What was the absolute "low point" of your life and how did you get out of it (if you don't mind talking about it) ?


So, I'm currently going through what is undeniably the absolute "low point" of my life's trajectory so far.

I guess I'm lucky, that although life has been shitty and rough in some ways previously, I never hit rock bottom before. I guess I should be grateful that I staved it off until my late 40s, where I'm actually "competent" enough to deal with it (sort of) and that it didn't happen to me in my 20s when I was way, way lost in PTSD symptoms and didn't have a clue as to how to deal with it. And I should be grateful that late 40s is still "young enough" to (in theory) have the energy to pull myself out of this hole.

I've been watching some TED talks about mid-life crises and some people say it's a good thing to go through a major life crisis in middle age... That it's kind of a growth thing, like being a mess as a teenager is a growth thing.

So yeah, that's the stuff to theoretically feel grateful for...

In practise, I'm hating it with a passion... I'm miserable, suicidal ideation is my constant companion, everything's a painful mess, I don't know which fire to put out first, I'm numb from how awful it all is, I no longer feel like myself, I feel like I've lost so much of what was integrally important to me, that it's almost not worth the fight to try to salvage the few things that remain. I've ended nearly all of my friendships because I don't feel like I have anything worth offering in terms of friendship. I'm just existing and doing so miserably and I can't compute that anyone who's sane and not co-dependent woud want any part of this mess. Everything feels bleak and hopeless to me. Even if I could get back all of the outward things I've lost, I feel like the inner sense of loss runs so deep that nothing will ever fill that sense of emptiness again.

I could go on... I won't, because it's just more miserableness.

My point is, who's been at this juncture - the worst of the worst - rock bottom - in their past - and has recovered from it?

I need some inspiration 😛 😉

I realise these stories exist (out there, somewhere)... I guess they're not really things you talk to people about much... "What's the absolute worst time in your life?" doesn't come up much in polite conversation/ small-talk.

I know I've heard stories from people who've overcome addiction that have that theme of hitting rock bottom before you finally decide to make the changes you should've made earlier, but not until you were at rock bottom did it force you to do what was right for you.

I've also been watching a documentary series about people who've overcome incredible odds - surviving awful car accidents and learning to walk again or learning to live life fully in a wheelchair, young people with awful cancer diagnoses, people who have overcome all sorts of traum and who tell their stories.

If anyone replies to this - when you were at your absolute worst - did you have hope? Did you think you'd make it? What gave you courage? Was it the desperation? Was the sense of nothing-left-to-lose life changing? Did going through such a massive crisis make you a better person? What helpful life lessons did it teach you?

Thank you, in case anyone replies. I realise it's not easy talking about your worst time in life.
Did you think you'd make it? What gave you courage? Was it the desperation? Was the sense of nothing-left-to-lose life changing? Did going through such a massive crisis make you a better person? What helpful life lessons did it teach you?
The period I was hellbent on suicide. Most of which was spent in hospital, because that was the only place they could keep me alive.

I didn’t think I’d make it (sense of foreshortened future). I didn’t have any hope (major depressive episode - so, brain wasn’t able to produce feelings like hope). And definitely didn’t worry about being courageous.

Ultimately, I chose to try and live as though what my Ts were saying might be true: this might be an illness rather than some kind of absolute truth, I may be able to recover fully, I may be as capable of a life worth living as the next person. Despite how it felt, I did all the things I needed to do to overcome the ‘illness’, if that’s what it was, because the option to end it would always be there.

Did it make me a better person? In a way, yes. It made me a ‘better’ version of myself. I’m now functional, and live a life that’s probably worth living. I’m ‘better’ at coping with the illness I carry around.

But also, no. It didn’t make me a better person. Because I’m still exactly the same person. What I’ve been through is as much ‘who I am’ as the achievements I’ve had in spite of my illness.

The thing that helped me in a big way was ACT. Learning how to accept, rather than struggle endlessly against the things about myself that I didn’t want. I’ve been through trauma. I have a mental illness. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, it’s not good. But it’s what I’ve got.

