Climbing out of rock bottom has been a roller coaster of a journey for me and it all began with giving myself some time to just be. Writing this post has reminded me of just how far I have come.
My Rock Bottom
3 – 4 years ago, a couple of years after I had hit rock bottom, I managed to crawl out of bed and make my way to a course about Naturopathy.
I also arranged an appointment and spoke with my teacher about my various ailments at the time. The list was endless. Really..It went on and on and on.
The first step
My teacher paused and told me to do just 1 thing. He told me to start with affirmations. I didn’t understand the relevance of it at the time. He got a pen and paper and said ‘Why don’t you start with something simple. Write ”I am a good person.” I instantly said ‘NO, I am not.’
I was as taken aback by the ferocity of what I said and how I had said it, as he was but he said nothing. It was such a knee jerk reaction. I didn’t even know that I felt that way.
He understood me enough to know that drawing attention to that, or even negating what I was saying would be futile and would cause more harm then good in that moment. He gently reversed the paper back and remained quiet.
The space to understand who I was and where I was
When I think back to that moment, i think 2 things:
1. This was the first time i had truly allowed myself to open up. It was the first time I felt heard in a really long time. Had I stayed at home and not got on the course, I don’t think I would have ever got into tune with what I was feeling. (My teacher believed that everyone on the course, was there for a reason).
He was generous with his time and knowledge and gave me the space to fully be myself without judgement. When I think back to that kindness, it makes me kinda emotional.
2. The second thing that makes me fill up with tears is thinking about the pain I was going though. I was in such a dark place. I was hurting, lost, confused, anxious, exhausted and ready to give up.
It was during that session that I realised that I had began to hate myself to such a degree that I couldn’t bring myself to say one kind thing about who I was. I blamed myself for everything negative going on in and around me.
How my healing journey began
My healing began after my daughter started nursery because until then, I didn’t have time to think, space to feel or the desire to change my life.
Before I was married, I had always dealt with my problems by running away. I spent so much time outside of home and in other cities that my mum would often joke that I should buy flats in those places. (Wish I had. Imagine the ££££££ I would have racked up by now).
I would often numb myself by watching TV, eating or always being around friends till the early hours of the morning, doing nothing. So i had no idea how to feel any negative emotions. I avoided confrontation and conflicts too. I would never face up to any thing I was feeling. So for years and years, my trauma lay buried, dormant under all of that. Until I could no longer escape.
Then, a time came in my life, where i was forced to sit with my emotions and face the traumas I had experienced and believe me, I resisted as hard as I could. I had been so terrified of feelings and had avoided them all my life. I wasn’t ready to take the challenge on now either.
The challenges at the time
At the time, my husband was working very long hours and regularly coming home after 8pm, I had 2 very active and loud kids under 2 (one of whom was extremely clingy and anxious around any strangers), and I had no support network, no money and I mean no money (I mean we just about scraped by and went weeks without meat, we kept the heating turned off most of the time, we couldn’t afford any perks at all), no one to fall back on, no one to visit, no one to spend time with other then myself and my kids.
We didn’t have money for meals out, take outs, holidays, breaks. Our house was small, cramped and dark. I had no car and was totally reliant upon my husband. My health was deteriorating and a new ailment arrived every month.
Even hospital appointments were spent with kids clinging off of me and as much as I loved them, I just wanted space to breathe.
Minimising the experiences of others
On this subject, I often find that when women talk about their struggles, they are hushed, shut down, ignored and their struggles are diminished. Often by other women and sometimes by men too.
There is this weird competitiveness and comparison thing that goes on where women feel like they HAVE to prove they had it worse or someone they knew had it far worse. It is what people refer to nowadays as gas lighting. It is denying that the person has a right to feel as they do and makes them doubt their own sanity and abilities.
It really isn’t necessary and is one of the most unkind, unsympathetic and cruel things you can do when you can see that someone is struggling. It is taking away their voice, when they need to shout. It is putting them on mute so that their pain cannot be acknowledged.
By minimising the experience of one woman, it doesn’t take away from another woman. Silencing any woman when it is obvious that she is drowning, is unfair. There is nothing to gain in stifling a womans screams.
Also, in reality who are we to question the struggle of anyone? In religious terms, the test comes from up above and from the one who knows why the test is there and how it is going to impact upon the person. Tests are not meant to be easy and one person is never favoured over another.
There were so many other horrendous things going on around that time (things that I would love to go into at a later date). There was so much to process. I was really struggling to stay afloat.
What does rock bottom look like?
Honestly, I know what rock bottom looks like. I really know. Not the rock bottom that people talk about openly. I have only ever seen one person talk about the reality of what it feels like. It isn’t pretty. It can’t be glossed over. It can be pretty gross.
Rock bottom for me was when I had nothing left and I couldn’t even give myself basic self care. I wish I could tell you the depths I went to and how close I was to not wanting to not be here anymore and the horrible things I did back then.
I am a different person now and in such a different place. I wouldn’t be here without the struggle I went through and as such, I am so greatful for it.
It all started with giving myself space and time to just sit without distractions. I broke, I prayed, I went for therapy to process the past, I sat in solitude, I journaled and journaled and talked and walked and got to know myself all over again. I allowed myself to feel, to wail, to break, to cry, to scream, to shout, to be heard..
Finally, I accepted that I was ok and my feelings were valid.
I began to trust myself all over again. I stopped caring what other people said/did/thought to me/about me.
Being kind to yourself every day
For the past year, I have been very intentional about making space for myself. I have started to incorporate little bits of self love into my day to day life and I wanted to share a little bit of what that journey looked like.
