We have all heard the saying, “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you are ready to change.” This is something that I know first hand. I also know others who have gone through the same experience. In fact, most of us will have to rebuild our lives at some point in life.
It may come from an unexpected loss, the death of a loved one, a job, or it could be our own self-destructive behavior. It does not matter the cause, because the outcome is the same. A life in shambles, the feeling of no hope, bitterness, and blame. You can feel the walls of despair closing in on you as depression sets into your life.
Life seems overwhelming and we become frozen in place, shut down. For some, it sends them into a self-medication period or an overeating binge. All the while we distance ourselves from friends and loved ones.
When you find yourself at rock bottom, It is time to examine your life and figure out what has brought you to this place. Make a list, because when you write it down you can easily decide what is most important. You can also devise a plan to begin the journey of rebuilding.
A good approach is to begin by controlling what you can. We can all control what goes into our bodies. Alcohol and drugs will just bring us down, even more, the problem still exists but now our minds are clouded.
What we eat also has a huge effect on how we feel. If we eat sugar or foods heavy with fats, we will feel it. Excess sugar will cause us to hit highs and then come crashing down feeling worse than ever. Unhealthy food will make your whole system feel sluggish. Cut it all out. We do not need them and once our system begins functioning better on healthy fuel, we will not miss them. Challenge yourself by being strong and watching your food intake.
The more you start to take control of your life, the better you feel. It is time to make commitments with some new habits. A lot of hugely successful people start the day early with some exercise. I am not suggesting that you begin with a gym membership. We must crawl before we can walk, so start small. Try walking around your neighborhood every day for thirty minutes in the mornings, without distractions and without stopping. I am not talking about a treadmill! Get outdoors where the weather and terrain varies daily. Use this alone time to think about life and plan your day.
After a series of events in my life, I found myself all alone in a place I had never been. I was depressed and fat, with no idea what I would do with my life from that point forward. The first day I shut myself inside the hotel suite and felt sorry for myself. I didn’t want to face reality. My old life was no more. The people I knew would never and could never be a part of my new life. I had brought everything on myself because of my actions, so the only person I could blame was myself.
I decided that I should begin walking every morning for an hour. I was out the door before light that second day. I walked every day for the rest of that first week. After my walk, I would come back to the suite and watch TV. Eventually, I ventured across the street after dark to a huge bookstore and bought some books and a notepad. I developed a routine. Walk, read, write about my life and eat fresh unprocessed food. After that first week, I found a Mixed Martial Arts gym and I started walking past it every day. Martial arts had been an important part of my early life, but it had been a few years since I had been in a martial arts gym. I checked out the class schedule and thought about joining. It took me almost a month to finally decide to walk into the gym. When I did, I decided on a whim to take a class.
The class gave me over an hour a day when the only thing I could think about was the class. My head was clear and focused when I trained. I developed a new schedule. I would walk every day for an hour, come back and watch two shows, then go take a class, read a book for learning (history, science, etc), eat lunch, work on writing the story of my life, and later read another book for pleasure. This routine pulled me out of the hole I had dug for myself.
Writing about my life laid bare the fact that all of my problems had been caused by the choices I made. I started a list of things that I had to change, and believe me it was a huge list. I started working on one of them at a time. I am still working on the list and it grows all the time. I have found that I gain confidence every time I conquer a personal dislike. People might feel my life is too regimented and strict, but it is actually freeing.
Find something that you can get into. Something that allows you to forget about your problems and clear your mind for a time, even if you can see no immediate benefit.
When you develop a new routine, make a pact with yourself that you will not stop for a month.
Write about your thoughts and problems. Keep a diary, even if it is just a short e-mail you send to yourself at the beginning of each day. This is enormously helpful and it is between you and you alone.
As I was writing this post, I counted at least five times that I have hit bottom and started to rebuild my life. The best thing to come out of those experiences is that I have tread familiar ground repeatedly. I do not know what the says about me, but at least I know what choices I no longer wish to make.
I spoke to two others about the aftermath of their destructive lives. I asked them both what helped them come back from the brink. One told me that when he was doing his thing it was about him. When it all came crashing down it affected those close to him. He let everyone down. He had support and he decided that he would take it and better himself. The second person told me he realized he was a grown man and if he did nothing he would be wasting his life. The life he had was no longer part of the equation, so he started one step at a time and day by day it got better.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.