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How Hitting Rock Bottom May Be A Catalyst For Change

Yesterday (Tuesday)… was the worst.

Like, one of those days that, as it is happening, you file into your top ten collection of worst days…ever. 

I got on the wrong transit route not once, but twice. After having a driver miss my stop, then running four blocks, then having to take a taxi in a panic so I wouldn’t be late for an audition. Then riding the transit for two and a half hours, somehow forgetting my brain and getting on the wrong line, finding myself stranded in bum**** nowhere (that feeling of being lost and alone has got to be one of the worst). Then arriving 40 minutes late to a $160 appointment. Just to get out and discover the sauce I had picked up with my dinner had exploded all over my journal and King Lear play. …which are now garbage. 

It was one of those days where, literally, every single tiny thing that could have come up as an annoyance…did. 

By 5:00 nothing even phased me anymore. From then on every delay I found myself in, every line up that smacked me in the face, every wrong turn and every wrong corner I found myself in…. I just wasn’t even surprised. 

Looking back, I see how first world this all was. Now that I’m writing about it I’m finding myself embarrassed at how upset I was. Even a mere eight hours ago. 

But, the real darkness came from the fact that I was already feeling really low that morning. Actually, I’d been feeling really low the previous three days. I’ve been struggling lately with an underlying cloud of sadness. Not quite depression. I’ve been there before. But definitely a deep sadness underneath every thing I do. That appointment I was going to was to see my therapist, who had just slipped me into a cancellation spot. I really wanted to see her. To talk to her about this sadness. I had been feeling lonely and unsafe and really wanted her comfort. And then this happened. And I didn’t even get it. 

It just felt like a bucket of nails being poured onto an already bruised and oh-so-tired slate.

“How much more do you want from me!?”

So when that first wrong turn occurred, those all too familiar voices reared in their ugly heads. Along with the all too familiar panic attack and ball-in-throat choking feeling of holding back the onslaught of tears. 

“You’re so stupid.”

“You always do this.”

“You always make these stupid mistakes.”

In these moments…to which I’ve now had quite a few…it feels like the world is crashing down on me. Like everything is punishing me all at the same time. Everything is terrifying. Everything feels absolutely out of control and absolutely helpless. Life feels like way too much. Life feels completely stupid and I just…don’t want to be in it.

The next morning was hard. I was depressed. And then I did my usual “must make myself anxious” as a way to cover up the sadness so I didn’t have to feel it anymore. It’s a complete avoidance tactic, I have now learned. 

But then…

I’m not sure what it was. But something shifted. 

Through the day I started to get this massive, massive determination. 

I began to feel so bloody sick of living this way. Of feeling these intense reactions and unstable emotions and not being able to cope with every day stressors. 

I don’t know how much of it is related to my eating disorder. I know I use eating and exercise to cope with very deeply engrained traumas, to keep myself “comfortable” and avoid these heightened emotions that I experience. But something in me also knew that the way I live – with my coping and avoidance and rules and self induced anxiety – is what has to be changed in order to not react to days like yesterday as I did. I knew that the sadness I’ve been feeling – that I so often feel – has to do with the way I have been living and continue to live in my inner, personal world that nobody else sees. 

And I’m so, so over feeling that. I don’t want to feel all this sadness anymore. All this anxiety. All these rules and struggles and constant feeling of life being too much. 

I’m not naive enough to think that if I just start eating more etc. that all of that will go away. But I do feel that making behavioral changes and getting more support to do so is what will put me on the road to these bigger changes I seek. Honestly, knowing this and remembering how I felt yesterday… I don’t even feel scared.  

I mean heck I’d rather feel the discomfort from making changes than having this continue to be my life. 

Letting Rock Bottom Be The Catalyst for Change #rockbottom #change #recovery #eatingdisorder Click To Tweet

Today I started feeling more determined than, possibly ever. I did things today I’ve never done. And I feel a really strong determination to have this only be a new beginning. I don’t know if this is just short lived. I hope not. But I do think sometimes these really, really dark moments can often be the catalyst for some much needed light to come in. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom and you just can’t sink any lower, sometimes a spark gets lit under your butt and gives you the strength… or maybe desperation… to finally say “screw it all” and let go of some things you’ve been holding onto for so long. Maybe, just maybe, it ends up being the wake up call you’ve been waiting for. 

This is a bit of a journal entry post. Thanks for being a safe place for me to think out loud. 

