Nobody wants to reach rock bottom, but sadly far too many of us have been there. Sometimes, the lowest points in our lives come after years of struggle—sometimes they come when we least expect them. But while not all of these stories have happy endings, some of the people below managed to persevere and live on to bigger and better things. No matter how bad it gets, it can always get better. These stories prove that human beings can live through the worst of times, and come out on the other side.
1. 5 Cents Short
My lowest moment was being a broke college student. I once tried buying a single pack of ramen because I got hungry late at night. I ended up fumbling through my pocket for change and realized I was like five cents short. The guy behind the gas station counter finally said, “Man, just take it.”
2. 17 and Pregnant
My lowest point was when I was 17 and pregnant with incredible shame. I was raised in a very religious house. My family was struggling financially and my parents’ marriage was crumbling. I think I got there because of a combination of a desperate need for love and attention and abstinence-only education. My baby is now in middle school and in the gifted and talented program. He’s thriving!
I can’t express what a wonder he is. His dad and I are married and have another son who is our wild child full of energy and goodness. I’m graduating college in December. My husband is a fabulous teacher at the high school down the road. We’ve had lows but we learned so much along the way that I really don’t regret it. I definitely don’t recommend it…wear protection, kids!
3. Slept Under Parked Cars
I was homeless, on the run, using hard drugs, and mixed up with gangbangers. I slept under parked cars, in alleys, and in parks. I took food wherever I could find it. Now I’m a software developer and run a community center/group home focused on helping people escape dangerous lifestyles/situations and build a new future.
4. $300 of Oxycontin
I was sitting in an about-to-be-repossessed car, with a drained savings account, holding $300 in oxycontin that I had just purchased using a cash advance on a maxed-out credit card. I was debating whether to shoot them up throughout the week or take them all at once. I took them all at once thinking that I could die but also not caring too much.
I had a boss that saw I was in trouble and gave me a choice: rehab or unemployment. I checked myself into rehab the next day and haven’t looked back. I’ve been clean and sober ever since. That was 2012. AA and Rehab saved my life. I made a promise to myself that I would NEVER go back to rehab. It was too embarrassing.
My dad picked me up when I was released and he had the look of sadness mixed with disappointment. He passed shortly after that and never saw me at my happiest. He never met his grandchildren. I feel guilty for putting my family through some stuff but I don’t dwell on it too much. I have a wife now, we both have great jobs, we have two young children, a house and everyone is healthy and happy.
5. Homeless but Not Alone
I was homeless due to many bad decisions, mostly drugs. At first, I blamed everyone else for my terrible decisions but I quickly realized it was my own fault. I couch-surfed for a while. I stayed at one friend’s house for a month and then another friend’s house for a month so I wouldn’t overstay my welcome. I quit doing drugs and filled out applications.
Eventually, I got a job and either my friends would give me rides or I would just walk if I had to. One 90-degree day, I had to walk to work and passed a garage sale. I saw a bike for $25 and bought it. For months I rode that bike to work until I saved up enough for an old beat-up car (it ran though!), and after that, I saved up for a place.
It took about 7 months to get completely back on my feet again, but I couldn’t have done it without my friends.
6. “It’s Not Much, but It’s Mine”
In 2015, I worked at a horrible job with a horrible boss who thought it was funny to say things like, “Is it because your black?” and refer to me with slurs. I was in a “situationship” that ended explosively. And a bunch of horrible things from my childhood that I’d repressed bubbled up to the surface. I found myself thinking about suicide frequently.
Not just the occasional thought, but actively planning how I was going to die. I went to the doctors for something completely unrelated and she asked how I was doing and I bawled. It was literally word diarrhea about all the horrible things happening. I cried, my doctor cried, I got an immediate referral to therapy, and was medicated for a bit.
I’m doing much better now. I’m no longer medicated and we have some bad days, but never anything as scary as what I was feeling in 2015. Things could be a little bit better but overall, I’m happy with my life now. It’s not much, but it’s mine.
7. Failed by 3.6%
My lowest point was when I missed passing my last class in university by 3.6%. That was three years ago. I retook an equivalent class and passed. I then worked on a dairy farm and now I work for an engineering consulting company. My life is fantastic, aside from being single. I’m working on saving up for a house.
8. “If You Want to Be Happy for a Lifetime, Ride a Motorcycle.”
Many years ago, after I got out of the army and my new family (wife and 8-month-old son) had left, I got a big tax return. I was in a black pit and had zero desire to live. I got into my little car and drove into town with intentions of buying a firearm so I could go far, far away from any other people and just end it.
Across the street from the arms store, I saw a motorcycle shop. They had a used 1986 Honda XL250R. I asked about it. The salesman promptly climbed on the bike, kicked it to life right there in the shop, rode it out into the street, and proceeded to ride it up and down the road in front of the shop on the back tire.
I bought that bike instead of a firearm. I hauled it out to some trails, rode it around, dropped it in the mud, and rode some more. I did the same the next day and the weekend after that and the weekend after that. My parents hated the very idea that I had a motorcycle of any kind. They “knew” I’d be dead within six months.
