Sometimes I think my best quality is my eternal optimism.
I could stare in the face of failure, pain, and horrible, gut-wrenching mistakes and think, she’ll be right. Like that time, I totaled a work car on the biggest job of my career (at the time) or when I got dengue fever in Sri Lanka (omg, the worst), or when I low-key had a heart attack. Then there was that time the world imploded, and I lost all of my work when COVID began or when my stepdad passed away.
Or all those innumerable days where I couldn’t get up and face the world. Or even open my eyes.
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety all of my life; I’ve spent many days hanging around rock bottom. In fact, rock bottom is a familiar place. Oh, hello there, dark and gloomy pit of despair, here I am again. Well, there’s only one way out of this, and it’s up.
I think in many ways, my stubborn (perhaps even blind) optimism has saved me from true defeat. Optimism and my family and my friends. And definitely NOT the healthcare system in New Zealand, which does not support mental health enough (not ready to fully write about that yet). Thank fuck for my friends, family, and my stubborn hope; that’s all I’m saying.
I know what it is to feel alone, abandoned, unheard, overwhelmed, sad, and worthless. I know that horrible pain very well, the one that sits low in your gut like you’ve eaten a bad oyster, that voice that whispers hate in your ear late at night when the world sleeps, that feeling of abyss.
I know it well.
A few weeks ago, I got an email that my final (final, FINAL, DEFINITELY FINAL) draft of my book went off to the printers; let me just say, it’s left me speechless. I cannot believe that I wrote a book. Actually, come to think of it, have I mentioned I wrote a book here? In case I haven’t, then yes, I wrote a book. It’ll come out at the end of the year, and it’s still a secret.
It actually chokes me to say this, but I am really proud of myself. I can’t believe I managed to make my biggest, oldest, scariest dream a reality. And I managed to do it when I was in a very low, rock bottom place.
Two months after I landed my book deal, my life completely fell to pieces when my partner and I broke up. My world was smashed, and I didn’t know which way was up. All the things that gave me comfort were gone, packed up in a cold storage unit, and home was with whatever friend let me crash at their place.
I was lost, sad, heartbroken, depressed, and totally in the worst position ever to undertake my biggest project to date. Or was I? Dun, dun, dun.
Rock bottom became the foundation for my book, and writing became the beacon in my swirling world of turmoil. It kept me sane. Having a deadline gave me purpose. Writing daily was a routine. It was the perfect excuse for why I ran away to Wanaka. Don’t get me wrong, writing a book is very overwhelming. There were days I thought I was a complete fraud. But hope kept me going.
My friends picked me up and helped me break it down into manageable tasks. They read my drafts and held me accountable. And while I managed to achieve the top writer’s award of missing just about every deadline I was given, in the end, it was done, polished, and a joy to behold – in my opinion, of course. I can’t wait to share the details soon of its launch, I can safely say that you guys probably can’t guess what it’s about – please try in the comments!
At the end of last year, I didn’t know how I would make it to June.
Hell, I didn’t know how I’d make it to the weekend. But I got by with my friends who I leaned on, letting go of my pride, talking with my family, and getting up every morning and washing my face. I grasped at whatever straw of optimism I could, going through the motions of recovery until it finally felt like real recovery.
And I think I am very close to understanding that I’m a better person for going back down to rock bottom and coming out of the other side. Guys, there is always hope. Always.
How do you find hope in the darkness? Have you struggled with this too? Share!