Hitting Rock Bottom Is The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Me
I’m a reactionary person. I don’t “respond” to situations, I react – the response comes later, after I’ve had time to breathe. But in that moment? I see red. I see rage. I see doom. I see nothing but the wreck before me. Of course, I know somewhere at the back of my mind that things can (and most likely will) get better, but the overwhelming hurt, anguish and despair I feel/express as drama unfolds would make any leading lady of a telenovela look tame.
To anyone on the outside looking in, I’m sure it looks like I wallow in self-pity, and I guess I kind of do. I bask in all my emotions, both good and bad, until they’ve run their course. Every giddy mood results in days of excitement, and every piece of bad news results in the fetal position with ice cream. When things are going well, they’re going VERY well, and when things are bad, it’s the end of the world.
So, yeah, I’m a wallower. I wallow all the time. I wallow all night long – at least, that’s what it says on the bathroom stall.
That’s what I’ve been doing for nearly two years now (especially last year): wallowing, reacting, fixating. I was obsessed on plastering bandages all over a sinking ship, not stopping to ponder if the ship was worth saving in the first place. I was drained, almost all the time. I was borderline agoraphobic. I was used to not being laughed with, not being loved, not being encouraged or comforted, and I spiraled into a pit of paranoia that left me one “wrong word” away from a meltdown on a daily basis.
I was in a toxic relationship.
If I’m completely honest, the relationship itself wasn’t something I cared to save, I’d long since checked out, but there were things – both material and meaningful – that I wanted to keep hold of. Most of my pain came from losing them. I had a house and a dog, and not being romantic with the other person living there was something I’d accepted. I had to. He’d already decided for us, and I didn’t have the strength to leave.
Not being loved in return for a house, a dog, possessions and stability was a price worth paying in my mind. I’d made my peace with growing old in that basement, near someone, but alone. What a sad little life that would’ve been, and yet, I fought so desperately for it.
The breakup came after a particularly difficult few months. We’d moved into our home in December, and I was single by May. Everything in between those months was a nosedive into doubt and depression, but I hid it. I hid it from the friends I’ve made online, I hid it from my family, and I hid it from myself.
Rock bottom for me wasn’t actually the day it ended, but the weeks leading up to the end. I felt as if I was waiting for him to realize it was never going to work, while simultaneously trying to make it work in order to keep the life I’d built. I’d cry every night, with Drake (our dog) on my lap, knowing it was just a matter of time before my world was ripped away from me – yet, I longed for it to be over. I wanted to be on the other side, 6 months past it, settled, happy.
Sometimes what we love is the idea of love. We love the time we’ve invested, and feel as though it’d be a waste to toss that aside. We love the structure we’ve built with one another, and feel like starting over is too much to handle. We love the memories, the inside jokes once shared, and the way they made us feel once upon a time.
I felt all of that – all of it, and at the same time, I felt nothing for the relationship itself.
It’s been 8 months since then, and everything has changed.
I truly believe If it wasn’t for the excruciating pain of having a near 6-year relationship erode the way it did, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have met the man who would become my next love – a reciprocated love – and I have no idea where I’d be living, either.
For me, rock bottom is a good place to be. It rid me of my anxieties, because they’d already been realized, and it stripped me of my fears. It’s the “nearly at rock bottom” stages that suck the most: the uncertainty, the dread, the not knowing when you’re finally going to fall those last few inches to the ground…but once you’re there? Once you’re at the bottom, it’s not so bad. Sure, you cry, you mope, but then you deal with it, because there’s no other choice but to deal with it.
You feel relief.
I could no longer try to salvage what was, or spend hours fearing for the worst, instead, I started looking at places to move, started putting myself out there, started overcoming my agoraphobia through sheer force – because I had no choice. I had to take care of me now, because no one else was going to pick up the slack.
For every night I cried during those final few months, I’ve spent equal laughing in my new place, with my new guy. I’ve gone from not being able to make a sandwich without a 30 minute drama, to being able to cook an entire roast dinner that doesn’t give you raging diarrhea. I’m able to go to the shop without having a panic attack, able to sit comfortably on my own without fear of abandonment from the man I love, and able to speak openly about my relationship in a way I never have before.
Hitting rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to me, and If you find yourself a few inches from it, let yourself fall, because nothing that dangles you that far over the edge is worth salvaging. Fall. Get back up. Dust yourself off.
You’ll be stronger for it.