A simple sounding phrase, but perhaps one of the most exasperating feelings in the world. It manifests in many forms - physical, mental, emotional - but the totality of it can be expressed in one single way - you want to do something, but you can’t.
Of course, others who aren’t in the same situation as you are, will tell you that there are always things you can do. Perhaps there are. Perhaps there aren’t. But when you’re feeling so annoyingly paralysed, nothing makes sense anymore. You want to keep the hope alive. Yet somehow, the helplessness keeps returning.
That’s the funny thing about life. We speed walk through it thinking we’re in control of it. That somehow we’ve got it, no matter how bad things seem at that point in time. Most of the times, we do. Other times, we distract ourselves with other things that make us feel that ‘this too will pass’. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can’t stop that feeling of helplessness that threatens to engulf you . As if you just cannot find a way out of this 2000 feet of crap that you seem to be buried under. That this gigantic asteroid size situation that is crushing your body, soul and mind will somehow be the last thing you ever experience.
Yes, it’s a terrible feeling when it happens. Distractions don’t help either, because there’s always something going on that remind you constantly about your situation/circumstance or predicament that you’re in. Movies, books, social media, friends - take your pick; something will always touch a nerve.
They say that at some point in life, all of us will find ourselves forced into a corner. And slowly the walls start to close in. Some will find it easy to get out. The decisive ones, for instance. The undecided ones - like me (and perhaps you) - will find it an excruciating experience. Past decisions whirl through your head. Your vision becomes a spinning carousel of faces from your yesterday. Restlessness takes over your soul. And you start to collapse.
And somehow this feeling of helplessness is multiplied by infinity when all of this happens to someone else. When that person is someone who you would gladly give everything away for. Yet, nothing you do can help them out at that moment. Especially when you feel partly responsible for putting them in that situation. But then, you are no more than a passive viewer of their situation. You want to reach out, flick a magic switch and somehow make it all better. Instead, it feels like your limbs are all tied up, and you’re forced to watch them go through the agony of battling their inner demons. Without being able to help.
Perhaps the only thing worse in this situation is the myriad of other feelings that come riding this wave of helplessness. Anger. Fear. Self doubt. That feeling of drowning, your limbs tired of constantly pushing against the current. That feeling when you feel you just might want to let go.
And then, somehow, somewhere on the horizon, there appears a lifeboat. Bobbing up and down against the stormy seas, egging you on to climb aboard.
Shining a little beacon, as if to say, ‘You’re almost home.’