Tell me,

Have you experienced a sense of “rock bottom” that has started you on a road to change?

 

 

37 COMMENTS

  1. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 25th May 17

    First of all SO MANY HUGS. That is seriously a day for the birds. And I’m not big on birds.
    Secondly, I know so well what you mean. Now use this. Don’t get angry–but remember what it feels like to turn lemons into applesauce, to feel EMPOWERED by your choice to do so. Take that with you.
    The world can suck. Days can suck. But they also remind us how precious and amazing good days are. How good those good days feel. And they helps us to fight to have more of them.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Test Your Knowledge with this Running IQ Quiz (Coaches Corner)My Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Thanks, Suz. This is really really good advice – to like,bottle up this feeling of empowerment and determination, so that I can remember what it feels like and continue to keep it with me.

  2. Danielle | 25th May 17

    Hmmmm oh yes. One of those moments for me were quite desperate. I was desperate. I had a bakery that was financially failing and no money for rent or car. And my coping skill was turning to the old ED. One day in the darkness I thought I’d try to get myself out of the funk. I bought some skates and drove to a church lot and tried to feel like my 8 year old happy carefree self. Except I wasn’t happy or carefree at 8. Then I realized this and looked up into the blue sky, raining my hangs to heaven for help. And instantly lost my footing and tripped over a cement slab. You know this story just literally gets a thousand times more pathetic. It’s ridiculously pathetic. I was done. Somehow I got through that. Something inside knew I could. I’ll expand on the rest of that story another time. Anytime you feel like a loser just call me. I’ll share with you a personal story to make you feel ten times better. And I have tons.

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Oh Danielle. Thank you. In those moments, it can feel so impossible to believe you will even get out of it. You feel so alone and present yet confused and terrified. I sometimes don’t know how we do get through them. But we do… we always do.

  3. Dee | 25th May 17

    Cora, I’m thinking of you. I can relate. Totally. That’s the beauty of change. It unfolds slowly most of the time and not without ups and downs. I think the downs really help us appreciate the strong person we are becoming. My experience with making behavioral changes (not relying on food/exercise rigidity) to manage my emotions is that the more nourished I am (eating more, relaxing movements etc) the stronger I feel mentally. The more I can be resilient to stresses that would have pushed me over the edge in the past. Frail body for me is frailer mind. I think those kind of days are still inevitable but it just becomes easier to pick up the pieces the next day-to keep moving forward-doing the next right thing. You’re working hard. You’re determined. You are getting stronger every day. So many of us are with you in the process. You are not alone.

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Dee. Thank you so much. Thank you for your support and encouragement and for reminding me I am not an outlier.
      You’ve said what I am thinking inside yet find hard to admit. I feel healthy in so many ways but still knowing I am underweight, I know this has a physiological repercussion – which is why there is always a part of me that knows/believes that being more nourished would also improve and strengthen my mental strength and stability. Which is why when I have hard days like this, I feel determined to work on my recovery. Thankyou, again.

  4. Jamie@TheMomGene | 25th May 17

    So I’m over here praying AND cheering you on. You are SO strong and you have such a heart. Determination and even small changes lead to big things. Maybe you hit your limit for a reason? To get you rolling the right direction at a steady pace. I believe in you that you can live differently in a calmer and more satisfying place.

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Thank you, Jamie. I do think it has a reason and I strive to find this place of greater calm.

  5. Emily Swanson | 25th May 17

    I so relate. Praying for you knowing that Jesus has taken me from the very lowest and darkest and restored what I didn’t even think was possible. <3
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Why I Hope To Never Weigh Myself Again (Podcast)My Profile

  6. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 25th May 17

    I’m sorry you had such a bad day, love, and had everything happen all at once. Maybe there’s a reason everything collided like it did – to ignite that determination in you. I’ve certainly been there – and been embarrassed about how I’ve felt and reacted to things – in fact, just last weekend I had one of these instances and I was so upset about it, and even Ed tried to talk me out of what I was feeling at the time saying it wasn’t a big deal. And then the next day I looked back, it wasn’t a big deal. But I think we need to let ourselves feel those emotions in the moment. I’m always here to talk if you need to
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…Best Salt Lake City EatsMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Its an interesting balance. I do think it is very important we let ourselves feel whatever emotions we are in the moment. Though it is also good to have someone by your side bringing in a more rational look and maybe calm us down. That being said sometimes that is not helpful in the moment and we need to live out those emotions and then see for ourselves the next day that we can handle whatever it was. These are suck hard moments but somehow they do always pass.

