How do I begin to rebuild after hitting rock bottom?

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I’d like to say that I have an easy answer for this one, as many of us have or will be at this spot one or more times. (How’s that for optimism…sigh…) The best I can do is share my own experiences on how I climbed out of my deep dark pit full of spiders and mud.

I’m pretty sure most people know my rock bottom story … if not feel free to read this guest post I did a couple years ago (This was actually the FIRST post I ever did that included the word “bipolar”. Kinda like my “coming out of the bipolar closet” post if you will)

Needless to say, I pretty much lost everything … house, credit, job, friends, dignity, sanity, almost my marriage … you name it, I’d pretty much watched it disappear right before my eyes. *Poof!* Just like that. And then my husband lost his job! And did I mention this was right before Christmas, at which time I had 3 kids to play Santa to!

Unfortunately, it took a trip to the local psychiatric hospital (after going off all my meds like the smart person I was) to open my eyes. At this point they weren’t completely opened…it was more like I was squinting, but I knew what I had to do next. I had no other choice than to rebuild almost every aspect of my life. I needed to find a place to live, a job, a way to get through all the collection calls, and my self esteem. Not to mention finding a way to rebuild my friendships, while at the same time figuring out what was the appropriate amount of time I needed to heal after all the hurts that had occurred.

So I started small …

Obviously the most important piece was finding a job so I could in turn find a place to live. Through a bit of luck and with the help of a friend or two I was able to find a couple jobs that at least got us by when combined with my husband’s unemployment. They weren’t the type of jobs that you go bragging about, but they paid…

Next I had to find a new place to live. My credit was tanked, so I stressed big time that no one would take us in … and when we started looking, it kinda seemed that way too. We swallowed our pride and settled for an apartment in the middle of a mini ghetto. And I’m not lying either…the complex had over 2,000 units and the crime rate was so bad they actually had their own Police Unit! The only constellation prize we had at that point was moving into the “safe side” of the complex. Oh and the tennis court behind us was pretty cool too!

So status update …

Had no job … now have a so so¬† job

Had no home … now have a home in the middle of a miniature ghetto

Not the IDEAL situation I would have wanted to find myself in, but I wasn’t homeless and I had a way to pay the bills. It was a start, though I still felt super sorry for myself and made sure everyone knew how miserable I was.

In the midst of all these changes I began to make very poor life decisions … like really poor … and where I could have been spending my time healing and pulling myself out past the spiders, I was setting myself back another 3 steps. Not to mention losing more friends and ALMOST my husband once again. My eyes were barely opened, and what I did see was only the negative.

Poor Me

Why does this all happen to Me

Pity Me

Me Me Me

Luckily one day reality smacked me in the face and my eyes popped open as wide as they could. I was ashamed of myself, I hated myself and I was pretty sure most everyone else hated me too. I knew that if I didn’t clean my act up things were only going to continue crashing down. So I made some very GOOD life choices and began going back to church, even joined the choir with my dad. (I love you daddy!) With in a week (no lie) my husband got a call for an interview. It was for an life insurance company, so we didn’t really think much of it.

He called me right after the phone interview and I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a minute. Not only was the company awesome, they offered him a job right away and he’d be making twice what I was at the time. Downside? It was in a different city! ARGH! He accepted though, and things have only gotten better from there.

I’ve reconnected with my friends, which was a HUGE turning point in my life … and I stopped making the crappy decisions that got me to rock bottom in the first place.

I now …

Take my meds EVERY day

Go to therapy

Stay away from situations that are unhealthy for me as a person

Go to Church regularaly

I think positive … about everything!

and above all …

I realized that it’s not about me.

Life is not about what happens to me and oh, poor me when it’s bad. It’s about how I react to what happens. It’s about everyone else whom I love. It’s about making the right choices, not because I don’t want to get to rock bottom again (though I totally don’t!), but because when we live our lives just for ourselves, we will never be happy.

Once I was able to take the focus off myself and open my eyes to what was going on around me, everything brightened up. I got my friends back, my dignity back, my marriage healed, I’m finally able to manage our finances, and I’m happy. It only took me 3 years to get here!

Don’t lose heart, even if life seems like it can’t get any worse. (And believe me, it probably can … and if you don’t start pulling yourself out, it probably will!) It’s all up to you. You can look at your life and feel bad about everything that has happened to you OR you can open your eyes and see that everything that has happened, including smashing your face at the bottom of that deep, dark pit, has just taught you an important life lesson (or two … or ten …)

You now have the knowledge gained from those horrible experiences to move forward as a much stronger person. Do not let your illness run your life or make you believe you’ll never get better or do better than what you have now. Instead, run your illness. Believe in yourself and know, that with a change of mind (from negative to positive) you can make things better. Maybe not over night, maybe not even after a year, but with time … and with as much effort as you can put forth … I PROMISE it will get better. I’m not sure when, but life is what we make of it. Make yours awesome! You deserve it.

Grab onto that dirty wall and start pulling yourself up!

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