“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
One of the questions that is typically asked when a tragedy happens to someone is, "why do bad things happen to good people?". Personally, I think that the bad things can make people good. I think the greatest way to grow as a person is by going through difficult and challenging times. For myself, I did the most learning and growing when I was at my rock bottom. Of course it didn't start out that way when I was headed there, but once I spent some time there, I peaked. It took a lot of struggling, but eventually I became open-minded and chose to figure out what I needed to get better. The thing about being at rock bottom is that you can only go up from there. Any successful person that tells you how they got to where they are, will tell you about their rock bottom.
Thankfully, I was blessed with the opportunity to grow up in a Lutheran School my entire life from pre-school through high school graduation. That gave me the sources I needed to constantly hear and learn about God and it gave me the role models I needed to look up to and learn from while I was growing up. After graduation, my life had changed in a bunch of different ways. I was always very close with my friends and their families to the point I considered them as family to me. I watched almost all of my friends leave for college and naturally became very distant with them and as a result I felt very lonely. I also felt that I was behind in life compared to everyone else because I chose not to go to college yet for multiple reasons. I was very lost and felt my life suddenly didn't have a purpose. I became very depressed to the point that the people closest to me decided that it would be best to place me in a behavior health hospital.
I suffered with anxiety and depression for almost a year before I hit that rock bottom. But it was at my rock bottom where I was able to peak. When you are admitted to a mental hospital, you have no idea when you are getting out which is probably the worst part. The other patients in there told me you just have to tell the doctors what they want to hear and they will release you. I remember the doctors always asking me what my plan was to get better once I left the hospital, so I came up with any answer I thought they wanted to hear because I was desperate to leave. On the sixth day of being there I was assigned a roommate who had just be admitted. A nurse was with her the whole time she was unpacking her belongings so I continued to read my book on my bed without saying anything. As soon as the nurse left and my new roommate laid on the bed next to mine, she looked at me and asked if I was an angel because when she entered the room felt a godly spirit. I told her I wasn't an angel of any sort, but I do believe in God. She informed me that she once had a good relationship with God, but stopped going to church and fell away from Him after a couple things happened in her life. She then asked me if I could help her in any way to get right with God again. After a couple of hours talking with her about Christ she started crying and thanking me for giving her what she needed to get better. It was at that moment I realized she was the one who gave me what I needed.
I can't remember my roommates name, but I will always remember the effect she had on me when she didn't even realize it. The whole week I was in there I was very frustrated and asking God rhetorically "why me?", "why am I here?". While I was having deep conversations with my roommate about God, I realized I needed to stop asking Him questions rhetorically and actually open my mind to answers that are right in front of me that I just need to look for. When she was gracefully thanking me for inspiring her to better her relationship with God, it hit me that I was there to help other people. Although I only made a difference in one persons life out of all the people that I met in there, it was worth it. I believe that's the same in our lives. Truthfully, even though we're all going through hardships, we aren't going to be able to inspire and change every persons life that we cross paths with. For me, I found my purpose in doing what I can do with the ones God sends me and the situations He places me in. I realized that I was in that place to help someone else and my attitude about being there completely changed and gave me purpose. I realized I needed to maintain that same attitude and continue God's purpose for me to spread His Word and help others in the real world just as I did in the hospital.
I was laying there trying to come up with a personal objective and plan to help other people once I left the hospital. I started realizing that my own relationship with God hadn't been very strong for about a year. I don't think it was a coincidence that it was also about a year when my depression and anxiety started. When I was in school I was hearing about God and had religion classes that I went to every day, but I never spent much time with Him outside of school or church. When I graduated, I didn't have any of that time thinking or learning about God, so my relationship with him had faded. I knew I had to work on my relationship with Him before I could help anyone else work on theirs, so I made a plan to study and write my own devotions to help other people. I remember being interrupted in my deep planning by one of the nurses who said it was time for me to go home. I never ended up having to tell one of the doctors "my plan once I left", but I did tell God and sure enough once I figured out "why me" and "why I was there", I was released.
Since then, I have focused my goals on bettering myself by constantly learning about God and relating it in my life in a way that I can hopefully help others. It has become a healthy hobby for me to study, write and create goals for myself as a christian these past few years. Realistically, I know not every one is going to believe in God and use Him as their source of turning point and purpose like I have. I will never try to shove my religion and beliefs down someone's throat, but I will continue to share with others what worked for me to get out of my darkest place. When I was at my rock bottom I found out that a lot of other people are at theirs too. So, whether you believe or not, I strongly encourage you to use that time period as a peak turning point in your life. Be open minded and look for answers to the questions you angrily and rhetorically ask. Find something or someone to believe in to motivate you. Find healthy hobbies that interest you that keep you learning. Figure out a bigger purpose to live for. I can't express the difference it has made in my own life.
When I was younger, my grandma and I would put puzzles together and one time we tried doing it without looking at the picture on the box as a guide. It took a very long time, but we never once doubted that any pieces were missing and the more we put together the more we could see the end picture. God doesn't forget to put the pieces you need in your life. You're not always going to start out knowing the end picture, but God does provide the pieces to help you put it together and the more you work on it the easier it gets. Starting out is the hardest part that you have to get through, but it's also the most important.
Rock bottom will teach and show you things that mountain tops never could. Being at your darkest place is your time to push yourself to get better and grow as a person. It's the time to get rid of every toxic habit and person that isn't ultimately helping you get to where you need to be. I remember in science class one year we had this screen that was in the bottom of a container of sand. When we pulled up the screen, all the sand fell through and we were left with crystal looking rocks on top of the screen. Find your "screen" to get rid of all the "sand" in your life that is hiding the the good stuff because those crystal rocks are the stepping stones to getting better.
When you're feeling that low, I know it feels like the hardest thing to motivate yourself to find the strength to get better, but you have to trust that God is doing something big for you. The hardest part about hiking up a mountain is actually hiking up the mountain, but the view from the top gives you a different perspective and made you stronger by getting there. Every mountain that I have ever hiked, I have taken a moment at the top to look and appreciate where I started walking from. The mountain top gives you that satisfaction feeling of finally being able to see everything you went through in a different perspective, but the hike up from the bottom is where you learn to push yourself.
Part of the always learning is that you never have to actually "peak". If you peak, find a new mountain. Our brains as humans actually want to grow and when you're active and learning it releases chemicals in your brain that make you happier and more motivated to continue. There's always something new to learn and to challenge yourself with to grow from. There are always going to be bad things that happen to good people, but let those bad things form you into better people. I also strongly feel that we go through certain things so that we're able help people who go through the same or similar things. But in order to help them get to where they need to be, you have to help yourself get to where you need to be, first. Obviously, being at rock bottom was the scariest part of my life, but I would never go back to who I was before I experienced it. Those rocks where the biggest foundation that I was able to build off of and I am only where I am now because of where I came from. Grow through what you go through and don't stop. If you're going through Hell, why would you stop in Hell? Don't be afraid to reach for help from anyone. You never know when you can be the roommate or the godly spirit in the room, but either way it could be your peak at rock bottom.
You are not alone. If you are going through rock bottom, I encourage you to reach out to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching to a loved one or close friend, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline number 1-800-273-8255 or online chat with them. Whatever you are comfortable with, there’s a way to talk to someone who cares enough.
Spread a little love today, kid.