I hate the term “rock-bottom” and all of the sloppy metaphors that are associated with it.
Here is the problem: you only know where the bottom was in retrospect. When you are at your lowest point, you honestly have no idea how much further down you can go.
So that makes it nothing at all like rock bottom. If you fall in a well, you will know when you hit rock bottom. It is painfully obvious, literally.
I have been at my lowest point ever in my life, many times in my life. I have felt like I could feel no worse than I did at that moment, only to feel worse the very next day, or the next week, or not for several more months.
And what do we actually perceive as ‘the bottom’? Is it the most stressed? The most your heart has pounded and head spun and overwhelmed you have been? Is it the most sad? The most you have cried and felt sorry for yourself? Is it the most depressed? The most unable to draw up the energy to move? The most unlikely you are to do anything at all? Is it the most nothing at all? The furthest you’ve felt from happy or content?
What exactly is it?
The lowest points of my life have been one or all of those things at different times.
I suppose I could say my rock bottom, as I have experienced it so far, was the most hopeless I ever felt. I could’ve been sad or depressed or anxious or nothing at all, but on top of that was the hopeless feeling that it won’t ever get better.
And it is hard to feel that you are at rock bottom while simultaneously feeling like it will never get better. The entire rock bottom cliché is loaded with hope. All of the metaphors about building on a foundation and picking yourself up and no lower can you go is not at all the experience of actually being in that spot.
Since the rock bottom metaphor can only be used as a retrospective instrument, it isn’t helpful to anyone experiencing their rock bottom. So it becomes an entirely meaningless construction unless you find some great success and can then dazzle the audience by sharing your sob story and everyone is in awe of your ability to overcome.
It is stupid.
It is stupid and it preys upon those of us who experience extreme ‘rock bottom’ lows habitually. However low you felt at your rock bottom, I promise you that you weren’t there yet. The fact that you are still here is all the proof you will ever need to understand that point.