I tried to get myself something to drink yesterday morning, and tears fell into my glass of ice before I could manage to move it out of the way. They just kept flowing. I must have cried for at least a dozen hours in the past week. I wish I could throw out the painful feelings as easily as I tossed out my tear-stained ice.
I used to think that I’d discovered what rock bottom was to me. I’d been in life-threatening situations more than once, and that’s not counting the danger I was in because of my own desire to end the searing pain that comes with PTSD, depression, and some of their causes.
I figured that rock bottom was that time I bought a rope with a plan to use it or worse still, when I slit my wrists. The thing is, I didn’t end up using the rope. When I slit my wrists, I left myself with surface-level wounds that I cleaned and hid. I wasn’t seeking attention; I was seeking an end to the pain. I have googled “quick, painless ways to die” more times than anyone would like to know, but it can get worse than that.
Those were all horrible experiences, but I don’t think any of them ended up being rock bottom for me. It seems that most people refer to rock bottom as the moment when you hit the lowest point in your entire life so that you are motivated to change. That wasn’t the state I was in when I decided to work towards healing, though. In fact, what motivated me to get help wasn’t painful at all. It was gentle encouragement from a very dear friend. That felt wonderful and safe.
When I speak of my rock bottom, I am talking about that empty, aching feeling within when it feels like nothing will ever feel even a tiny bit okay again. What joy I’ve found in this world feels as though it’s been ripped away over and over again all at once. It’s an emotional ache so extreme and strong that I feel a physically painful sensation in my heart.
In getting help and working towards healing, I’ve discovered that this feeling can get worse. It can get progressively worse. Sometimes I free fall further down into the pain than I’ve ever been. I can always fall lower and descend further into the depths of pain that exist within me.
What I used to see as rock bottom was just a ledge, and beneath that is a lot more pain. You see, I found a seemingly endless well of pain within, a bottomless pit that contains all the emotional pain I’ve long neglected and glossed over and avoided like the freaking plague.
This is horrible, no-good, really bad news, right? Well, I have come to see that it’s not the case. Opening up an access point to all this pain isn’t the worst thing that has happened. It’s among the better things. I thought I was going about my life in an okay way despite the pain I’d experienced but buried. However, I was not fully living life or owning myself and my choices. I kept self-destructing in a million ways big and small. It is only in reaching down into that pit and slowly processing the pain that healing is taking place.
Luckily, so many problems that seem insurmountable are fixable. The pit may be bottomless, but the pain won’t last forever. A lot of things won’t work out in my favor, I’m sure, and that’s okay, too. Maybe some dreams won’t ever come true, but you never lose your ability to keep dreaming new dreams that can be equally as wonderful. Maybe the one you love will never love you, but romantic love isn’t the only valid, special kind of relationship. Whatever problems you may face, you can cherish people and experiences without worrying about the outcome of a situation, and life still holds wonder if you keep going on.
I’m in the middle of a long excavation process where sometimes I’m digging into the depths of misery within me. Sometimes I’m skating along the surface as I recover, and sometimes I’m ascending to greater heights of future possibilities. It’s inevitable that I’m going to trip up on really painful, rocky terrain along the path to the better life I’m seeking.
Life doesn’t just stop to allow for this kind of healing to happen, so I have to find the right balance for me to heal and still deal with life. You’ve heard of lifestyle blogs. Well, this is a blog about the changing lifestyles I’m experiencing. I have faith that these painful things won’t always be an overwhelmingly big part of my life, but I intend to chronicle my quest to deal with life in the best way I can even within the battle against past trauma, depression, and PTSD.
Pain is temporary, and that’s one of the things I’ve allowed myself to learn. When you hang on to the things that make you come alive and persevere through the tortured moments, the pain lessens if you deal with it. It truly does. Pain lessens, and life goes on.