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Feeling Trapped: How To Relieve Anxiety, Depression, and Hopelessness

Written by Patti Greene

Have you ever had a feeling of being trapped? If you have, it is not a pleasant experience.

Imagine being trapped in an elevator; trapped in a coal mine; trapped in solitary confinement, or even trapped by human trafficking. In everyday life, we can be “trapped” in our marriage, our career, our home, our physical body, our financial situation, or even in our place of worship.

The feeling that you cannot do anything to escape these situations is discouraging and scary. Sometimes these situations can cause us to become apathetic, slide into a mental illness, or even become suicidal.

Everyone experiences “feeling trapped” at some point in their life—if not physically, emotionally.

Individuals with physical disabilities may feel trapped in “their handicap.” Those with mental illnesses feel trapped in their psychic.

Trapped: Unfortunate Life Circumstances

Unfortunate life circumstances usually build upon 4 phases. First, a concern leads to an anxiety. Anxiety leads to depression.  And depression leads to hopelessness. How one moves or fluctuates through these 4 stages are dependent upon one’s emotional stability or specific happenstances that occur along the way.

The first and only time I entered a tanning salon, I was quite panicky. It was mainly peer-pressure that lead me to enter the doors of the tanning salon in the first place. Once there, I should have felt secure since the instructions given were thorough and detailed even before I entered the tanning room. However, I felt uncomfortable about how I was dressed (or should I say not dressed) as I rotated myself into the tanning bed. As I laid in the booth, my anxiety rose. I wasn’t sure what thought overpowered me—the regret of even being there or my fear of a severe heat rash burn. I wanted so much to close my eyes and relax, but I feared that if I fell asleep, the attendant might never come back. My fear became so exaggerated I truly believed I might die.

Apparently, I suppose the instructions were not as good as I originally thought because I learned later that there is a space where my hand could have fit to open the tanning lid myself. I was unaware that the lid didn’t lock! There was a way of escape, but I didn’t know it. The same goes for us when we encounter unfortunate life circumstances.

While the illustration above is biographical and true, it is told as a “moral tale” to share how we may react under pressure. The question now presents itself as, “What happens when one feels trapped?”

When You Feel Trapped and Your Dreams Are Shattered

When your dreams are shattered, you may turn to psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, fortune tellers, clergy, and more. You will do anything you can to be free from the situation. Then, when the “helpful” people cannot provide relief, you become depressed and hopeless. At this point, you may lose your will to go on, because your dreams have been shattered. You see no viable choices to rid yourself of the deep rut you find yourself in.

You might . . .

– Divorce your spouse and leave your children,

– Quit your job,

– Change your living situation,

– Resign yourself to being mentally or physically deranged,

– Claim bankruptcy,

– Drop out of the church, or more.

When a situation becomes too painful, you want to escape instantly. But, there is another option. That option is to trust in the Lord to help you through the trials you are facing. Sometimes we are even fixating on the wrong aspect of our dilemma. Somewhere in my concern over the tanning bed, I probably should have been more concerned about the ultra-violet radiation and the possibility of getting cancer, but I wasn’t.

Trust in Jesus: The Way of Escape

God is a mighty God—always willing to help you escape distressing perpetual life emergencies. When you reach a severe lowness in life, God’s desire is for us to look up and receive His son Jesus Christ. Trusting Christ and asking Him to change your heart is the best place to start. He loves you and wants to help you with the pain and agony you are experiencing.

In Receiving and Giving, author David A. Peterson writes, “God never steps over us in our trouble. God never turns a blind eye to our need. God is never insensitive to our broken dreams. God is not put off by the consequences of our rebellion. Our walls are ever before Him.”¹

God’s Gift of Salvation

God desires a personal relationship with you. His gift of salvation is available to you. Without Christ in your life, your existence may seem incomplete.

But, God has a plan for your life. To experience His will, you must accept Jesus Christ with a change of heart towards Him. Through a personal conviction when God Himself comes to you, we can repent, turn from our sin, and have faith in Christ. Once this occurs we are born again into the family God.

While situations may not improve overnight, you have the assurance that God is on your side and that He is helping you live securely and contently with all of life’s unexpected turns. God is always present to give you wisdom and understanding. Through all your ins-and-outs of life, God’s guidance will help all you to remedy and work through your distressing situations properly.

Jesus Christ is powerful. He can heal your marriage, find you a new job, and provide miraculously for your every need.

We do not have to live a lifetime of feeling trapped. His love and His willingness to lead our lives into productivity are absolutely astounding.

8 Steps to Relieve Our Concerns, Anxiety, Depression, and Hopelessness

  1. If you haven’t already accepted Jesus Christ, you must ask God to forgive your sins, to accept Jesus Christ, and have faith in Him to be your Lord and Savior.
  2. If you have accepted Christ but are not following Him fully, you must recommit your life to worship Him with your entire body and soul.
  3. Pray and not lose heart over your situation.
  4. Brainstorm your problem. Think of ways to change your situation and spend time going through all the ideas you come up with and see what might work. Then, give all these ideas to Jesus in prayer again.
  5. Determine not to make any changes until you experience both His guidance and direction.
  6. Accept and seek help—medical, spiritual, or both.
  7. Read the Bible and determine not to proceed with any action that is contrary to the Word of God. You may need to talk to a mature believer or a pastor for help in discerning what is right from wrong, especially if you are a new believer in Christ.
  8. Share your concerns with a trustworthy friend or counselor.
  9. Understand that God may be teaching you a valuable life lesson through your situation.
  10. Then, start again with No. 1.

Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Bartimaeus, a blind man was sitting by the road begging when Jesus was passing by. He heard a multitude of people going by and he asked what the commotion was all about. He was told Jesus was passing by. He called out say, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!” He was sternly told to stop and be quiet, but he kept crying out to Jesus. Jesus stopped and commanded that this man be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus said that he wanted to regain his sight. Jesus told him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” His request was granted, and he received his eyesight, began to follow Jesus, and glorified God. (Luke 18:35-43)

Think of the possibilities. When you feel trapped, wouldn’t you like God to ask you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Trust Him and start the process by telling Him what you want Him to do for you. His answer might just be exactly what you need to start afresh!

Bible Verses

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)

Prayer

Dear Lord. It is hard for me to fathom that you can get me out of the situation I am currently in. I feel trapped with no way out. I don’t think I can take it anymore. Lord, help me in my unbelief. Help me to reach out to you and accept your salvation and guidance. Teach me to pray. Teach me to desire Your will and Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member


¹Peterson, David. Receiving and Giving: Unleashing the Bless Challenge. Houston: David A. Peterson, 2012.

Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

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Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

About the author

Patti Greene

Patti Greene is the author of three outstanding devotional prayer journals, Answer Me, Anchor Me, and Awaken Me and a book titled "Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending." Patti earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and pursued graduate studies in religious education and library science spending two years as a second-grade teacher. After spending 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, Greene spent 18 more years as a school librarian in St. Louis, Missouri and Houston, Texas. When not writing books or blogs, Greene spends her time caregiving, reading, researching, and hanging out with her family and friends. Patti and her husband have three adult children and five grandchildren. Visit her blog at GreenePastures.org.

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