On Feeling “Useless” And Wanting To “Fix” People

I came up with this blog post idea at precisely 10:25pm on Saturday night. I was bedridden, struck by a stomach bug where I constantly felt hungry but eating made me feel ill. It’s very confusing feeling hungry and having no appetite at the same time. It’s some sort of Bad Place torture (watch The Good Place to get that reference).

So here’s the ramblings of someone who was frantically typing up notes on her phone whilst also trying to ignore the knot in her stomach. You’re welcome and soz if it’s shit.

I’ve experienced two classic examples of feeling totally and utterly useless recently.

Firstly, the bout of illness made me feel useless because we were spending the weekend with Liam’s family and instead of going out for a nice meal I was glued to the sofa under a blanket eating toast under the watchful eyes of the family dog.

I know we have to forgive ourselves for getting ill, but my immune system is a bitch and does occasionally hold me back. For as long as I can remember I’ve been known for getting ill a lot, and for someone who wants to work hard and always be busy, it’s a real kick in the teeth to have this pointed out to me. To my ears, it’s the equivalent of being called lazy or incapable.

Aside from being particularly hard on myself for getting poorly and wanting to be “fixed” myself, I’ve also always had this obsession with wanting to solve problems. Not mathematical or scientific ones because lol I hated those subjects at school, but instead I gravitated towards sociology and history. Solving “people problems”.

I had a fascination with those at the forefront of solving these problems.

I loved learning about Martin Luther King Jr in History class, and Karl Marx in Sociology lessons. Whilst I knew that their lives were extraordinary, at the core of it all they were people who believed in trying to fix things.

Which leads me nicely to the next reason why I have felt utterly useless recently. Instead of the lofty heights of civil rights and social class, my obsession is on helping to fix the ones I love.

They are not broken, but when there are things I want to help them deal with, or overcome, it is painful to me when this simply isn’t possible.

Because sometimes it is impossible to solve problems. Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do to make problems disappear.

Sometimes all you can do is be there for the people you care about. Support them through whatever they are experiencing, and instead of desperately trying to be the antidote, it’s enough to be the medicine.

This is a hard lesson for someone like me to learn, but I feel like I’m slowly coming round to it. I’m learning to do what I can to be a comfort, a support. I’m discovering what it is to be a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to sound off ideas with.


  1. Kaiesha Stewart

    I relate to the ‘fixing people’ aspect so much. I want to be able to ‘fix’ or maybe, improve things for my loved ones so badly, and it genuinely devastates me that I physically can’t do anything about it. While it’s annoying, I do completely agree that our presence and being supportive is the most important thing. It can be so difficult though.


    1. Post

      Relating so hard to this comment! But yeah, it’s a hard lesson to learn but at least we are coming to terms with it. Glad I’m not alone!

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