So, knowing that, what can I do to heal/recover? Putting aside the struggle against all the things I didn’t want to accept, is one of the things that finally allowed me to do something else, something that didn’t involve constantly struggling against those awful truths.
i've been down so low that i needed a ladder to see over a dime more than once in my silver-streaked life, but seems like the most recent low always feels like the lowest. for this spin of the trauma tales, that would have been september 21st, 2019 when my son and his wife were killed in a traffic accident. their 3 children were already in my protective custody, so at least they were less unsettled than they would have otherwise been.

crown that shock with the events of 2020. by my son's first posthumous birthday, i wasn't sure if my listing little ship of fools was grieving the loss of mommy and daddy as much as we were grieving the covidic isolation. just masked, socially distant icing on the shit pie, i reckon.

how did i dig myself out of that world? still digging. . . stepping small, praying big and letting god lead the dance.
I think there's been several rock bottoms through my life. Maybe the worst one was age 13/14. That was worse because I didn't have the power to change anything because I was a kid, and I didn't have the life experience to know that those feelings would end.

In later times when I found myself at the bottom of the pit, I always had hope and believed that things would change and that has made all the difference.
Literally drinking bleach was the lowest point out of a whole lot of lows. That's what finally got me sent to the nut house for a long weekend. But, unsurprisingly, it also helped me back up. I wrote a Wellness Recovery Action Plan while I was there, which helped me recognize when I was going off track and gave me actual things I could do about it.

As long as you're actually continuing to do the work, recovery can be like moving up a tilted spiral. It may seem like you're headed downwards, but that's just your perception - it actuality you are continuing to move upwards.
My lowest points were like, hit bottom, dug down a bit further.

Kept going because I value friends/family very much and I am very thankful I have never hit the ‘better off without me’. Once you see what death/suicide to do a circle of people it’s like ugh. I couldn’t destroy their lives. They are happy, even if I am not. I had to make it, because I can’t hurt them. They don’t deserve that, I don’t want them to live with the pain and regret and the ‘should ifs’ and ‘if onlys’.

Got out of it by sport. My absolute love. And I don’t mean a little walk or a hike. I mean the absolute limits of what the human body can do. I mean training till absolute failure. Even if your mind is a piece of garbage and you don’t know what day of the week it is, stay consistent and you see physical improvement. I worked out bawling, I worked out having not showered, I had friends drag me out in pj’s to run, I worked out bloody and bruised and no idea what my own name was. I just worked. Your mind will go long before your body. So if your mind is already gone, all that’s left was for me to push my body. And bit by bit, my mind cleared.
If anyone replies to this - when you were at your absolute worst - did you have hope? Did you think you'd make it? What gave you courage? Was it the desperation? Was the sense of nothing-left-to-lose life changing? Did going through such a massive crisis make you a better person? What helpful life lessons did it teach you?
Hope? No. I don’t believe in hope. I believe in feeling good about things that are actually happening, what I’m actually doing, no matter how small (hedonism at it’s most skeletal)… rather than feeling good/bad/pain/despair about something that hasn’t happened. (Yes, check out that ratio. I’ve seen the death of hope kill far too many people, feeling infinitely worse -over the same damn thing that hasn’t happened- as they felt good hoping for something that thing that hasn’t happened. Hope? Grosses me out). I only hope for things I’m not willing to do anything about. I hope that works out for you; instead of what can I do to help? I hope summer falls on a weekend, this year; having zero control over the weather, and/or being unwilling or unable to move or travel for better weather.

Did I think I’d make it? Not usually.

Courage? That honestly does depend on the situation… which I’m not going to go into… but if I had to boil it down, the most common would be contingency plans. If A happens? Then I will do B. If C does not happen? Then I will do D.

Was it the desperation? At the lowest points in my life I was waaaaaay past desperate. I was desperate back when things were still reasonably good/still-working. By the time everything was completely f*cked, there was nothing to be desperate about. Like I might be desperate to fix my car, for sooooo many reasons, until it blows up. Then? There ain’t no car. That car is gone.

Was it the sense of nothing left to lose? Nope. The lowest points in my life I had a helluva lot to lose. That’s part of what made them low points. Even if it was “just” my freedom & my life. <<< I was actively suicidal for several years & tried to get myself killed in countless different ways, with a few hardline rules attached (I had to die doing something useful, ideally in someone else’s place, I wasn’t allowed to just stand up in the middle of a firefight kind of thing. So I took jobs in some of the most dangerous places in the world, went on ‘volunteer only’ missions, got in between domestic abuse, went trawling for rapists, negotiated sit downs between gangs, all kinds of crazy ass shit I didn’t expect to walk away from. I even walked across a minefield, at one point to find a clear path for the people behind me. NONE of that / those years makes it into the worst times of my life. I didn’t care about my life, or my freedom, or much of anything else / had nothing left to lose.) The worst times? I cared. Deeply. Not only about my own life, but the lives of others under my protection.

