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I recently shared my full debt story on Chain of Wealth Podcast. This interview inspired me to create this series. Rise From Rock Bottom tells every story from my failure years - and how I overcame it.
There was a bridge.
I would pass it every day after leaving my luxury apartment, in my high end car. It overlooked the highway and busy cars filled the streets at all hours of the night.
And every day I would think to myself... "I wish I could just jump off."
My life had become something that only looked beautiful on the outside. I continued the charade with my delightful smile and playful demeanor. (I mean... I couldn't let anyone know how I was really feeling. It was unpleasant.)
Day after day, my daydreams would get more vivid until I could see myself walking around the gate and sitting on the edge of the bridge. My fingers would tremble when I grabbed the rusted iron and pull myself up. I would cry and think about my family while looking down at the busy highway below until I could muster up enough strength to...
That wan't an easy time for me (and to be honest it's pretty difficult to admit now) but I know it's a reality for many people.
I didn't understand why I was suffering or what my life had become. I was broke. I couldn't afford to feed myself. I was a slave to my bills.
I believed there was no way out.
I tried talking to a psychologist because I wanted to talk to someone that wouldn't judge me. On the first visit, I felt like she was judging me. I walked though my painful story (the parts I don't tell my friends about). I fought back tears and choked on my words but I got everything out.
Afterwards, her first question to me was "Do you want to hurt your daughter?"
HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU GET THAT FROM ANYTHING I SAID. #Facepalm
She continued. I smiled. I nodded. (Mostly because I was paying for the full hour.) I left her office believing that I must be beyond help.
This time in my life was difficult, but there were a few things that were actually helpful for me to regain my strength and want to live again.
Disclaimer: I'm not a licensed therapist (or even close). I'm just someone sharing my story on the internet and hoping I help someone. If you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
Call Your Friends
The only times I would get depressed (or feel like dying) would be when I was stuck in my head. I would spend my time scolding myself.
"How could you be so stupid!"
Other times, I was genuinely confused.
"How did you get here?"
I felt helpless.
"You'll never get out of this."
I felt unworthy.
"You're too stupid. You're useless. You're lazy."
I started to call my friends whenever I got a second alone. Even if I was in tears, it was nice to hear a friendly voice to push out internal one.
It was a distraction from my own thoughts but I believe it was the right way to go for me.
Family has a way of making you feel warm inside - even if you don't know what to do with your life.
During that time, I had a standing date with my grandmother. I would go to my moms house every Sunday and my grandmother and I would find something to watch together. She'd make dinner and I'd sit with my her and watch whatever she'd chosen for that week.
At one point, we found a series to enjoy together that came on Sunday nights so we'd spend time before and after the show speculating about what would happen next.
In those times, I could only think about how much fun I was having - and how much I appreciated those moments with my grandmother.
Take melatonin to fall asleep
Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body regulate sleep. (I stole this legit definition from WebMD. I, on the other hand, heard it on a podcast and was willing to try anything.)
Since I was so disappointed with my life, I would spend the entire night awake wondering how I could pull myself out of this rut. I would think about things I could create, jobs I could apply for, different things I could sell.
Some nights I would get stuck in a negative cycle and spend the entire night crying.
I would end up with very little sleep, maybe an hour or so, before it was time to start my next day.
That's when I started to take melatonin. Any night I realized that my mind was racing or thinking negative thoughts, I would take the recommended dosage of melatonin.
It would help me get to sleep at night so I could finally stop worrying.
Find A goal to work Towards
At this point, I was used to constantly failing and having doors slammed in my face. I was convinced at that point I as a loser. I didn't have the confidence or intelligence to sustain a long term goal.
I associated my identity with failure.
Parenting was one thing I hadn't failed at (at least not yet). Plus, I could easily make the decision to be a good parent any time.... and I didn't have to wait to see the results.
I would cook a new meal.. and see my daughter's face light up.
We could bake a cake together.. and I could watch her learn something new.
We would do crafts together.. and I could see the pride in her eyes when she created something beautiful.
Instead of using my energy to beat myself up, I could give what little energy I had to my daughter.
Do everything with other people... EVERYTHING
I realized quickly that my trigger for negative thoughts and crying was being alone. For better or for worst, I love to present a positive outlook on life to the outer world and I used that tendency to my advantage.
I first asked my mom if my little sister move in with me. With someone else in the house that I could talk to at any time, I rarely ever had to worry about my negative thoughts.
On the weekends, I would spend nights at friend's houses. I found a workout buddy to go to the gym with every night.
When I was with people, I didn't think about my pain or how I let myself fall that low or how I'd always be a failure. I could only think about enjoying this moment with a friend.... and my good fortune to have friends that would be there when I needed them most.
This is my story. That means these may not work for you. It was perfect for me to get through hell and come out on the other side victorious (and alive) during my lowest point in life.
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Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.