It’s official. In November I hit rock bottom. The bailiffs came to my office to seize my goods. Only they gave me a stay of execution for a week. I have to say it was the toughest week of my life: the toughest week in a run of five years of very tough weeks.
I am glad to say that on that Friday in November the stay was extended and the threat removed. I am glad to say my eldest daughter does not need to leave school and get a job as a groom to support her broken mother. I am so very glad to see the back of that week.
And I’m even better than glad, I’m actually really happy because I have hit rock bottom and as everyone knows, once you hit the bottom, the only way is up.
Over the past five years I have hit so many lows, you’d have thought I was limbo dancer trying desperately to get under that bar. And each time, it moved a little lower. I’m pretty flexible and springy but there is a limit, and even elastic can snap.
So, when I went into meltdown during that terrible week, my brain cells all curled up and I could not cope any more. I cried a river. I put one foot in front of the other and I made steps that followed one another. But only physically. Emotionally and mentally I was stony broke.
And then the noose was released and I spluttered back to life. And even better than that, I sucked in great big lungfuls of air and coughed and hawked and breathed.
Over the past five years I have repeated a mantra: Ever onwards and upwards, maybe sideways but never backwards. But despite this mantra, I knew I was often going backwards. I could not help it: there were forces stronger than me. I may have kept my head above water but I was not progressing in a forward motion. Far from it. I was being swept out on a rip tide that refused to let me go, to let me be. And sometimes the shoreline seemed very far away and impossible to reach.
So when the bailiffs came, and more importantly then went, that week, I suddenly realised that I had indeed hit rock bottom. There was no more harm that could happen to me. There were no more bad things to suck me down, I was down as far as I could go.
To survive a visit of the bailiffs is a huge thing. It is the last huge thing in my spiraling descent. I am jumping up and down on Terra firma now; rock bottom is a hard place but great for jumping up. It’s not the funny quicksand of hard times, it’s not the soft uncertain foundation of worrying times, and it’s not the gooey mess of troubling times. It is rock bottom and therefore very solid and rock-like and bottomed out.
The week after the bailiffs came and went, and stayed gone, I was very, very happy. And two months later I remain in that happy, upbeat place.
I am jumping up and down on my rock bottom and the earth is not shaking or giving way or crumbling. It is rock solid rock bottom. And really, the only way is up!
PS (And please don’t tell me how far up it is! Law of gravity and life suggests my ascent may be tougher and longer than the rapid descent, but I think I was polite to those on the way down, so maybe that will conversely help on the way back up!)