I am sitting under the sun as I am writing this. As I am sitting down and thinking about what my life was like just about a few months ago, I find it astonishing that I am no longer sad and depressed.
When I was in the darkest phase of my life, I didn’t think it would be possible to come out of it. I thought I would never smile again. This all sounds so dramatic right now but back then, it didn’t seem funny to me. It felt like the darkness would forever engulf me.
But I did.
I am here. I am happy. I am not just surviving but I am thriving.
Here’s how I did it.
What really happened
In the summer of 2017, I decided to move to a new country to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. Perhaps I was naive or maybe I was stupid, but I thought moving to a new country wouldn’t be too difficult. I thought I would easily adapt to the new ways and whatever difficulties were awaiting me, I’d overcome them easily.
By that point, I used to consider myself a brave woman.
I grew up in a third-world country where women weren’t much safe and didn’t have too many opportunities. I was aware that if I really needed to fulfill my dreams, I had to start a new life somewhere else. I discovered the theory of feminism and went to a woman’s college to study literature. Both of these things empowered me and I was determined that I’d never let society and its expectations stop me from achieving my dreams.
And so I moved to Scotland.
The Beginning of My Fall
I figured out that moving to a new country is not easy at all.
I spoke the language of British people but I couldn’t talk in their accent.
I didn’t look like the people around me.
And most importantly, I didn’t have too much money.
I had to learn many things in a short amount of time. I had to figure out how to open a bank account, manage my university coursework, make friends, find a part-time job, and do many other things.
I got overwhelmed. And to make matters worse, I got into a toxic relationship.
This was the worst thing that happened to me. I was juggling these other things in my life with difficulty but the toxic relationship obliterated me. I wish I can go back in time and stop myself from going back on that first date.
(Also read: How I Dealt With My Depression and Survived It)
Getting Back On Track
Getting back on track was difficult. No matter what I did, things just wouldn’t turn out right for me. All my job applications were rejected, all my friends were uninterested in helping me out. It was exhausting to face so many failures at the same time. After many failed attempts, I figured out why I wasn’t getting back on track.
None of my attempts to restart my life were sincere.
I was making minor changes that were significantly useless in the long run. I had to make big changes.
So I did.
I Got Rid Of My Friends
I figured my closest friendships no longer aligned with the person I was becoming. They were caring people and we had a lot of fun while we were younger. But as we grew up and discovered who we really were, we realized that we had outgrown each other.
As I said, my friends were lovely people but we no longer had the same interests. We were running out of things to say to each other. A lot of my friends found other friends they liked more. I was making life choices that my friends didn’t agree with.
Even though I tried to keep onto those friendships, I soon realized that if I really needed to heal, I had to let go of those people.
It was so difficult at the time. Getting rid of my friends meant I was going to be alone. Loneliness was something I was extremely scared of. But I knew that loneliness was much better than being stuck with friends who I had outgrown.
I Embraced Loneliness
Transformation is a painful process. And loneliness makes it so much worse.
I won’t lie, leaving my friends left me completely alone and that sucked. My newfound loneliness was exhausting. I spent a lot of time scrolling through YouTube and Instagram. I read through long discussions on forums because I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I went on a lot of solo dates because I didn’t have anyone to hang out with.
In my loneliness, I truly became a friend to myself. I explored my emotions, I introspected. I understood myself. This wouldn’t have been possible if I was drinking with my friends every night trying to suppress my emotions.
Don’t get me wrong. You can still have friends and introspect. In fact, if you have the right set of friends, they will understand what you are going through. They will support you in your journey and be there for you when you need them. I was unlucky to not have such friendships at that point in my life.
I Did A Dating Detox
I was recovering from a toxic relationship during this phase. At first, I thought dating other people would help me. I thought it would take my mind off things that were pestering me. But instead, it made everything worse.
I was constantly comparing the new guy to my ex-boyfriend, I was constantly thinking how this new guy would break my heart.
I realized that I didn’t need to take my mind off things. In fact, I needed to face those things so that I could finally move on. Not dating anyone and not having any friends late made me feel very, very lonely. It hurt like hell at the time. But that was what I exactly needed.
It was quite liberating as well. Dating can be exhausting if you’re not really enjoying it. And I didn’t want to get involved with someone while knowing that I wouldn’t be able to completely commit to them. I didn’t want to hurt my dates just because I was hurting too.
(Also read: 3 Reasons Why You Should Try A Dating Detox)
I Took Care Of My Health
I wasn’t a sick person but I knew I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should. I was up until 2 am every night and woke up late the next morning. I wasn’t drinking enough water, I wasn’t eating enough vegetables. I knew I had to change my habits if I finally wanted to take control of my life.
So I did.
I downloaded a habit tracker app and made sure I was drinking enough water throughout the day. I started sleeping on time and just this one change vastly improved my life. I scrolled through my social media less and less. I used that time to read books instead.
By this point, I was starting to enjoy my own company. It felt good.
I Groomed Myself
One thing that really helped me get out of my rut was by focusing on grooming myself. At first, I thought it was really shallow to be focusing on our appearances too much. But I was wrong.
We don’t realize this all the time but how we look really affects how we feel. If we’re lying on the couch in our pajamas all day, it can be difficult to be productive. This is why I now dress up even on the days I don’t leave home. I only get into my pajamas until it’s time for me to sleep so I know that I am done working for the day and it’s time to relax now.
These subtle changes can really help you feel better about yourself.
I Was Patient
Any kind of transformation takes time. If you’re going through a dark phase, it’s unlikely things will get all better in just one day. It takes time. And until things do get better, we need to be patient and have faith that eventually everything will be okay.
Where I Am Now
I am in a much better place now. I won’t say that my life is perfect but I am starting to realize that it never will be. I am a changed person now, I am no longer who I used to be before this dark phase. And I like that. I am much stronger and wiser. I like the new me.
If you’re going through a dark time, know that things will eventually work out for you too. Once you’re out of this dark phase, you’ll truly become the best version of yourself.
(Also read: 5 Small Changes You Must Make in 2022)
Enjoyed reading this post? Subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll send you regular updates. (I won’t ever spam!)
Need more help? Why don’t you check out my writing courses meant for helping people stuck in life?
If you have any questions or feedback or would like to tell me your own story of how you restarted your life, I’d love to hear from you. Just drop me a message!