Have you ever thought about the negative thought processes you engage in?
I have, and what I’ve discovered about myself was pretty saddening.
About three or four months ago, my depression and anxiety had become simply unmanageable. My bedroom was filthy, I was washing my hair maybe once every two weeks, I was only leaving my apartment to go to work (which was limited since my hours had been cut), I was isolating myself from people and things that I loved, I was spending full days in my bed… But at the time, I could not see that I had hit my version of rock bottom.
Let me tell you why.
The thing about humans is that we are all extremely unique beings. We experience things differently, have different ways of internalizing life events, and all around we simply process things differently from one person to the next. When we consider these differences, it seems logical to understand that each of us, as individuals has different versions of what low points of our lives look like.
I think that the work I do had a hand in the negative thought processes I began engaging in at this time. At the time when my mental health was rapidly declining, I was working as a Social Recreation Worker at a community mental health organization. When I take that into account, I can understand that I was seeing people who were some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in my city. I saw people who I was working with, and saw that they were struggling and I began to engage in thought processes such as:
“I’m not that sick. Other people have it so much worse than I do.”
“I don’t deserve to get help, other people need it more.”
I have since reflected on these thoughts and I have been able to realize just how detrimental they were. These thoughts had a huge hand in why I was super reluctant to reach out for support that I desperately needed. I viewed myself as a helper and was of the belief that I should have been able to handle things on my own. How could I be providing support and assistance to other people when I couldn’t even figure out how to support and assist myself?
What I have finally come to accept and acknowledge, is that as humans are all unique in the ways we process, experience and internalize things, we all have different versions of high and low points in our own lives. What might be difficult for my best friend, might not be difficult for me, and by the same token something that completely debilitates me might be something easy to handle for my best friend.
I realize now that three months ago I had hit the lowest point of my life, and for me that became my rock bottom. It didn’t matter that other people also had struggles, what matters is that for me, I was experiencing the hardest point of my life thus far. I was experiencing the lowest point of my life. I was not experiencing the same things that people around me were experiencing and the fact that I was trying to compare my struggles with those of others, was in fact me invalidating my own experiences. I was subconsciously saying to myself that my struggles weren’t valid and that they were not hard enough to warrant me worrying about them or seeking help.
If you find yourself struggling, focus on your struggles, your experiences and how you are processing these things. Please remember that the struggles and experiences of others have no bearing on you and yours. The things that are hard for you are just that, hard for you. The fact that you are struggling is completely separate from how other people experience and process struggles. Please remember that your experiences are valid and if you feel like you are slipping into your version of low, that you are worth reaching out for help and support.
A struggle is a struggle.
We may all experience low points differently,
but conquering them can give a universal high.