Here are some of the ways i began to learn to be me again and some suggestions for how you can start do the same:
1. Make some time for yourself – Set some time aside every day to do nothing at all or something you enjoy. This can be as simple as just creating space or a window for yourself to just be. Do nothing. Give yourself permission to rest. As little as 5 minutes is fine. This can also serve as a way for you to get to know who you are and what matters to you.
2. Work on your morning routine – Our morning routines often set the tone for our entire day. There is no one size fits all and that means you are in the driving seat! You can tailor make a morning routine that works for you.
Some of the things I like to do are Praying, Journaling, A Gratitude Practice, Affirmations, Meditation, Reading, Walking, and listening to something uplifting.
I realise that seems like a lot and I don’t do all of it everyday.
When I break it down it looks more like this:
Gratitude – I am still in bed and thanking God for another day, another opportunity for doing good and all the various blessings that I have in my life.
Praying – Morning prayers and special prayers that help me get through a hectic day ahead.
Meditation – 2 – 20 minutes depending on how I am feeling. This is sometimes visualisation instead.
Journaling – I do this on mornings when I really need to. It helps me to analyse my thought and understand what I need to move forward. Some days, I will skip this entirely or do it at a later time in the day.
Affirmations – I have 3 key affirmations for the year. 3 big goals. I try to say or write them down daily. I also have a stack of cards with affirmations on them and pick one out each day to say out loud.
Reading – I like to read a page or 2 of an uplifting book before the day takes over.
Walking and listening to uplifting podcasts – I can’t tell you how much I love this. I am finding though that the busier I get with work, the less time I am giving to this so I really need to give myself this advice too.
I make all of the above a priority by waking up extra early to squeeze it all in. I try to wake up at 5 am ish every morning. I don’t always manage it but I do wake up early more often then not. It is my favourite part of the day.
These things are ways of giving to myself before other responsibilities take over my day. It is a way of being kind to myself first thing in the morning and allowing that to flow through my entire day.
3. Challenge your inner and outside critics – I was taught this technique by one of my mentors and whilst I am aware that it isn’t anything groundbreaking/new, it really has helped me. I told her about some of my struggles and how I was once hyper critical of myself and would give up on things because I had such high expectations of myself. She taught me to zoom in on the critical thought, laugh it off and to stand up for myself against myself. Whilst it felt weird at first, it soon became second nature.
4. Forgive Yourself – Every single one of us messes up. To feel better about mistakes, we should show ourselves kindness when we have messed up. We can either resolve to do better if possible or forgive ourselves and move on. Instead of focussing on the way you have messed up, give yourself a little boost by reminding yourself of all the things you have done right that day.
5. Take Good Care of Yourself – One of the best ways to show yourself kindness is to take good care of yourself. Things like getting enough sleep, eating well and getting some form of exercise on a regular basis all fits into being kind to yourself. Implementing some skincare or pampering into your morning/evening routine also helps!
6. Respect Yourself. Self respect is valuing yourself for who you are right now, and not allowing others to dictate your value. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail. Sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you’re wrong. Allow yourself to fully be who you are. Trust yourself, think for yourself, form your own opinions, make your own decisions and drop the comparison.
7. Show yourself some Compassion and Soothe Yourself – When you are having a bad moment, talk to yourself like you would your child or your best friend. Be kind to yourself by soothing yourself in a positive way. So.. you could have a soak in a hot tub with essential oils or make yourself a cup of tea and read a book. Do what works for you. Nobody knows how to soothe you better than you.
8. Remind Yourself that you are enough – We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve thought..’I’m not enough’. That leads to a negative self image. Replace that with ‘I’m enough, just as I am’, ‘I’m worthy’, ‘I deserve to be happy’ and whatever other message you feel needs reinforcing in you. I have a list in my phone that I read every morning.
9. Honor Your Dreams – People who love and respect themselves honor their dreams. They focus on the end goal and make a road map for how they will get there.
Do things your future self will thank you for. Any time you are doing something, ask yourself ‘is this blessing me or hurting me?’
10. Believe In Yourself – You can only honour your dreams, when you believe in yourself. Have faith in your own abilities and in your own judgment. Don’t look for outside validation because that might not always be there. Instead focus on what you know about yourself and reach for the stars.
11. Keep your surroundings clutter free – I don’t know about you but when my environment looks like a dumping ground, I feel a little out of sorts. I am not saying everything has to be perfect. I am a book worm and have a load of books next to my bed and that works for me. Your environment should reflect who you are without feeling overwhelming.
12. Surround yourself with positivity – You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If those people are negative or always sharing sad news, they will drain you. If like me you rarely see people on a day to day basis, your social media timeline really matters. I follow people who make me feel happy, who share good news, who are really upbeat because it is all too easy to get drawn into negativity.
This was a tip given to me by a friend about a year ago and I can’t begin to explain how life changing it has been. Some of the pages I follow are Self Care is for Everyone, Stacie Swift and Positively Sparkly. I have also started my own page and although it is new and I don’t really know what direction I am going with it yet.. seriously, it makes me so so happy. I spend waaaaaay more time on that page then any other page. It makes me smile and that deserves my time.
Whilst we’re on the subject of positive influences, surround yourself with people who are out there doing things. Surround yourself with people who have big dreams and want to make a positive impact on the world. Surround yourself with people who care about things that matter to you.
Also..surround yourself with people who you can be yourself around, who love you and accept you as you are and in whose company you like the person you are.
..And that’s all.. there will be loads more posts coming like this in the future because I truly believe that giving yourself time and space, allowing yourself to feel and being kind to yourself can change your life (as simplistic as it may sound) and I am dedicated to helping you to love yourself and find your inner glow.
The glow that will make you want better for yourself and the glow that will help you to do big things. It all begins with self love. I really believe that.