6 Lessons I Learned After Hitting Rock Bottom
Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom in order to self-reflect and rebuild yourself. Hitting rock bottom is a wake-up call that something you’re doing in your life is not good for you. It’s a sign that you need to stop, breathe and make some serious changes.
A month ago, this was me. I got trapped in a very toxic, self-destructive cycle and it was definitely one of the most confusing couple of months of my life. But I took the steps to find the courage and strength to break that cycle and let myself heal, and now I have never felt stronger and more positive in my entire life.
I was struggling with having the strength to let go of a very toxic and manipulative relationship. Dealing with the back and forth of this toxic relationship bruised my self-worth, and my anxiety started to build and build. I would tell myself and my friends that I was done with it, but would find myself being pulled back in by manipulative acts.
And every time I got sucked back in, I felt intense feelings of guilt, shame and self-hatred for not having enough strength to do what I wanted to do. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t let go of something that was a) bad for me and b) that I didn’t even want anymore. It was like a nasty habit I couldn’t kick.
On top of this, I started to feel like I was losing sight of myself and was getting trapped in this flood of overwhelming anxiety. I became unable to make any decisions, I became impulsive and reckless, and then the physical anxiety symptoms came… a panic attack, tightening of my throat, my whole body felt weighed down and tight, and my head hurt from all the over-thinking and self-diagnosing I was doing. I was literally driving myself insane, and everyone I was close to knew I was seriously struggling.
Then one day I just hit rock bottom. I had a panic attack, which I have only really ever had once when I was a lot younger. I ended up in the hospital and after it was over, I just felt completely and totally lost. And that is when I made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I decided, with the support of my family, that I had to take the risk of stopping my life for a bit so that I could get healthy again. I took a leave from work and school, and went back home to London. Just being home and being surrounded by my family and my dog was so comforting. It gave me the strength to stop running away and numbing my feelings, and deal with them. And that is exactly what I did.
I have never worked harder in my life than I did for that month I was home. I went to intensive therapy with a therapist (who is so great), started anxiety medication, read a million self-help books, exercised and just really focused on myself and nothing else for the first time in my life. I just wanted more than anything to be happy again, that I put so much focus into healing myself. I went to yoga, learned about meditation, had acupuncture, etc. I did it all. All in four weeks! And every single thing I did made me stronger and stronger every day.
As I started to focus on fixing myself, I began to feel more positive and happy, and all the anxiety and noise in my head started to fade away. I was able to rebuild myself into a much stronger, happier person and I came to so many important realizations:
1. I need to distance myself from certain negative people in my life.
I am so done with being around people who constantly complain about their friends. All that does is show how unhappy they are with themselves, and it’s just too much negativity to be around. I understand we all need to vent sometimes. But you don’t need to complain about your so-called friends every second of every day to every single person. “When people judge another, they are defining themselves.” It’s so true.
2. I need to stop trying to get everyone’s approval.
I have learned that the only approval I need is my own approval. Nobody likes every single person, it’s unrealistic to expect that and not healthy. If someone doesn’t like me, that that is there problem. It’s the people that like and accept me that I care about. I don’t need to please people to feel worthy.
3. I have to have boundaries and remember my worth.
I know I deserve a lot more than what I was putting up with, and I have boundaries so that I know what is wrong and what is right.
4. I need to remember to not care about what other people think.
I am sharing this on my blog in order to help others and give them any encouragement they might need. So many people asked me why I “randomly left for a month” and I truly wanted to tell them why, and how hard I worked to overcome it, and that I found myself… but it’s so much easier to just tell my story here. I am not afraid of being judged anymore because I feel better than ever!
5. I need to trust myself and go with my gut feeling.
My gut feeling is always the right feeling, so from now on, I am going to go with it.
6. I am my own independent person.
All these realizations have helped me me become so much stronger and get my confidence and self-worth back. I can’t remember the last time I felt so positive and motivated. I was on the wrong path, but now I have picked myself back up and am exactly where I am supposed to be. Growing up and dealing with what life throws at you can be really hard, but if you really want to be the best person you can be, you can definitely do it. It’s the hard things in life that help you figure out who you are and where you want to go.
A longer version of this post originally appeared on Liv Light.
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