  7. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 25th May 17

    Sending hugs, love and lots of extra determination. It may not always feel like it, but you are doing great. Even identifying these tough times and sitting with the emotions is hard and something few people actually do. You’re amazing. Keep working it.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Currently: May 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Thank you, Meg. <3

  8. Ellie Pell | 25th May 17

    Oh Cora that sounds like a terrible day, I hope you know you can always reach out to me when this happens. Talking to someone (and I don’t cost you $160) usually at least helps you sort the brain 🙂 I have hit rock bottom many times and will in the future. In a weird way, it is exciting because if I feel stuck, it usually pulls me out and I see myself and my life much more clearly afterwards.
    But in the midst of it, it SUCKS
    xoxoxo
    Ellie Pell recently posted…My Emergency Snack KitMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Yep – it does. Its really really hard. But somehow we always get through it.
      Its such a strange balance because after these days happen, I can feel a greater sense of clarity and this strong push for change, yet with the clarity comes a lot of sadness. Its really hard to face and really hard work to push through it. But its also the most powerful moments. Damn its hard.

  9. Bethany | 25th May 17

    I love that you found that determination! It is tough! I also love that you are sharing these thoughts. I hope it helps. You are not alone. I’ve been there.
    Bethany recently posted…A Day In The LifeMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Thank you Bethany. Sharing these thoughts in a public setting is still not totally comfortable, but it does help. Which is why I’m doing it. And I hope it helps others to know they are not alone if they ever feel like this.

  10. chasetheredgrape | 25th May 17

    I’m so sorry you went through this. It’s a crappy time when it happens and there is no other way to put it. I find when this happens to me I must allow myself to feel it first, and accept that it is ok to feel this way. It’s human. Only then do I have the breakthrough that if I want things to be change I have to change. It’s that personal responsibilty that allows me to pull myself back up again. Only I can make myself truly happy.

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      And that realization can be both extremely hard – scary, in fact – and the most empowering. For these moments of change, there really is no one else that can step in. Its you. And maybe that’s what these really really hard days and lessons are for. To remind us of that.

  11. Lauren | 25th May 17

    Sending you a big virtual hug! It’s like you wrote an entry from my life: I recognise the need to change but can’t seem to take that next step – despite being reminded of the irreversible damage I’ve caused 24/7 and paying big bucks for specialist advice! This is a hard process and I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix it – for you and for me. Until then, let’s just remind ourselves to be kind to ourselves and to take each day as it comes. I read a novel recently in which the main character said “It can be strength to know when to change your mind”… and it’s so darn true!!

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Lauren – I hear you… exactly. It hurts. I havn’t been able to take that next step for so painfully long now, I really do think something like this had to happen to finally push me over. Gosh I so do not wish a horrible awful no good day has to happen to you in order for you to get that new determination or push. I’m not sure when or how it will come to you, but I hope it does with clarity and compassion. And then when it does, take it and run. That’s what I’m doing right now, haha. It feels a bit chaotic and crazy like I’m holding on for dear life but I just do not want to look back even for a second.
      Email me anytime.

  12. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 26th May 17

    Oh my goodness what a day! Those days are so testing and I love how you were able to challenge your mindset. I can’t always do that on bad days. But you are right, when we do it can be an attitude changer!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…5 Friday FavesMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      I can’t always do it either. But I think it is these moments that have the ability to strengthen us 10x more than any other.

  13. Lyss | 26th May 17

    I think sometimes hitting rock bottom DOES create change. I also think that hitting rock bottom in life is inevitable. Embrace the pain but let that pain ignite determination for change. Lean on others and lean on yourself. Sending all the love your way Cora <3
    Lyss recently posted…Transferring to Intuitive EatingMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      True words, Lyss.

  14. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups | 26th May 17

    Hugs girl, that was a rough day! It is wonderful that you were able to challenge how you were thinking about it though and refocus. I try to remind myself when I am having a bad one that it is a “bad day, not a bad life” I think it was a celebrity quote I saw once, but it helps me. Now when I am in the middle of a rough week, month, whatever, it’s harder to keep that in mind, but I try. Hope you have a good weekend!

