Learned Helplessness is a theory that all feelings of helplessness or hopelessness and all mental illnesses are rooted in our natural response to negative stimuli, especially when the negative stimuli is beyond our control.
We are designed to define and redefine our world view based on positive and negative stimuli, but negative stimuli carry a lot of weight.
In Learned Helplessness, the stimuli can be a single traumatic event or chronic negative input, such as an emotionally (or physically) abusive parent or partner (or our system of justice :-).
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness for further analysis and proofs.
If Learned Helplessness theory is true, what is “mental illness” then? And how do we overcome our feelings of helplessness?
By knowing that hopelessness is a learned behavior. Striving for successes, even small ones, and celebrating your wins are a key to recovery.