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Rock Bottom – Stopover or destination?

You know how it is when you’re in that awful airport, twiddling your thumbs looking for something to occupy your mind. The dreaded stopover. Difference is that you know the holiday destination is near…good things are to come.

This is how I view rock bottom. It’s a stopover. Good things will follow, you just have to ride it out and be patient. It isn’t always this simplistic however. I am a connoisseur of rock bottom. I have tasted it in its many forms. Sometimes it lasts several days, several weeks or at my worst, several months. The longer is lasts, the harder it becomes to reinvent yourself. When the duration becomes this long it feels that rock bottom has become the destination and not temporary. Is this my fate? To dwell in the darkness and depths of depression?

“Medication had been my security blanket, my coping mechanism for a number of years – I didn’t think I could ‘function’ or survive without it.”

I have hit rock bottom numerous times, more than I care to remember in fact. Some instances are extremely painful to recall, especially when it becomes prolonged and your options seem limited and desperate. These situations are far from pleasant to recall but demonstrates how far I have come.

I used to wholeheartedly believe that things would always be a struggle, an uphill battle and I would be lying if I said I never feel this way now. My perspective and approach to life has adjusted and along with it the struggles.

The thing with challenges and obstacles is that I believe them to be very much subjective…well, now I do. Don’t get me wrong, rock bottom is not always a choice and most of us can recall a time that we have visited this dingy place. Yet remaining there is very much a choice – I now know this, but it has certainly taken a long time to come to this realisation.

I have struggled with depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD for as long as I can remember. Medication had been my security blanket, my coping mechanism for a number of years and I could not imagine a world without them. In truth, I didn’t think I could ‘function’ or survive without them. Don’t get me wrong they have been a necessity at times, the little push needed to get me out of my rock bottom states.

“After taking a cocktail of my medications I found myself surrounded by three paramedics.”

For the first time in my life, rock bottom became my salvation. In a toxic, abusive relationship I had become a shell of the person I once was. I no longer knew who I was, what I liked and what made me…me. My medication no longer helped and I could not visualise a future where things would be any better. I existed – just. I stopped dreaming, I stopped hoping and I finally stopped fighting. Life became too much. My current situation, the challenges I’ve always had to overcome and the constant reminder of things that had happened to me in my life became an obsession. It’s all I thought about and was something my partner enjoyed reminding me of on a regular basis.

After taking a cocktail of my medications I found myself surrounded by three paramedics. Being admitted into hospital was horrible, but sadly not the first time…

After a visit from the domestic abuse team I was dumbfounded by where I had found myself and for the first time I decided to give myself a break. Usually I would get angry with myself and blame myself for my current predicament. This time was different. I was broken, defeated and vulnerable… most importantly, I knew it wasn’t my fault. I took time to be sad, I started taking therapy extremely seriously and I stopped taking any medication – primarily because the following two weeks after my overdose I struggled to eat or drink without vomiting. I remember being curled up on the sofa clenching my stomach in pain and being overwhelmed with sadness.

Sleep escaped me and there was no relief from this place…rock bottom. Due to being off of my meds I felt everything. Every emotion, every thought stung like a slap in the face and every night I would cry praying for sleep to come. It didn’t. And do you know what? I am thankful this happened. I know, you think I’ve gone mad right? As the hold of the medications I had depended on for so long started to wear off, I started to wake up. I saw things clearly and knew I wanted to change my life. I wanted to live, not simply survive.

“We are solely responsible for our happiness, only when we accept this can we live a lighter existence.”

Since my long, painful visit to Rock Bottom things are improving. It was a lot harder initially but things have gotten significantly easier. My first priority has been me and that is a first. I practice self-care daily, it may be something small and insignificant to others but I am learning to like myself. I wouldn’t yet say I love myself but I am starting to like the girl in the mirror…that one and only person who has been there through the good, bad and ugly. The girl that knows all the details of what I have had to endure, all the pain, surely I should respect myself for that alone.

So wherever you find yourself, how ever hard things seem and how hopeless they may appear, things can and will get better. We are solely responsible for our happiness, only when we accept this can we live a lighter existence.

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