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How I Climbed Out of the Lowest Point of My Life
A deep, dark place that seemed impossible to escape from
My smile vanishes and a pang of fear and anxiety grips my heart as I wave goodbye and turn back. I steal quick glances as I keep my head down and walk at a fast pace.
A tremor of pure dread passes through my body as I spot him. He’s looking around, ruffling his hair and taking deep puffs from a beedi. Fervently praying that he doesn’t spot me, I quicken my pace and almost break into a trot.
“A tremor of pure dread passes through my body as I spot him.”
I am paralyzed in place when I hear his shout, “Wait right there, you sonofabitch”. As I slowly turn around, he crosses the road and drops a heavy hand on my shoulder with a “Trynna sneak away, eh?”, “Pl-pl-please lemme go. Just this time.”, I manage to stutter while trembling like a leaf.
“You don’t seem like the type to listen to words, might need a good beating. Whatcha say?”, No, no I am really sorry. I promise this is the last time. I’ll break up with her.
“You better do or you’ll be sorry later. Maybe I’ll come over to your house and let your parents know what their son is up to eh.” No, please no, I beg of you. Not my mom. Trust me this time. Please.
As he walks away, he threateningly waves his index finger. Phew! I utter a deep sigh of relief as he walks away. But the thought of the next encounter fills me up with dread.
As I make my way to school, all kinds of thoughts, mostly the negative kind fill my mind. How will the day play out? Well, just like the usual — miserably. When will things get better? They won’t. Why does my life suck so much? Hard luck. Life is unfair.
“Where’s your facial hair? Oh wait you aren’t man enough, right”
Every time I stutter, I hear sniggers and mean jabs. Break time and a game of arm wrestling. “Bah! How can someone be so weak? I’m sure girls are stronger.” Sports time and “You suck anyway, why bother playing. Maybe play badminton with the girls”. A round of sniggering.
“Where’s your facial hair? Oh wait you aren’t man enough, right”. Another round of sniggering.
Middle school was arguably the lowest and darkest point of my life. Sandwiched between an ex-convict that had taken a liking to my girlfriend at the time and the bullying at school, life had become absolute hell.
My self-confidence and self-esteem hit rock bottom. I lived in a state of constant fear, anxiety, and unhappiness. The few good things such as my girlfriend, a few good friends, my grades, etc. were like glints of light in the otherwise dark expanse of life.
“Sandwiched between an ex-convict that had taken a liking to my girlfriend at the time and the bullying at school, life had become absolute hell.”
I was stuck in a deep dark place out of which I eventually climbed. Life can hit us hard and drop us into dark seemingly inescapable places but we can always climb out of them.
The climb is hard but the world and life on the other side are well worth the climb.
Many have gone through much worse than what I have and have come out on the other side. I want to share how I climbed out of the lowest point of my life with the hope that it will be of help to any of you that are in need of it.
“The climb is hard but the world and life on the other side are well worth the climb.”
When my tenth grade ended, I joined a different school. With my usual fear and anxiety, I walked into class. By the end of the day, I walked out beaming with happiness.
“It was freeing, not having to fear speaking.”
The people here were different. I stuttered but they didn’t care. I talked, talked like never before. It was freeing, not having to fear speaking. For the first time in a long time, I felt that there was nothing wrong with me.
I made friends, quite a few of them and I slowly regained my self-esteem and self-confidence. I even lost my stutter, without even realizing it in fact.
I realized it on a much later date that too only when a friend pointed it out. “You haven’t stuttered even a bit the past week.”, he said with a warm smile.
“For the first time in a long time, I felt that there was nothing wrong with me.”
The reason for the change that came over me was simple — I was in a much more positive environment than before. This made me realize just how important the kind of people that surround us is.
The Miasma of Negativity
Earlier, I was surrounded by people that liked to jeer, mock, and make me miserable. In fact, they even liked to make each other feel miserable.
“The air would become heavy with the miasma of negativity.”
Putting each other down was their idea of humor, constantly jabbing someone their idea of fun and making each other miserable their idea of friendship. The air would become heavy with the miasma of negativity.
Of course, not all of them were like that, only a few were but a few are enough. As the saying goes, “A single bad apple can spoil the bunch.” In fact, research has found that negative stimulus has a much higher impact on us than positive stimulus does.
This is called the negativity bias. So the negative effect of even a small amount of negativity can be much more significant than the positive effect of a larger amount of positivity.
“In fact, research has found that negative stimulus has a much higher impact on us than positive stimulus does.”
Negativity and toxicity aren’t worth entertaining. Negativity is extremely infectious and exposing yourself to it will breed negativity within you.
“You just have to ask yourself, “How does this person, hobby, relationship, or thing make me feel?” and be brutally honest with yourself when answering.”
If you are at a low point, your environment could be a major factor. So cut out all negativity from your life — negative people, negative hobbies, negative relationships, etc.
Identifying it is simple. You just have to ask yourself, “How does this person, hobby, relationship, or thing make me feel?” and be brutally honest with yourself when answering.
If the answer is something along the lines of miserable, unhappy, shameful, worthless, inadequate, or anything negative, don’t entertain him, her, or it.
The Self-Reinforcing Cycle of Positivity
My new friends and the people that now surrounded me made me feel happy, confident, and comfortable. In one word, they made me feel positive.
“Anything or anyone that makes you happier and lifts you up mentally is positive.”
