8 Signs That You Are Stuck
The reason I started this blog was to share my experiences with loss, grief, and ultimately - the feeling of being stuck. It all began two years ago, when my mother died, and it took me a long time to first realize that I was stuck and then how to free myself from it. The same things I was doing before she died simply didn’t work anymore. I struggled to find happiness in anything. My mind was constantly all over the place. I was only going through the motions.
My hope, through these posts, is to help people get outside their pain in order to live a healthier and happier life. This post is for those who are stuck, those who are grieving, those who are not happy with where they are, those who need a change in their lives.
I know how difficult it is to find the motivation to change. People do not change until they are in enough pain. And even more so, it is so difficult to fight an invisible obstacle. The following list gives you some insight into what I was feeling at the time I felt stuck and exactly how those things were manifesting themselves in my life. They may resonate with you too.
1. Some day in the future is always “better”.
Your happiness is conditional and based solely on something that hasn’t even happened yet. I used to drag myself through the week with only the weekend to look forward to. Things will be better on the weekend, I would tell myself. But then when the weekend came, I longed to be working again. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to be at work, but I found that I didn’t have any purpose on the weekends.
2. You have no goals in sight.
I didn’t even know what I was doing next Tuesday let alone six months from now, a year from now, five years from now. I had nothing to work towards making every effort seem pointless.
3. You’ve stopped taking care of yourself.
And I don’t mean in the obvious ways, like your appearance. I wasn’t sleeping at all. Some of the deprivation was natural to the situation, but most of it was intentional. I would work long shifts and then go out all night. Sometimes I would play a sport or exercise for an unreasonable amount of time. I downed so much caffeine just to stay awake. Coffee wasn’t cutting it so I added 4-hour energy drinks. I knew how unhealthy they were but I kept drinking them. Aches and pains started. Oftentimes my heart was racing. My hair was falling out. My skin looked pale. My body was clearly telling me to slow down, but I refused. I knew there was something I wasn’t facing but this was the better alternative.
4. You don’t look forward to anything
You just want to get through whatever it is that you are doing. This one particularly hurt me. I didn’t want to dread events. I loved my friends and I loved my family. But sometimes I had a hard time mustering the energy to simply show up.
5. Loss of creativity
I found that I lost interest in all the creative outlets that I used to have. I didn’t take any photos, I didn’t paint anymore, I didn’t read anymore, I didn’t draw anymore – all the things I had enjoyed so much before.
6. Free time is wasted or you’re too tired to do anything when you have it.
You’re lethargic and encumbered by malaise. Looking back at this time period, I have no idea what I was actually doing but I can ensure you that it wasn’t anything productive.
7. You are indecisive
I was leaving. I was staying in Columbus. I was going to the party. I wasn’t going to the party. I'll be at dinner. I wasn’t coming to dinner. I had no direction. I lost my mother, my North Star, the one I always bounced all my ideas and plans off. I couldn’t make a decision without second guessing it or feeling guilty about it. I became so confused with any decision I was facing that I became paralyzed in all decision making.
8. You feel trapped
Wherever you are, you don’t want to be. Your mind is always elsewhere and its further exacerbated by the indecision to make any change.
I can pinpoint my exact breaking point to a particular moment that I can still recall with clarity. It’s quite ludicrous really – but it was all because of an elevator. I claim no phobias of elevators and it wasn’t the physical proximity that made me feel trapped. I was so, so tired that I could barely focus. Maybe it was just the sleep deprivation rearing its ugly head. But when the elevator doors closed, the strangest thing happened in my mind. It was equal parts frustration and a light bulb going off in my head. I couldn’t stare at those same walls anymore and I needed to make a change.
What insight that I have managed to gain in the last two years I wanted to share. It is not a perfect list, it isn’t all-inclusive, but if some of these resonate with you, perhaps a change is vital. You don’t necessarily have to lose someone in order to lose your footing in life. If it slowly feels like the colors of your life are fading, seek the change. Change is outside – It may be outside your front door. It may be outside your comfort zone. It may be outside your country. It may be outside your own mind, but regardless, it is likely to be “outside”.
*Look out for next week’s post where I share ways to get unstuck.
Malinda Meadows is an Ohio native who was letting grief blanket her life.
She found healing through traveling and nature. She discovered changes of location led to changes in her mindset. It helped her process grief and forge a new path with greater optimism and happiness. Realizing the benefit of deliberate change, she now leads a more balanced and mindful life inspired by simple changes.
She blogs regularly at malindainthesnow.com to help others find change, however small, outside their box in order to live a happier, healthier life.