Eminem wrote a song back in 1999 titled “Rock Bottom,” in which there is a line that says, That’s rock bottom, when you feel like you’ve had it up to here cause you’re mad enough to scream but you’re sad enough to tear.
People often talk about hitting rock bottom, they say it's the point when you can’t possibly get any lower in life. They say that once you've hit this point the only way to go is up, but no one ever tells you how to climb out of the darkness that suffocates your every thought and action throughout the day.
To make matters worse, when you’re feeling this way it doesn't help that no one wants to take time out of their day to listen to what you have to say. The common response is usually… pull yourself together, it will get better. Thanks, I'll try to do that, fantastic advice, I really appreciate it.
Everyone experiences low points in their lives, yet no one wants to offer a helping hand to those experiencing it currently. It’s almost as if once we get out of rock bottom, we want someone else to feel the pain we felt, we want them to experience the self-loathing and frustration just as we did. Rather than help someone, people will just throw out the good old “It will get better,” and then change the subject, as if they are too good for your issues, and above talking about such feelings.
So, the question remains, how do we climb our way out of rock bottom? It is a question that only you can answer, because everyone's rock bottom is different. Although everyone’s rock bottom is different, we all tend to fall into the same trap created by self-pity. This trap will have you belittling someone else’s hardships, viewing them as inferior to your own.
You may find yourself comparing your struggles to another person’s hardships to see if you have it worse. All that’s doing is attributing more time and energy to what’s bringing you down, rather than putting that energy into finding a way to overcome the seemingly infinite darkness that plagues your every movement.
This is a common trap we as human fall into, we all want to be able to say we’ve had it the hardest and have others feel for us. For whatever reason, we as a species crave pity, probably because it is a way to acquire more attention for ourselves in an ever so selfish world. Steer clear of feeling this way because it does absolutely nothing but put you back in the never-ending cycle. This isn’t going to make your hardships end any sooner, leave the judgement to the man upstairs and focus on how you can start to feel positive again rather than belittling someone else’s hardships.
Once you’ve identified the self-pity trap, and carefully maneuvered around it, the first step to climbing out, is to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. This sounds rather basic, but when you’ve truly hit your low point, you know what a struggle it is to leave your room and face the world. You must find something to give you the slightest bit of joy, even if it’s getting out of bed to get a small package that came in the mail from your grandma. That may be the only source of joy for the day, but that's all it takes to get back on the path to happiness.
Our brain is a very selfish piece of anatomy. Every time we feel good, it does whatever necessary to get that feeling again. This can work against us in the form of drugs and addiction, but it also helps us in a time when we’ve almost lost hope.
By getting joy from something as small as receiving a package in the mail, buying your favorite snack, or watching your favorite TV show, your brain wants to get that feeling again, not necessarily by doing the exact same thing, but in any way possible.
So, by dragging yourself out of bed to get that package in the mail, you’re putting a little thought of joy in your mind, and now throughout the day your mind is going to continue to put thoughts in your head that relate back to happiness whenever possible. It may just be a few memories of when you were a child and things were simpler, or maybe it’s a previous goal you had that was buried by sadness and insecurity but has resurfaced again.
These are small little thoughts that pop into our heads, but they carry great value with them. They have joy attached to them which is infectious to the body and helps to change our mindset by, if nothing else, distracting us from the pain and desperation we may feel.
That small thought that resurfaced is all it takes, that is your brain's way of trying to get you back on track…Why do you think people often turn to drugs? It's not because they like the way it looks or how they are perceived, it is because of how it makes them feel. Drugs take the focus off of the hopelessness and sorrow we feel on the daily, but instead of using drugs, you can get that same feeling by putting yourself in situations that make you happy.
It seems rather basic, but seriously think about it, when you are doing something that your truly enjoy, it's kind of hard to be upset, right? So, it is imperative for you to find something that gives you joy in any circumstance, no matter what is going on in your life. Something that will take the focus off the war zone inhabiting your mind and shift the attention back to what it feels like to experience happiness.
The more thoughts that you have of joyous things, the more likely you are to act on them, which in turn will start to make you feel happy again. This takes time, but if you act on just a few positive thoughts each day, you will see your mood start to change. Suddenly, you're finding yourself happier and focusing less on the negative thoughts that hold your brain captive.
I like to think of these little pieces of happiness as emergency joys. They are what you use to gain back happiness when everything else around you is so dark that you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face.
These emergency joys are what help you to feel around in that darkness and find a light switch. That switch turns on a small light in the distance that you start to walk towards. The closer you get to that light in the distance, the brighter the path becomes, and you will see the darkness begin to fade. Emergency joys kick start the process of getting us back on track when all else in our lives fails and we are down to our final strike.
We all have these emergency joys inside of us, they never fail at doing their job, they are like the Navy SEALs of your mind, called into action when things are critical. By using these emergency joys, we are able to muster up the energy to start walking towards that small light, the light that leads to happiness, the light that leads you out from the dark cave of rock bottom. The light that leads you back to actually enjoying life, instead of waiting for the day to be over so you can have a few hours without brutalizing yourself with insults and self-doubt.
Emergency joys are there so you will never forget what joy feels like, no matter how long you have been held hostage by darkness, emergency joys show you that light always exists, and they will give you the courage to keep moving forward so you can see that light again one day.