Positivity isn’t as infectious as negativity but it is still infectious. A positive environment is conducive to positive thinking which in turn, makes the environment seem more positive which further makes your thinking more positive. Voila! A lovely self-reinforcing cycle.
So embrace positivity with open arms. Identifying it is again simple. Anything or anyone that makes you happy and lifts you up mentally is positive.
“Voila! A lovely self-reinforcing cycle = Positive environment → Positive thinking → Environment seems more positive → Your thinking becomes more positive and so on. “
It was in the early days of my eleventh grade that I started hitting the gym. The moment I touched my first dumbbell, I fell in love with it.
The Most Powerful Fuel
Over time, the bullying and the other negative events had led to a lot of pent-up anger, shame, frustration, unhappiness, and disgust. The gym gave me an outlet for them.
“Bottle them and they eat you up but channel them into something positive and they serve as extremely potent fuel.”
I attacked the weights with a passion and fervor I never knew I had. I was channeling all the pent up negativity into working out. It was just like how burning coal in thermal power plants gives the energy to light up our homes.
Looking back, I realize just how powerful rage, shame, disgust, and other negative emotions are, in fact much more powerful than the positive ones.
Bottle them and they eat you up but channel them into something positive and they serve as extremely potent fuel.
“It was just like how burning coal in thermal power plants gives the energy to light up our homes.”
So find an outlet for your negative energy. Burn it to fuel something positive, it could be anything — working out, writing, drawing, painting, speaking, etc.
I Wasn’t Only Lifting
Every day, I had something to look forward to, something to work on. As time went by, I made progress, and the more progress I made, the more driven I became and the more progress I wanted to make.
Over time, the physical change gave me a sense of achievement which made me regain my sense of self-worth.
“The more progress I made, the more driven I became and the more progress I wanted to make.”
Not only had I exceeded my initial expectations but I had also proved wrong the people that had mocked and dissuaded me in the beginning.
This gave a massive boost to my self-confidence and self-esteem. It also strongly reaffirmed the belief, no not belief, but rather the fact that I was capable of things.
“It’s funny how on the outside, it was me lifting the weights while on the inside, it was the weights lifting me up.”
When struck down by life, do something that makes you proud, that fills you up with a sense of achievement, that lifts you up. Achieving is climbing and climbing out of your low point is precisely what you need to do.
It’s funny how on the outside, it was me lifting the weights while on the inside, it was the weights lifting me up.
“When struck down by life, do something that makes you proud, that fills you up with a sense of achievement, that lifts you up.”
The Past Doesn’t Exist
Over time, I regained my cheerful disposition, self-confidence, and outspoken nature. It felt like a rebirth and my past life started to seem distant, like a nightmare out of which I had awoken.
But at times, the past and thoughts of self-doubt would haunt me. “Maybe I never changed.”, “Maybe all this is just a pretense.”, “Your environment will change again, what then?”, “You are still that scared, depressed, skinny kid underneath.”
“My past self was a stranger to me, one that no longer existed, having faded into oblivion.”
The Present Is Real
A quote that inspired a line of thinking that really helped me was — “The present is the only thing that exists. Neither the past nor the future exists.”.
The present was real so my present self was what was real. The past had crumbled to dust and my past self was a stranger to me, one that no longer exists, having faded into oblivion.
“When you climb out of your low point, don’t think about falling back down but rather admire how far you’ve climbed.”
That might sound like a naive romantic “sound good” idea but it was freeing for me. The realization that my present self had nothing to do with my past self shattered my shackles.
The past doesn’t exist except in our heads so don’t let it define you. When you climb out of your low point, don’t think about falling back down but rather admire how far you’ve climbed.
A Badge of Honor
In the early days post the climb, I would feel ashamed of my past, of having been bullied, of having been a coward. As a result, I didn’t talk about it with any of my new friends.
“People say it’s being vulnerable, I say it’s bullsh*t.”
But heck! Now here I am, writing about it and other far more intimate things for the entire world to see. People say it’s being vulnerable, I say it’s bullsh*t.
When my past self didn’t have anything to do with my present, why should I be ashamed? It’s in fact a badge of honor — the fact that I had gone through all that and come to this point.
Don’t be ashamed of your past, instead be proud of it. What matters is not having been at such a point but having climbed out of it.
Life is uncertain and as a result, can hit us hard, leaving us in seemingly bottomless pits of darkness and repair. Climbing out of such places is hard but the world and life on the other side are worth the effort.
Negate negativity and embrace positivity. Cut out anything or anyone that makes you feel miserable, unhappy, ashamed of yourself, or negative in any other way. Embrace anything and anyone that makes you feel happy, confident, and comfortable.
Burn your negative energy to fuel something positive. Negative energy when bottled eats you up but when used to power something positive, it serves as extremely potent fuel. Channel all your negative emotions into something positive— working out, drawing, painting, singing, writing, etc.
Be proud, not ashamed. Your past self doesn’t define your present. Don’t be ashamed of your past self when you were at a low point but rather be proud of it.
“What matters is not having been at such a point but having climbed out of it.”
I Owe You an Apology
My dear friend, I am well aware that I haven’t sent the Scalers the past two weeks and well, I am sorry. I could tell you that I recently started a full-time day job and have been busy but that would still be an excuse.
I can and will make time. So starting this Sunday, you can expect a scaler every week. To make up for the last two absentees, this Sunday’s one is going to be a total banger.
I really appreciate you being a part of this community and all I want to do is make your time worthwhile.
So cya Sunday!