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Its true, Emily. It does help to shrink your focus onto a single day. Thank you

  15. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 26th May 17

    It’s a testament to how strong of a person that you are that you let yourself use this rough time to find a new determination. And I’m so sorry. That does sound like a truly awful day. 🙁
    I can relate to what you’re saying about hitting rock bottom creating change. One way I felt that was with my eating disorder. I don’t know that I would have escaped the disordered eating I had for many years if I hadn’t let myself become so severely anorexic. It was only when I was absolutely desperate that I let myself make a major, major change to my approach in life.
    I used to watch Veggie Tales when I was a kid. The scene that really stuck with me was when Larry Boy finds himself being beaten up by the evil weed in the sewer and he says, “Okay. I can do this. I am, after all, a super hero.” So this is my friendly reminder that you’re a super hero. 😉
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…12 Low-FODMAP, Low-Sugar Snack Ideas for IBSMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      🙂 Thank you, Joyce. I do love Veggie Tales.
      Its true. Sad and scary but true. I think a lot of people go through a low-grade/hidden torment for much much longer periods of time because they don’t hit that place of rock bottom where they are left with nothing but desperation. Which is just as tragic. I would have never started the recovery process if things hadn’t gotten to an impossible level of rock bottom. Wish it didn’t have to be this way. But at least when these types of days happen we can hopefully feel the empowerment that they can teach us.

  16. Kat | 26th May 17

    You are so amazing. And inspiring. And beautiful.
    While no one loves a tough day, I think that they are beyond important for us in terms of growth. I mean just look at all you’ve come to terms with because of it! Look at how things have shifted, perspective wise, and how much more determined you are now.
    Rock bottom is something we all hit eventually – whether it be in our 20s or in our 50s – and some of us lucky ones get to hit it more than once [that’s sarcasm, of course]. Some of my biggest “aha!” moments have come from my growth after my rock bottom – which to me makes it all the more worth it. <3
    Kat recently posted…Fluffy Coconut Flour Waffles [ Paleo / Gluten-Free]My Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Haha. Yeah I feel like my 20s have been a whole sea bottom of rocks and a submarine thats having a hard time leaving it….
      You are right though, Kat. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I wish we didn’t have to experience such struggle and pain in order to learn and grow and feel empowered. But its the rules of physics… I guess? (I hated physics). What goes down must come up. So since we can’t fight this thing called life and its unfortunate and stubborn ways, we just have to continue taking these rock bottoms and rising up even higher each time.
      Thank you <3

  17. Casey the College Celiac | 27th May 17

    Sending you TONS of love. Tuesday was a real doozy for me too, so I totally understand where you’re coming from. I definitely believe that discomfort or pain can force us to grow (“growing pains” is quite accurate).
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…5 Secrets on How to Love Your Body with a Chronic IllnessMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th May 17

      Blegh, sorry you had a tough spot in your week, too. Hope things are feeling much better now <3

  18. Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday | 30th May 17

    I’m so sorry about the hard days, girl. They suck and can be so unexpected (I felt awesome and strong on Sunday, but yesterday was one for me). But I’m so proud that you got back up and became determined. That’s such a wonderful feeling. Carry that with you and push on – and I’m always here if you need to talk or a reminder of why you should 🙂

  19. Kaylee | 30th May 17

    I am so sorry to hear that every little thing was not going your way that day, or days rather. It’s definitely hard not to take things personally when you feel the world is against you. I was feeling quite low about a month ago. What’s scary for me is that rock bottom can hit so quickly. One moment I am completely content but then the next I am wallowing in self-pity and loneliness. I find I am not fully prepared with ways to cope so I distract myself. Then when my distractions go all the wrong ways, I feel even more down. (Just re-read that and I apologize if I’m not making any sense!)

    It seems to me you’ve already recognized the silver lining from your experience–that sense of determination and the jumpstart to make changes. But if you ever need to talk in the moment for future days like this, feel free to message me.

    PS The future auditor in me loves that little rock bottom comic illustration. ?
    Kaylee recently posted…Week in Review: Random RealizationsMy Profile

  20. Evangeline | 2nd Jun 17

    This is so interesting, Cora, not the terrible-very-bad-no-good day, but the concept of needing to be at our lowest before we actually seek a total, holistic life reboot. I’ve actually prayed for that rock bottom moment for a person in my life. That sounds cruel, but sometimes we need those moments to realize that “oh gosh, this is hell. I don’t ever want to be here again. What do I need to do to never be here again?” I’m super happy that the nasty day is OVER, but I’m still sending lots of love as you continue your journey. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. It’s incredibly encouraging.

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