Giving Up On Life: What It Signifies And How To Receive Support

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson
Updated December 5, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Life can involve challenges that might seem unsurpassable. You may feel worn down and unable to cope or so low that you've thought about giving up on life. Know that you're not alone in these feelings. Many people have experienced these feelings and come out resilient, fulfilled, and wanting to live. Understanding the resources available to you may help you reach this point. 

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Feeling Like Giving Up? A Professional Therapist Can Help

What Should I Do If I Am Thinking About Giving Up?

Wanting to give up can be a normal response to various life circumstances, including stress, burnout, mental illness, and fear. It can be exhausting to try to navigate the complexities of life. You may experience negative thoughts, depressive symptoms, or suicidal ideation. Perhaps you're grieving the loss of a family member, or you might be struggling with the pain of relationship issues, separation, or divorce. Many scary and traumatic things may happen to individuals that cause distress, and you're not alone. 

If you want to give up, reach out to loved ones and tell them you need help. If you're unhappy, it can be difficult to ask for help, but your support system can be a healthy resource. Talk to someone close to you and let them know you need help. In addition to reaching out to your support network, seek the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. If you don't have a support system, a mental health professional can provide support and help you find a chosen family

Individuals who struggle to find joy in life may face anhedonia, which describes one's inability to experience pleasure. This syndrome can be treated through therapy, as can other depressive symptoms, various mental health conditions, and stress. 

Signs You Want To Give Up 

There's a misconception that giving up on life means a person wants to die. However, this statement is not necessarily true. People who are tempted to do so may crave help, direction, healing, a cause for which to live, or an intervention to suit their needs. 

Acknowledging your thoughts can be an avenue to better understand why you sense the urge to give up. You may have thoughts like:

  • Why should I live?
  • I have nothing to live for anymore.
  • I'm tired of life.
  • I don't care about anything.
  • What's the point?

If you're experiencing these thoughts, reach out for support from a professional. You can call the 988 Lifeline at the beginning of this article or call 211 for resources in your area. 

Why Do People Give Up On Life? 

Below are a few reasons someone might give up on life and how these challenges can impact mental health. 

Financial Insecurity 

Individuals facing financial insecurity may want to give up on life due to a sense of hopelessness or burnout from working. Financial problems can take a toll on an individual's mental health. Finances are often at the top of the list of topics people focus on in relationships and daily life and can cause stress and lead to worsening symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Relationship Conflict

Difficult breakups or a divorce can cause significant sadness and emotional despair. While some resort to harmful patterns, like increased substance use and impulsive behavior, breakups may also bring about or worsen depression symptoms. Knowing that these impacts are often short-term may be beneficial. You can also reach out for guidance from a grief and loss counselor.

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.

Death Of A Loved One

Some people find it more challenging to get back to being themselves and return to routines after the death of a loved one. Grief can cause depression and isolation. If you're grieving someone, consider contacting a grief center in your area. Grief support groups may help you connect with others experiencing similar losses.

Loneliness

While some people prefer being alone, others might struggle to cope with loneliness or face a level of loneliness and isolation that causes mental health conditions. Loneliness is correlated with depression and anxiety disorders, which can increase isolation. In addition, studies show that humans need social interaction to be healthy, so even introverts may benefit from spending time with friends and family. 

Mental Health Conditions

Feelings of hopelessness may indicate a mental health condition, including depression. Other symptoms of major depressive disorder include the following:

  • Persistent sadness or emptiness
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns 
  • Suicidal ideation

Individuals experiencing depression may have distorted thoughts about themselves, others, and the world and struggle to see outside their perspective.

If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, seek support from a mental health professional. Depression is often highly treatable with therapy, medication, or a combination. 

The Sense Of Not Fitting In

Some people view themselves as outsiders. They may perceive that they don't fit in easily and have no similarities with others. Believing that you have no one with whom to bond, or connect, can affect your self-esteem and confidence. It can discourage you from connecting with the world and foster a pessimistic worldview.

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Is It Normal To Want To Give Up When I Have No Problems? 

In some cases, those with a career or business they love, a happy family, a wonderful spouse, and abundant material possessions may still have a sense of wanting to give up on their lives. In these cases, there may be an underlying concern that the individual has not yet discovered. The source of their unhappiness could date back to their childhood or any traumatic experience. 

A depressive disorder, unacknowledged life circumstances, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety could be a factor in these feelings. In these cases, therapy can be helpful, as a therapist may help you identify the causes of your feelings. Even if you do not determine a cause, therapy can still be effective in treating symptoms. 

How To Cope With The Urge To Give Up On Life

Having the urge to give up is often temporary. With effort, support, and treatment, you may find that these feelings disappear or lessen. Below are a few steps you can take to get started. 

Surround Yourself With Positive People

People who spread pessimism, judgment, and unkindness may cause harm in your life. Try to spend more time with people who provide you with endless support and offer unconditional love. In addition, try to find relationships with a healthy balance of give and take. Offer care to those you love and ensure they are offering care back. 

Make New Friends Or Join A Support Group

Support groups are not only beneficial for helping you deal with complex areas of your life, but they're also a way to connect with people who are facing the same challenges as you. People who can relate to and understand your situation may become close friends or mentors.

Get Your Career In Order

If you are experiencing financial challenges or a failed career, working toward a more stable future may improve your mental health. With dedication and guidance, you may be able to make a change. One way to do so is to talk to a career counselor or coach. These individuals can offer ideas for applying for new jobs or strengthening your success at your current job. 

If you want to try a new path, you could test out a part-time job or freelance work. There are many minor gigs that you can take on temporarily to pay for living expenses during tough times. In addition, try to remember your worth outside of work and keep in mind that a career does not define you. 

Make Amends In Relationships 

If you have experienced a difficult breakup, it can be taxing to deal with your emotions. Try to start processing your feelings. Make new friends, when it is still too soon to consider new dating relationships. You can connect with people in your neighborhood, plan outings with old friends, or join a meetup group to get started. 

If you have been having conflicts in your marriage or relationship, you can start to make amends. Some people choose couples therapy as a format for receiving support. A marriage counselor can help you address concerns and guide you in making healthy decisions. 

Save Money 

Although not everyone can save money, saving any amount may be better than saving none. When you have extra money, find coins on the street, or receive a cash gift, consider placing it in a jar or box to save for emergencies or special events. Saving money may reduce stress by giving you a buffer to your fears. If you're afraid of not having money for an emergency, saving money may relieve this fear. 

Getty/AnnaStills
Feeling Like Giving Up? A Professional Therapist Can Help

Seek Support From A Professional

Regardless of where your thoughts originate, sensing that you want to give up on life could be a sign you could benefit from professional support. A licensed therapist may identify the underlying causes behind such thoughts. If you are experiencing financial challenges or don't want to commute to therapy, try an online platform like BetterHelp.

Online therapy platforms can offer resources from home to help you improve your mental health. In addition, some platforms allow clients to match with their therapist within 48 hours, reducing the waiting time that might occur with face-to-face therapy. You can then choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions, giving you control over the process.

Online therapy has been proven effective, as well. One study found that online counseling could reduce burnout symptoms, depression, and anxiety in participants significantly, with similar results to in-person studies. 

Takeaway

You're not weak for wanting to give up. However, know that many resources are available, and you're not alone. Reaching out for support is one step to understanding and coping with these thoughts as you move forward. Consider contacting a therapist for further guidance and compassionate support.

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