.
When you feel stuck?
You may feel stuck in a relationship you are unhappy in or where you are abused and you don’t know how to get out. Or you may feel stuck in a job you don’t like and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach every time you get ready to go to work. But you need the money, so you reluctantly go, feeling and thinking there’s no other way. Or you may feel stuck in a sad and lonely place as you learned from your experiences when you got hurt that you have to keep everyone at arm’s length to protect yourself. So you’ve built invisible walls around you so no one can ever hurt you again. But they became your prison as they don’t only keep out the potential hurt, they also keep out the joy and love. And you got so used to being in that place, that maybe you forgot you are the one who has the key. So you are left feeling frustrated, stuck, hopeless and deeply depressed.
What doesn’t help? Why is this happening?
First, it helps that you recognise and understand where you are, as well as what your options are. Feeling stuck has at its base a deep fear, combined with unhelpful beliefs you learned along the way. For example, if you feel stuck in a job, you may believe that you won’t be able to get another job, that it’s too late to change, that there nothing else better out there anyway. When the thought of change crosses your mind, you consider all the negative consequences, but diminish the consequences of staying in a job that makes you so unhappy and forget to also consider all the good things that might come out of it. You may think in absolutes, it’s all or nothing.
Something similar can happen when you feel stuck in a relationship, with fears such as ‘What if no one else will like me?’, ‘what if people will judge me?’ etc. These fears add to unhelpful beliefs which often we hold without being aware of it, as we automatically tend to think these thought and beliefs are true without ever questioning them. So you may hold beliefs such as ‘I’m not … enough’, ‘It is always all my/ their fault’, ‘It will never get better, ‘I can’t do anything about it’ etc. These contribute to not only avoiding change and feeling stuck, but also to not even seeing change as an option.
How can counselling help you when you are feeling stuck?
Counselling when feeling stuck can help you become aware of such unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns and challenge them. Becoming aware of them, means you can question and change them with beliefs which can help you. Counselling can help you identify that bias which takes away any other possibilities. It provides an environment where you feel safe to look within to find alternatives which work for you, find ways to change and to finally be happy.
Counselling can also help explore and overcome those fears which may keep you a prisoner, sometimes within those invisible walls of your own making. Whereas fear is essential for survival, excessive fear acts as incarcerator. In counselling you learn to reassess your coping mechanisms and update them in order to change your life in the direction you want.
So if you are feeling stuck, especially if you have been for a while, and you keep procrastinating making the important decisions in your life which would free you from that stuckness, start by asking yourself whether the pain of making the decision and the consequences of acting on that decision would hurt more than the pain of continuing to live like that, stuck in an unhappy place every day.
Take a stance, don’t postpone your happiness anymore. Get the help you need to start a new path, an exciting and happier one. Talking to a professional counsellor and psychotherapist can help you find the inner strength you need to take the decisions and actions necessary to set yourself free.
If you liked reading this article and you may think I may be the counsellor for you, you can contact me to book a therapy appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.