I had it all once even before hitting the rock bottom.
I had what a girl could ever wish for until I was faced with a great confusion.
I went through my everyday life numb and everything seemed blurred.
I wasn’t happy but didn’t know what went wrong. I was depressed but I didn’t know what being depressed even meant. It doesn’t exist in my country. If it does, I’d be made fun of and I will be treated like a hopeless mental case.
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Everyone will be keeping their safe distance from me.
I couldn’t blow my cover. I know I am not that kind of crazy.
I left my job with no funds only with a hope that I will be fixed.
I didn’t know how but I will surely figure it out.
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In my persistence through my struggles and confusion, I fell face flat into rock bottom and here are the things that I have learned:
A Strong Sense of Self
Rock bottom lead me to find my box of hidden treasure called authenticity.
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I discovered my weakness, strengths, long forgotten dreams and my set aside and buried passion.
It’s through my struggles where I found how strong I can be when I needed to be.
I have learned to listen to the quietest whispers of my soul.
I have learned to trust my instinct.
I have learned to trust myself.
I have learned to love myself.
I have learned to enjoy my own company.
Kiss toxic relationships goodbye
Where I grew up, we’re trained to be nice.
People are incredibly warm, friendly, chatty, hospitable, noisy, chirpy and we must, in every way possible, please people.
We care too much about what other people have to say to the extent of sacrificing what we really want.
Our family has to be consulted first if major life decisions are going to be made.
If we didn’t get our parents’ blessings, we don’t proceed. We don’t try. We don’t push our lucks.
We do things to make other people happy no matter how many times it kills us inside.
If we try to explain things to the elders, we are branded disrespectful.
We must keep our folks happy to be considered good children. We must not try to go against them or else we will be shamed, worst, disowned and the topic to every family gathering.
We love gossip.
We love talking about other people’s misfortune. This goes the same with the careers we want to pursue, the person we will spend the rest of our lives with, where we will live and how much money we will give back to our families even if we already have our own separate lives.
We tolerate financial dependency.
The more money and material things we give back, the better we are as a person.
And this, I can’t tolerate anymore.
I have learned to let these toxic culture and relationships go.
Rock bottom has shown me the real faces of the people around me.
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I have always been independent. Not that I loved it but because I have to. I am the eldest and my parents were away to work.
I grew up intimidating my classmates if not, scaring them with my big built and nerdiness. People seem to come to me if they need help with something and I couldn’t seem to say no.
I was trained to say yes to everything. I was trained to have the solution for everything.
I was never the type to say that I’m tired. I was always game for anything. I have always been a go getter.
Hitting rock bottom taught me that it is okay to say that I am tired, I can’t help, I don’t know the answer, to not do things I don’t like, enjoy time that I am not doing anything and to say that I need help.
I realized that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being brave in admitting that I don’t have everything covered.
It is a sign of maturity and being true to oneself. Pretending that everything is alright just to be perceived as strong and cool isn’t.
If there’s one thing I have learned, accepting help from other people who are willing and ready to help is actually blessing them. Like what my German host mother said, “Don’t always thank me for helping you. It is actually more for me.”
When my world fell apart, I needed to build a new one. This thought even makes me think at times: was my ruined world mine or was it the world society and my family built for me?
Because I didn’t know what happened, I just woke up one day grasping for air. That world has almost suffocated me. I needed to destroy the old one and build a new one where I can call the shots.
I have built a new one from the rubble and shambles and there weren’t really so much if I will use my old standards.
Hitting the rock bottom showed me a different view about life and this view includes a lot of gratefulness.
It showed me the simple life, dreams and wishes of my nine year old self void of any worldly needs.
It showed me more than 100 things to be happy about.
Everyday, I am losing count of the things that I am thankful for.
It showed me how to celebrate a new appreciation on things and these things are not even material ones.
My depression keeps on relapsing but whenever I will start counting my blessings, it gives me peace knowing that I have more than what it needs to be okay again.
Hitting rock bottom showed me that there are so many ways to live my life.
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Hitting rock bottom allowed me to reboot my life. That I can always turn around if I don’t like the direction where my life is taking me no matter what my age is.
I was 29 when I hit the deepest rock bottom but my life actually didn’t end there like what people around me used to tell me.
Actually, a new one that I like more started. I used the emptiness and blankness that I used to see as a clean canvas to design my new life and pursue an entirely different path.
Rock bottom has allowed me to try different versions of myself and stick to the ones that I like.
I wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of the few people who saw the potential I have been keeping inside me.
And to you who keep on reading what I am writing, THANK YOU so much. =)
Trust the Universe
I know only dead fish go with the flow but by saying I go with the flow, I meant that I have written down my goals and face each day having them in mind.
I am doing everything according to it.
When I found myself and what really matters to me, I stopped over planning and being a perfectionist.
I figured that wanting everything perfect has given me a lot of pressure and stress that even me couldn’t stand.
I stopped expecting anything from anyone even from myself.
I know what my goals are and as long as I work hard and step on nobody, I can trust that the Universe has the best intentions for me.
One important realization dawned on me.
Without enough knowledge and understanding, I had fears and I was in despair.
While sitting and sulking in the deep hole that I dug for myself, I realized that I have options:
1. To stay stuck or
2. Use the time to educate myself and strategize how to snap out of it.
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I gathered that it will be my fault if I will not do anything and just stay where I was.
I realized that indeed, the obstacle is the way.
I realized that it was my thoughts, heavy emotions and untold stories that are making me miserable so I must do something about it. That’s when this blog was launched.
I am learning how to write.
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I am learning how to make opportunities for myself.
I need to release myself from the chains I have tied myself with.
I disciplined myself to make time for learning, to keep educating myself. A guy I dated told me that I should be patient with myself and though how hard it has been and still will be, I will keep on trying. I will keep on investing in myself.
Rock bottom has taught me to draw a solid borderline from people who are consistent in trying to cross the line.
I read once that the boat didn’t sink because of the storm but because of the water that got inside it.
As a person who’s recovering from depression, I need to protect myself from negative energies that would drain mine as this will make my depression fall into a habitual cycle.
If I will not be firm in guarding my border well, I will forever have to deal with trespassers.
Fail. Fail forward. Fail better.
The most important takeaway hitting rock bottom gave me is to see failure, despair and sadness as a very important part of not just success but also of life.
All the pain, confusion, highs and lows made me thankful I’m alive and that I am capable of feeling.
All of my unusual and poor life decisions lead me to the path that I have always wanted to take.
These poor decisions put me to situations that tested my resilience, patience and mental strength.
These taught me to be strong beyond what I can measure.
Without mistakes, I wouldn’t know what I want out if this life.
Without confusion I wouldn’t see that I have options.
Without pain I wouldn’t celebrate everything that feels good.
Without mistakes, I wouldn’t know that I’m doing something right.
I am glad for the darkest days of my life for they have taught me to appreciate even the littlest spark of hope. I learned to celebrate the little joys in a purpose driven life.