What To Do When It All Feels Like Too Much And You Want To Give Up

Updated April 11, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Many people experience mental health challenges that can leave them feeling completely overwhelmed to the point that they are ready to give up on life. While these emotions often isolate you and make it feel like there's no hope or point in treatment, it can be crucial to remember that it won’t last forever, and help is available. Read on to explore how to recognize when your mental health shows warning signs you should be concerned about, continuing when you want to give up on life, and how therapy can help you find healthy ways to control your emotions to manage stressful or harmful feelings. 

Do you want to give up on life because it’s all too much?

Where do you start when feeling overwhelmed and hopeless?

If your emotional state deteriorates far enough, you may feel so overwhelmed and hopeless that you can't see an end in sight. You may not know where to start because there doesn't seem to be a point in trying anything. Nothing you've done helps, and things seem to get progressively worse with time. You may be experiencing the disruptive symptoms of a mental health condition, and despite what you believe at the moment, psychological treatment is clinically proven to help approximately 75% of the people who try it.

Identify what you’re feeling

While your emotions may seem like a confusing whirlwind of feelings, try to examine the thoughts and impulses going through your mind and put a name to them. Are you sad? Do you feel angry or guilty? Are you overwhelmed because you can’t make decisions? Even if you don't know what's causing the problem, it can help to comprehend what the problem is and where you're deviating from the familiar behavior you understand. 

Evaluate whether you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition

Mental disorders can dramatically influence how you think, act, and feel. You may experience it as a loss of interest and desire to continue living, but it could be the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental health condition or untreated mental illness making you feel this way. 

Mental health conditions that can affect your mood and behavior

Mood disorders

Conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Depression, or other depressive disorders can often make people feel sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed.

Personality disorders

People with mental illnesses like borderline personality disorders are often at significantly higher risk for depression and suicidal ideation. 

Mental health risk factors

While an exact cause isn't known, researchers believe a complex interaction of biological factors like genetics and individual neurochemistry and environmental factors such as past experiences, personality, emotional awareness, and support cause mental health conditions.

Recognizing the symptoms of depression

The three symptoms of depression include:

  • Physical—People with a depressive disorder may experience physical symptoms such as dramatic changes to sleep or eating habits, weight loss or gain, slowed speech or movements, loss of energy, persistent fatigue, difficulty sitting still, pacing, muscle tension, or unexplained physical pain.
  • Emotional—Many living with depression experience overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, a consistently depressed mood, invasive thoughts of worthlessness or guilt, frequent crying, and agitation.
  • Psychological—Depression can cause psychological symptoms such as trouble concentrating, difficulty making decisions, fixation on past failures, challenges thinking critically or solving problems, and intrusive thoughts of death or suicide.  

Recognizing the symptoms suicidal thoughts or actions

Symptoms include:

  • Frequently talking about lingering guilt and shame, feeling like a burden to others, and wanting to die.
  • Feeling hopeless, empty, stuck or trapped, or as if you have no reason to live
  • Experiencing extreme bouts of sadness, anger, anxiousness, or agitation
  • Unbearable emotional pain or physical pain that leaves you feeling you can’t manage 
  • Making a plan or researching various ways to die by suicide
  • Social withdrawal from friends and family, saying goodbye, or giving away treasured possessions
  • Showing an increasing disregard for life with dangerous activities
  • Extreme mood swings

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.

One of the factors influencing your emotional state may be a decrease or inability to take an interest in or pleasure from things you used to love and enjoy. It is called anhedonia and is considered a fundamental feature of numerous psychiatric disorders and maladaptive behaviors

How to manage when you’re overwhelmed and hopeless 

Life generally makes everyone feel overwhelmed occasionally, but if those feelings persist for an extended period, you could be left exhausted and drained physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Stop, take a deep breath, and calm yourself

Deep breathing exercises can help calm your stress response. Engage the diaphragm as you breathe, inhaling through your nose for a count of five seconds before exhaling through your mouth for five seconds. 


When you’re not mentally well, even making a list of the tasks you need to complete can be overwhelming, but it will be worth the effort when it allows you to organize the stressors bothering you. Once you have a list, prioritize items in order of importance. As you work, cross off things you can say “No” to or delegate to someone else. It may also help to identify which tasks cause the bulk of your distress and ask for help or tackle those first. 

“Ask yourself the question, ‘What one or two things, if taken off my plate would alleviate 80% of the stress that I feel right now?’ While you may still be responsible for these items and cannot actually take them off your plate, this question can still help you identify a significant source of your stress. If it’s a big project that’s almost done, finish it. Or, if it’s the sheer size of the task or project that is overwhelming you, break it down into more manageable components, ask for additional resources, or renegotiate the deadline if you are able—or all of the above.” —  Harvard Business Review

Do you want to give up on life because it’s all too much?

Lean on your support network

When you're mired in depression and hopelessness, reaching out and asking for help can be hard. If you aren't comfortable communicating your feelings with your friends and family, you may benefit from adding a therapist to your support network. With the advancement of teletherapy practices, you can speak with a professional through versatile methods that fit your needs and availability, like telephone, video call, or asynchronous online chat. 

Focus on self-care

Be kind to yourself. You are responsible for safeguarding your mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being. Sometimes, the changes can be subtle, and you may not notice a problem until it’s already a significant disruption to your life. However, once you know something’s wrong, you can choose to focus on self-care and make yourself the priority. If you have children, family, work, or other responsibilities, it may be difficult to justify spending the time and effort on yourself—especially if your mind tells you won’t work anyway. Try shifting your perspective; you can do your job better or care for your family more effectively when you're healthy. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them. Eat a balanced diet, practice healthy sleep hygiene, and exercise regularly, in addition to the little things that make you feel happy and whole. 

How therapy can help you keep going when you want to give up

Feeling like you can’t care about anything or that your life isn’t worth living is not a healthy emotional state and indicates a need for the support and guidance of a mental health professional. Consider working with a licensed therapist online through a virtual teletherapy platform like Regain. Therapy can help you identify and address the underlying issues causing your adverse feelings, develop practical coping skills to help you manage your stressor and emotional reactions, and the emotional intelligence, awareness, and literacy to recognize, comprehend, and express your feelings. Parents or guardians seeking emotional support for their kids through online therapy for kids aged 12 to 19 can contact TeenCounseling. 

Sometimes your emotional state can make it challenging to put forth the effort required for psychological treatment. Recent studies show that online and face-to-face therapy offer comparable outcomes, usually with a more cost-effective pricing model and shorter wait times. Teletherapy platforms also provide connection to an expansive network of mental healthcare providers, making it more likely that you’ll connect with a qualified therapist who makes you feel comfortable and fits your personality and therapeutic needs well. 


Certain situations and mental health conditions can leave you feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, or emotionally numb. The information provided in this article offers insight into strategies to keep going when you feel like giving up on life and how therapy can help you work through emotional problems to find a healthy balance and develop practical coping skills. 

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