There really is nothing like the feeling of rock bottom. You could be the most talented or most successful person in the world and still get the feeling. In those moments, your focus is deeply internalized. Almost as though the external world is just extra burden; and if that deep internal focus leads to an idea worth holding on to, then you live to fight another day. If not, then eventually you lose the will to even do another day.
What does it take to rise out of rock bottom? That’s what we’re gonna explain in this post.
YOUR STORY IS PERSONAL. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT
There are several situations that take the feeling of rock bottom towards wanting to call it quits once and for all. Off the top of my head, I can name a few of these situations:
(1) Fighting a losing battle
(2) Having the one future you dreamed of be completely out of reach
(3) Feeling as though everything you ever knew was a lie
(4) Being hurt or let down by a someone you least expected it from
(5) Being diagnosed with terminal illness
(6) Feeling stuck in a meaningless and monotonous routine
The point here is that the first step to getting out of rock bottom is to realize that there is no one else that you can look to for inspiration. Your journey is your own. So it helps to make peace with the events as that journey plays out. Simply put, you could ponder on the following at the end of each event:
(1) Does it get better?
(2) Will tomorrow give me hope?
(3) Is there anything I enjoyed in these past few days?
(4) Is there anything I discovered that I can build on?
These queries keep you focused on your own journey rather than compare it to some “ideal” journey that may derive from your friends or your idols. This is important. Very important. Your journey is your own. It’s personal. There is no one right way to go through it.
NOW FOR THE NEXT STEP: THE SIMPLEST GOAL AND SOME DISCIPLINE
When you’ve hit rock bottom, most things become meaningless. You feel like the source of your internalized focus has nothing to relate to in the external world anymore. This may very well be true. Let’s consider an example.
Jack lost his formative years to illness and felt as though he never got to have a normal school and college life. For him, there were no moments and memories from those times. There was only damage that made him weird and unsociable to most others. Due to such a weak connection to the external world, he developed a deeply internalized focus; and all that focus could uncover were eras that were forever lost; eras that could have been amazing; and a vibrant pre-illness personality that was a thing of the very distant past, never to be regained. It’s not hard to see how this man had hit rock bottom. So what did he do?
Well, one day, he took a second to think about what he had to offer. He realized that he was decent at sketching. So he decided to acquire the skill of being able to accurately reproduce faces from a photo. The first day, he made practically no progress. But he still had a goal. A simple goal. So, he disciplined himself to at least give it a month before expecting noticeable improvement. To his delight, he found that in only 6 days, he was able to at least reproduce a caricature-like accuracy to the faces that he’d attempted to reproduce. With that, he gained something. He came ever so slightly out of a world he couldn’t relate to one bit, into a world that presented at least one avenue he could potentially pursue.
There has to be a goal that is simple enough for you to realistically anticipate some improvement given time and some discipline. Whatever this is, whether it’s sketching, writing, speaking or coding, is going to take a period of discipline, despite no practical improvement, to show noticeable progress. Then, you slowly start to move out of rock bottom.
Jack’s life wasn’t easy despite his sketching progress. He had a ton of incomplete tasks, unattended responsibilities, and overbearing people in his life. But, in the broad scheme of things, as long as the sketching progress remained intact, he retained at least one thing that he could hold on to for his journey out of rock bottom.
In about 6 months time, with continued discipline, Jack had made a lot more progress with his sketching, and in the process of living through that, he had also gained many insights about life and people in general. These insights did not always agree with those of his idols and inspirations, but they were his own. His journey was personal, and that was okay.
The internalized focus led to a confidence that he hadn’t previously known, and the external world became less a mindless and emotionally overwhelming experience with every month that went by. It wasn’t easy for Jack to stay on track. Every 3 days or so, he’d end up doing nothing at all throughout the day. Self-destructing just short of killing himself, and so on. But that was okay. It was a journey. As long as there was some improvement to show on the whole at the end of each month, he was fine.
OTHER HUMAN ASPECTS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR EFFORT OUT OF ROCK-BOTTOM
(1) Allow some bad days, and even a few bad weeks. They happen.
(2) Take a break from time to time, and make sure there is variety to prevent break-activities from becoming monotonous and depressing.
(3) Sleep for at least 6 hours, with a sleeping pill to start if needed. Sleeping pills are not evil. They help. I’ve taken them to get my sleep back on track . Now, I no longer take them and I still sleep like a baby.
(4) Get a low-maintenance friend. Someone who doesn’t feel like too much effort, but will stay with you despite you not giving them much energy. Loneliness is not fun, but neither is an overbearing friend. So get a low-maintenance friend.
(5) Panic attacks and thoughts about ending it from time to time are normal, especially in the beginning. Just please, please don’t act on the thoughts about ending it. Bear with them. Remember: some discipline for a period of time.
I hope this helps. I really do. Get started and experience your journey. Feel free to get in touch on the comments below.