The reality of hitting "rock bottom"

Catherine Liberty's picture

This week I want to talk about the reality of hitting rock bottom. What does it mean to hit rock bottom and is it always a bad thing?

People often ask me what happened in my own life to make me want to seek bulimia treatment after suffering for almost 11 years.

When I make a list of the reasons the one thing I always find myself saying helped the most is “hitting rock bottom”.

After almost 11 years my bulimia was worse than ever, it had taken away every part of my life and it was killing me.

Being a slave to my bulimia was the only life I knew:

  • I had no friends because bulimia was the only friend I thought I needed.
  • I had no ambitions because bulimia told me there was no time.
  • I had no hope because bulimia told me I would never escape.

Realizing I had reached "rock bottom"

It was July 2009 and I was probably at the lowest I had ever been. At this point I’d been crying myself to sleep for months. I was bingeing and purging around 20 times a day - every day. I’d even pushed away everything and everyone I loved so I could devote all my time to my destructive behaviours.

I hadn’t known it was possible to hurt so much before that point. I realized I had finally reached the “rock bottom” that I heard so many people talking about.

It’s funny, I thought I’d been at rock bottom many times before, especially during the years in which I struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, but this rock bottom was a new low.

I don’t know how to describe it apart from a total abandonment of all hope.

Bulimia had made me accept a fate that was never really meant for me.

It's safe to say that hitting rock bottom terrified me

But  it also did something else, something wonderful and unexpected - IT EMPOWERED ME!

Finding myself at an all-time low somehow gave me the courage to start believing in the possibility of something better. I had no idea what that “something better” was or how I would get there, but through my desperation I started to believe in something more.

When you’re at rock bottom things cannot get any worse. So how is that a good thing? Well, when things can’t get any worse, they can only either:

1. Stay the same - or
2. Get better

When I started to recover I had no idea if full recovery even existed. I had no idea if it would be possible or if I would be strong enough to make it.

I had no idea if there would even be a person left at the end of it because at that time bulimia was my entire identity and life. Part of me thought that by removing bulimia from my life I would be left with an un-fillable void but I was so low I knew it would be impossible to feel any worse.

Knowing things couldn't get any worse is where a lot of my motivation, courage and hope came from at first...

So for me being at “rock bottom” wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it forced me to admit to myself that above all else - I WANTED TO LIVE.

There is a beautiful quote from one of my favourite songs that says, “Believe something more than what you see”.

When you’re trapped by bulimia it can sometimes be impossible to see a way out so you have to make yourself believe in things you can’t even imagine.

When you’re at rock bottom it’s hard to make yourself see the light, but I want you to know that it is always there.

It's sad that it often takes feeling like you've hit rock bottom before you want to recover from bulimia

But as you progress with your recovery you will realize that you can take strength from the strangest of places.

It is very possible to manifest courage from the darkest places. To use the bad times as fuel to get to the good times.

Some things to consider this week...

This week I want you to think about your own highs and lows in recovery so far, because I think it's safe to say that you will have experienced your fair share of them.

Then I want you to remember one thing - whether you're accessing bulimia treatment online like I did, or going through traditional forms of treatment - even if you can’t really see it yet, recovery will give you more than you ever thought possible.

More than anything, this week I want you to believe something more than what you see!


Mouli's picture
You absolutely hit the nail

You absolutely hit the nail on the head!!!!! I can SO relate to your article and have been there myself, that 'total abandonment of all hope'. Just BRILLIANT!!!! Thank you.....and now there is SO much hope with people like you and everyone on this site How exciting :)
m x

Mouli's picture
oh and by the way Catherine,

oh and by the way Catherine, when I read your profile and you said "you can recover" I thought yeah you might but not me, But do you know what I know now?....YOU CAN RECOVER.....a million thanks ;) x

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Mouli! Thank you so much

Hi Mouli!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I am totally over the moon to hear how you feel about recovery now. To see that being here has had such a dramatic impact on how you feel about the future and beating bulimia is just wonderful.

I remember feeling the same when I first joined Bulimia Help. I would read what Ali said, I would see other people making progress in recovery and doing what I thought was the "impossible" and I'd tell myself - just because they can do it doesn't mean I can.

But just like you in not much time I was proven wrong. Every single day I see people who started off by saying "I can't recover" making the most astounding progress and doing the things that they never believed they could do.

We all know that this site saved my life, and it is an honour to be able to spend my days here now encouraging others to believe that there is always a way out!

Take care

Catherine x

Lamby's picture
I think I have bottomed out

I think I have bottomed out many times over the years. Once I almost succeeded at suicide. I couldn't stand the fact that I pitted all my will and all my energies towards stopping b again, again, again and again only to fail unmercifely every single time. I thought it was all my fault. I felt so low that I wanted to kill myself because I couldn't bear the pain and searing shame of my secret behavior. I tried and failed at suicide. My parents found me and then took me to an obnoxious full-of himself shrink who announced that it was not a serious attempt and probably only a ploy to get help. I wanted to spit on this guy. It was only from a strange twist of fate that I was saved. I couldn't bear the thought of yet another failure and I would never ask my parents for help with something so unspeakably humiliating. If I thought anything could help I wouldn't have tried to kill myself. You have to be in a really low state to attempt suicide because you don't know what happens after you die. But you don't care either because you just can't stand another day in hell. I've often heard the expression *the darkest hours are before the dawn", but I've had so many relapses all expressions sound trite to me. Except, amazingly, yours. I feel flooded with relief and hope since starting this program. I think part of it is because we're all in the same boat (like AA for example) We draw strength from comraderie and not feeling so isolated. We are led by superb leaders that honestly care about us. I actually think this program is a miracle in my life. If I succeed I will be the most grateful person on earth.

sally anton

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