|Sometimes we have to hit the lowest of the low to reach the highest of the high. Sometimes I think about how bad things got for me and how I think, if I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything.
My illness was triggered by my substance abuse. I was crushing up my ritalin and snorting it and going days at a time without sleep. This sent me into a state of intense mania that I never snapped out of for a year. That' year was a wild ride in which my delusions dominated my mind and my life. I genuinely believe that if not for my substance abuse, my illness woudln't have been as extreme as it was, but I've come to believe that that was for the best.
I think that, if not for going as totally off the deep end as I did, I would have gone through life struggling, not quite sure wehat was wrong and never really getting bad enough to do anything about my issues. My illness would have lingered for years affecting me in subtle ways that I would never be able to put my finger on.
Sure, going through what I went through was really tough and painful, but it was like ripping off a band aid because while it was a dark period that did an immense amount of damage to every aspect of my life and personality, it was only for a year (followed by one year of depression) but it was so bad that I had no choice but to face it and do something about it.
Before my illness, I had alot of issues I hadn't dealt with and I don't know if they ever would have gotten dealt with if not for my illness. That's because when things are not quite right, you can ignore them. But when things are totally bleak and unvoidable, you only have two choices: give up or do something about it. When thingss get really bad, ignoring them is not an option--even though we desperately want it to be.
When things aren't quite right, it's really hard to summon up the willpower to truly make things better. THat's because 'gettting by' is an option. We can continue to let things stay the same because we can get by even though we know we're not quite at our best. But when things get really, really bad, the only way for them to get better is to gather up all the strength we have in us--strength we oftentimes don't even know we possess--and use it to climb out of that pit of despair,
The thing is, at first, that willpower that it takes to fight your way up from rock bottom seems impossible to muster up. But once we do, and steadily start to improve, it has a snowball effect. Once we've found that strength, we can let it ride and keep it going and working for us. We can get back to the point we started at, but have the added benefit of getting even better than that.
That's because once you get back to the starting point, you are still feeling that strength and are still tapping into that willpower. You already have it working for you so you can keep on using it. It's easy to settle for the way things are when you don't have to dig deep and find the energy to make things better, but once you've already done that digging, it's a whole lot easier to keep on using that energy to improve you situation in any and all ways.
That's why when you manage to get out of that initial black hole of depression and reach that point where you were at--that 'getting by' point--you can actually end up getting better than you ever were before taking your fall. That's because when you've climbed up from nothing, it doesn't seem that hard or impossible to make things better than they were before you ended up in that bad place.
It's about momentum. It's hard to get that ball rolling, but when you are at rock bottom, you have no choice but to get that ball rolling. As hard as it is to start, though, once you get it going you can use it to carry you to new heights you never would have motivated yourself to reach had you not had to find that strength and willpower in the first place. The kind of strength and willpower we all have no choice but to find in ourselves when things get as bad as they can get.
So sometimes the worst can be the exact thing you need need to get to yourself to your best.