I remember the first time I thought I had hit rock bottom. I was crying to my Dad, trying to explain how I didn't feel real anymore, but struggling to find the energy to summon the words I felt so strongly inside. I was having multiple panic attacks daily. I was exhausted and I was terrified. The only positive thought I had was that this was as bad as it was going to get. I couldn't possibly imagine a darkness or feeling of utter despair worse than what I was feeling in that moment. I remember thinking "it's not possible for me to feel any worse than I do right now".
But it was possible.
I remember so clearly the minutes of terror and hopelessness as I sat curled in a ball in the school toilets, screaming as I tried to get the sound of the alarm out of my head. The moment I realised I was in pitch darkness and the alarm was a real fire alarm and not imagined was my new rock bottom. I had to summon the energy to stand up and walk out of the school building where I knew thousands of students would be stood in silence, waiting. Crowds were my absolute worst nightmare and when faced with the options of staying in a potentially burning building in pitch black or going outside to a crowd of people mid-panic attack, I chose burning building. When the teachers eventually came in to look for me it didn't take long for them to locate the source of the screams just outside the bathroom door. After it was all over and my mum had been called to take me home I remember thinking "at least it can't get worse than this".
It did, numerous times over.
My first night alone in my new flat after my parents moved away. I was far from stable enough to live on my own, I wasn't ready. But I was stubborn, I wanted to do it. I had been drinking all night to get to sleep and had woken up covered in vomit. The next thing I remember is lying in the bottom of the shower with blood dripping from my numb stomach whilst being pounded with freezing cold water. It wasn't the time for a motivational cold shower. I felt a crushing loneliness and despair. I wanted everything to be over, I felt beaten. I lay there violently shaking for what felt like an eternity thinking "surely, it can't get any worse".
And it didn't. Things came terrifyingly close but I think that has remained my rock bottom. I don't expect it to stay there. I am fully aware that one day in the future could be worse than any other I have faced up to now. I can't imagine it, but then I couldn't imagine they could get worse before.
The difference is, I now know I can survive it. I know because I have survived what I thought was my limit before and then survived worse and worse. And each time made me stronger. I could now survive my first rock bottom like a walk in the park.
Surviving the worst and then worse again has given me strength I never knew was possible. Strength that I know can carry me through the worse again. The worst has pushed me to a place where nothing can touch me and now I can go to that untouchable place any time I want.
And if life can get worse than I ever thought was possible, what's stopping it getting better than I ever thought was possible?
"And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life" -JK Rowling