Encouraging Advice for When You're Struggling

A pep talk for when you're having a hard time

I know you're having a hard time right now. You're not feeling so great, mentally, physically, or overall. You're wishing this time would pass, that things would be back to normal (whatever that is). You're wishing for more ease, wishing this wasn't your reality at the moment. You're hurting.

I want you to know that I hear you, I see you, and I'm so sorry you're having a tough time right now. As much as I want to take away your pain, sadly I can't. But I can be here with you in your hard time and I can remind you of some things you may be struggling to remember from inside this place you're in.

I can remind you that even though you're having a tough time right now, it probably won't always be this way. How do I know this? Well, you're right in that I don't have a crystal ball and I can't make promises or guaranteed predictions about your future, but here's what I know: the only constant in life changes. And while change is hard sometimes, it's good news at other times because it also means that this tough time you're going through may not always feel this bad.

It may not always look this way. This experience will likely shift, and you will feel different. Probably better. Or, at least, perhaps this time will be easier to cope with. I know it can be hard to remember when you're struggling, but can you remember all those other times in your life when you also didn't think you'd make it through those tough times?

Remember back to those times in your life when you honestly didn't know how you would get through them, to those other Dark Nights of the Soul you've been through. Remember those times? Remember how you had no idea how you'd make it through that time and back into a place where life felt good or where you felt happy?

But you did make it through that time, didn't you? You kept putting one foot in front of the other, you kept breathing, you kept eating, hydrating, sleeping, going to work, taking all those baby steps. And you got through it, didn't you? You were resourceful. You were persistent. You know what it's like to go through a hard time.

So remember this: You've been through hard times before and you know how to get through them. Can that provide any comfort or reassurance to you now that you find yourself in a hard time again? Do you remember what it was that helped you get through that last very hard time? Was it medical help? Therapy? Friends? Time? Long, body-shaking cries sitting at the bottom of your shower?

Whatever it was that helped, could you imagine doing it again to help you out now? And speaking of which, what is it that you need and want right now? What would feel helpful and supportive?

Who can you turn to for support? You deserve support and there are skillful, compassionate people out there who want to help you. Do you need to get in touch with your doctor? Do you need to call your boss and take a sick day? Do you need to book a session with a therapist? Do you need to find a support group? Make a list of the people you can turn to for support in this time.

I know it may feel scary right now and you may be imagining you're the only one who's dealing with this or who has ever felt this way, but the truth is, you're probably not. Being human is such a hard, painful, scary, exhausting, depleting thing sometimes and while I honestly don't think we as a society talk about that enough, being human IS hard and many, many people are probably struggling and suffering right along there with you. You may not ever meet them, but maybe if you do need support and companionship in your tough time right now, could you imagine seeking out stories of folks who have been through what you're going through?

Google is amazing for making the world feel smaller and I'm guessing there's someone else out there with a story who's been through what you're going through.

I don't know if this is the case for you, but often when I'm going through a really tough time I can tend to catastrophize, to imagine the worst. And that only makes the time I'm going through that much harder.

Is there any way you could be easier on yourself or challenge your thinking right now? Any way you could use your thoughts to comfort yourself instead of scare yourself? And look: I'm not saying don't be realistic about what's going on for you – reach out for medical or psychiatric help if you need it, let your loved ones know what's going on for you – but also can you try and breathe, to still yourself, to realize that often the worst-case scenarios don't usually come to pass?

I know it's probably hard to hear me say that and you may not believe me from inside the place you're in. But let me hold that hope for you. Let me have faith for you. You're so strong. So resilient. So capable of moving through tough times and tolerating hard feelings. You may not feel strong, or resilient, or capable right now, but that's okay. I believe in you.

Remember, you come from a long line of people who have survived and carved out a life for themselves and who probably also went through very hard times. You have the hands and legacy of your ancestors on your back. You have your lungs that keep breathing and your heart that keeps pumping with no conscious effort on your part. You know how to get through, to put one foot in front of the other.

I believe in you. I believe that this tough time you're going through right now will pass and if you're struggling right now, that's okay. You get to be sad. You get to be scared. You get to be overwhelmed. You get to feel whatever it is you're feeling. All of your feelings are valid.

Like I said before, I wish I could take away this pain, this discomfort, wave a magic wand, and help this tough time you're going through be done and over with. But, unfortunately, I can't do that. But what I can do is be with you here in it. I can speak these words over and over to you until you feel comforted and reassured in some small way. I can be with you in it. In whatever it is you're going through. And I can have faith that you will get through this. I believe in you.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other and reach out for support if you need it. You're so worth it. And if you would like even more resources and suggestions to support your mental health and help you get through this hard time, I invite you to explore the ways you can work with me personally and/or utilize one of my e-books or online products to support you in your journey.

After coming from and then healing her own extensive relational trauma background, Annie became a licensed psychotherapist - specifically a trauma therapist who specializes in relational trauma recovery - and, in addition to her clinical work with clients, she also founded and runs a boutique, trauma-informed therapy center in Berkeley ( where she oversees a staff of 20 clinicians and 5 operations staff who deliver top-notch clinical care to clients across California and Florida.

Moreover, she's a published mental health writer with over 200+ essays on her personal blog ( centered around recovering from childhood trauma. Annie's writing and opinions have been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, NBC, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post, to name but a few.