Did going through my worst times make me a better person? Hell no. They made me a very dangerous person. Occasionally a completely f*cking insane person. A bad friend / daughter / partner / mother. Anything that’s made me a better person have been choices I’ve made to be/become who I wanted to be, and putting energy and action there.

What helpful life lessons did it teach me? Almost none, tbh, if we consider life NOT those extremes. “Some people need to die.” & “It’s better to kill someone quickly, for your own sake, even if they deserve to die screaming.”…isn’t something that comes up very often -one would hope- in normal life.

A helluva lotta useful lessons, character building, etc. came from difficult &/or dark periods of my life… But the absolute lowest parts of my life? Not unless we consider “Outta my damn mind is something to avoid” a lesson, rather than what should be stating the obvious.
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I don't like speaking of details, as I consider them gross, and nuts.

I guess my lowest point (and decades past but akin to the bleach-time @somerandomguy mentioned, but was not known by others) was when I had completely tried any and everything I could think of to solve it, attempts for help were dead ends, and I was running on physical, emotional, and psychological fumes. I was completely out of ideas. (Much like now, really). Was living in constant fear. I made an exit plan, based on time it would take me to accomplish something, no date just to wait to see if there was change by then. (I didn't want to kill myself, just couldn't take more). Things unfolded due to little within my control. (Obviously I'm still here).

I don't know what kind of person it is making me? Different. Not necessarily better, just different. I guess I'm more self aware, and not much surprises me.

Good luck to you. 🫂

Oops I am sorry I missed the edit.

I think what contributed was very few places/ spaces I could let my guard down in physical and emotional safety. Not having a secure home.

I think it might have made me more compassionate to others. Maybe more aware of what others don't notice or see or don't think of. Idk?

ETA, I guess what kept me going to the point of getting help was my faith, but I had zero hope.
Different kinds of low points, usually indicated by the kind of bad decision.

There are low points related to:
Substance use and abuse
Suicide attempts or endless consuming SI
Selling my sexuality or trying to give it away
Staying when someone treated me like shit

At my lowest times I had no hope. I did not think I would make it. I needed a T to tell me I would. Usually a T or sometimes a friend gave me courage. The sense of nothing-left-to-lose was exhausting and numbing. Going through those crises contributed to further crises. They were not helpful in teaching me anything, I had nowhere to look and climb but up.

When I faced my shit and developed self-acceptance I felt like absolute garbage but it wasn’t a low point because I was working toward something and was encouraged by my T and the crisis line workers. When I was at my lowest points I was just floating downstream into the sewer, not trying to help myself at all. I had to understand that I was trying to get away from something that was no longer present in my life. And that I would never get away from it, it was both already gone and firmly planted in my brain. Reorganizing my brain was super hard. I realize that I have to keep practicing it to stay okay.
It came to me, I went back to where I had felt hope a year or 2 before, when my sister was terminal. Because I remember leaving that day (was Easter) with hope. And I remember the Christmas after or 1 1/2 years after feeling I wished I had gone back through those years. So I didn't have hope but I went where I was given hope or left with hope.
hard to put low points in a scale relative to other low points. At the time, my bottom had dropped out and after that, who cares if its not as bad as the last time or worse? My biggest bottom drops have been times when i knew i was going to die if the people in the ER werent given enough to work with by the time the ambulance crew got me there. My contributions to my own survival were limited to following the directions given me by the first responders and only having that to stand on is the definition of feeling the bottom dropping away. Sure death in the immediate future is worse than any of the mental anguish and abuses I had already endured as a child, but like i said, when the bottom drops the degree is just a side note.
what got me through?
My own wife and kids family, my history of having survived over and over so i knew it could be done, maybe just my own hard won skill of putting one foot in front of the other when i had to. Maybe thats been my best tool: the sense that as a father i had to.
the daily, long term, slogging through mud low points are best met with distraction, and creativity. The intense, sudden lows are met with the knowledge that this too shall pass, or it wont but i cant do much to change it beyond seeking help and following directions.