I have a confession to make. Rather recently, I came very close to the edge. The edge is that last foothold between you and rock bottom. It’s the last solid ground you get before you fall into that darkest of pits.
I’ve heard stories about people hitting rock bottom, but I haven’t heard too many talk about that point in time where you haven’t quite yet dropped into the rabbit hole and are desperately clinging on to the cliffside.
You see, rock bottom isn’t a place you accidentally find yourself in. To be honest, I don’t really believe it when people say that they woke up one day and hated their lives, hated the people they’ve become, wanted nothing more than to throw in the towel and call it quits on everything. I just don’t believe it.
Hitting rock bottom follows a similar pattern every time. It all starts with something shitty happening. It may have been because we made a mistake, did something stupid or just got unlucky. Whatever the reason, something happened that shifted our way of thought into a darker spectrum.
In my case, it was getting my heartbroken. Or rather, breaking my own heart, since I was the one to decide that breaking things off was in both of our best interests.
When something happens to you that hurts you enough to change your perception of the world into a negative light, you grow further away from the person you used to be.
Every time we see the worst in people, the worst in ourselves, the worst in the world, a part of us dies — the part that’s innocent, pure, happy, and beautiful. Every time we think drastically differently than the way we once thought, we change.
These changes won’t be visible. Not at first. But eventually, the rot from inside makes its way outward. With bad thoughts come bad habits, bad tendencies, bad experiences. We start to make bad decisions.
At first, we tell ourselves it’s because we deserve a bit of fun. We now believe that making bad decisions, drinking, doing drugs and fucking strangers is fun.
But one day, we find ourselves lying in bed next to someone whose name we can’t remember. The room is spinning and we want to barf, partly because our body can’t take the punishment, and partly because we’re sick of our own behavior.
Yet, we don’t stop. Oh no, we’re just getting warmed up. Now, we’re disgusted with ourselves, and have to punish ourselves. So we make more bad decisions.
And the cycle goes on and on and on. The more you punish yourself, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the more negative thoughts and energy you have, and the more shit tends to happen to you. The more the world shits on your head, the further away from yourself you grow.
It’s important to remember that during this time, you’re not constantly feeling like crap. You have moments of happiness. Moments of content. You’ll even experience some successes. So fully understanding how bad things really are is difficult.
But you won’t celebrate those successes. You won’t be able to. You’ll try to, but you aren’t capable of it anymore. You’ve filled your world with so much negativity and despair that your brain now has difficulty responding the way you want it to respond.
You should be happy, but you’re not. You’ve conditioned yourself to have sadness, regret, and anger as your baseline. So while most people only have a few steps to go from baseline to happiness, you have several miles.
All those stress hormones that your brain was consistently releasing for so long have altered the way your neurons fire. It’s also damaged the connectivity between these neurons and the different parts of your brain.
You’re literally killing yourself, albeit slowly, and you don’t even realize it.
As your brain changes, your norm changes — whatever you consider the norm to be. You begin to forget how negative you’re being and simply accept it as a normal response to what’s going on in your life.
Do you see what just happened there? You’ve changed completely. You are no longer the person you used to be. Yet, you claim to be. Or you tell yourself that you’ve simply matured and have come to better understand the world. You just understand it with all its darkness and hopelessness.
At this point, you’ve changed so much that you aren’t recognizable. Of course, you probably put on a great show. You know, to keep up appearances. But on the inside, you know you’re different. Not in a good way. In fact, in the worst of possible ways. You’ve changed into someone you don’t like. And the longer you live as this person, the faster that dislike turns into hatred.
You don’t one day just wake up and find yourself at rock bottom. But you do wake up one day and find yourself on the edge that I was talking about earlier.
You wake up and realize that you’ve been living the wrong life. You had to make a decision at some point or another that led you down the wrong path, but you aren’t sure when that moment was. This is your life, but it shouldn’t be. This isn’t for you. This isn’t you. Where did it all go wrong?
You can sulk, feel bad for yourself and hate yourself while you ponder over that question. But the truth is, that isn’t where your focus should be. Your focus needs to be on getting yourself and your life back on the right track.
You have a decision to make. Are you going to give up on yourself and allow yourself to continue following down this cursed path? Or are you going to admit that you’ve had enough of the life that you’ve been living, enough of the person that you’ve become, and decide that you’re not going to fuck this life up? Because you only get one.
If you can say that you’ve had enough of the life you were living, that you aren’t ready to call it quits just yet and that you will create change, then I promise you that you will grab onto that edge, pull yourself up and change your life for the better.
It took me seeing the bottom to force change upon myself. You don’t need to wait that long. I guess it’s just easier taking the path in life you were meant to take when you see that bottom — when you see how the story could end for you.
You don’t make a change when you find some hidden strength unbeknownst to you. When you can take the way you’ve been living your life — take your actions, your habits, your thoughts, your emotions — and see where continuing them all will lead you, that’s when you make a change.
You make a change because you’ve never been so incredibly scared. Once you close your eyes, watch your life unfold, watch as you spend the rest of your life slowly dying, and realize that that’s the only way things can go if you don’t change, you will change.
I don’t know about you, but since I’m the one writing my own ending, I’m going to make it one of legend.