That was 17 years ago. If only they had known what I went out for that day, when an old Honda saved my life.
9. 5’8 and 230 Pounds at 15
I weighed 230lbs at the age of 15. I wasn’t super tall (maybe 5’8″). My dad would tease me and say, “We’re the same weight, but like, 30 years apart!” My parents were never direct with it. I guess they wanted to spare my feelings so they never brought it up. All I did was play video games for like 6-8 hours a day and sit in school or sleep for the rest of it. I was never active and always ate until I was full.
Then, I worked up the courage to ask out this girl I was crushing on for a few years. She rejected me and said, “I like you as a friend,” which to me, translated to, “You’re too fat.” So, I started working out and just watching what I’d eat. I’d hit the elliptical machine for 45 minutes a day and jog for a good 10 or so minutes after that (ellipticals are the bee’s knees because they spare your knees—very low impact and they burn a ton of calories. I highly recommend them!).
So, being Canadian, starting that regimen in the winter, nobody really saw my body change. To my peers, I lost all that weight in one summer (we went from the warm times to winter to summer break and nobody saw my body with all that winter clothing). I dropped to about 165-170 lbs. With my newly acquired shape, I went back to the girl I loved and was going to win her heart!
It was going to be like in the movies. Sure enough, she rejected me again, “It wasn’t your weight that bothered me, I actually care for you as a friend.” Blew my mind that one. After high school finished, I got into weightlifting and sports during my years at CEGEP. I’ve never felt better. I’m now roughly 200lbs, 6’1” and in the best shape of my life.
But I’ll never forget the feeling, the pit in my stomach when I’d stand shirtless in front of my mirror, and just really hate what was looking back at me. I hated my body. I still don’t like being in pictures. Some habits don’t leave.
10. Marvel Saved My Life
In my early twenties, I had no friends and no love life. I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was living on my own and working at a fast-food restaurant. I was absolutely miserable. I had such bad social anxiety that I wouldn’t go out with people if they did ask, which was very rare. I hated the question, “What did you do this weekend?” I hated myself.
I knew I’d probably end up in a bad, bad place if I didn’t make a drastic change. I assumed if I was still in the same situation ten years away, I’d probably kill myself. I worked and did nothing but go in debt for about 5 or 6 years. Then I finally snapped. I was just so unhappy and needed a complete change. I joined the army. I got to the end of basic training and realized I’d made a mistake.
I was running from a situation that I could control and putting myself into a career I didn’t want (infantryman). It wasn’t a good choice. It was just a choice I made with my back against the wall. So, I quit. I moved back closer to come but not the city I had done so bad in. The same situation started to occur there.
I was getting miserable again and making the same bad choices and never going out. I always compared myself to characters on TV. I was wondering why I wasn’t hanging out with friends in a bar, dating girls, and sleeping around. One day I realized I assumed I was supposed to live a life like Ted Mosby or some other character on TV.
One day I was reading Reddit posts, I think about comics, and I read a summary about Marvel’s Civil War. It sounded cool. I used to be into superheroes as a kid but didn’t want to read comics as an adult as it wasn’t “cool.” But man, Civil War sounded awesome. So, I torrented it. Then I read it all. And then I read a ton more.
Slowly I stopped caring of people knew I read comics, which slowly led to me stop caring about other things too. I realized I was getting confident. I was getting happy just from something as simple as doing what I wanted in my spare time without worrying about what others thought. The process took about two years but then suddenly I hung out with some people from work, even tried OkCupid, and had a couple of “terribad” dates. I was quite insecure but growing as a person.
I realized I wanted to live in a bigger town and moved back to the city I left years ago. There I had a date and met my wife. Now my life’s awesome. All because of Marvel and wanting to read comics—that was the pushing point.
11. Going Back Home
My lowest point in life was after graduating. I went to a graduate program in another country to do a masters. The lab group I was planning to join practically got dissolved right before my arrival because of a near-fatal heart attack to the professor running things. He was my one contact there who also taught a majority of the classes I signed up for.
He retired due to medical reasons, but I was stuck without a lab group, taking courses I hated, at a place with few friends, feeling extremely lonely. I spent a lot of my time in my apartment talking to overseas friends over the Internet. Days, sometimes weeks would go by where I wouldn’t talk to another person face to face.
I got horribly depressed and was extremely unhappy. Thing is, I didn’t realize it until my friends called me up on my birthday. I called up my parents the day after and said I was going to quit the program. I quit a few months later, mostly feeling like a complete failure as a person. I got off the plane home feeling more exhausted than any time prior in my life. But it was over.
A little over a year later, and I found an awesome job, and I’m happy again! It’s crazy how much one’s perspective of themselves can get changed.
12. From No Toilet to Three Toilets
It was when I woke up with a few people still strewn around my house. I had to poop so bad from all the drinking the night before. I searched frantically for a bag and couldn’t find one. I knew I would not make it to the gas station in time. I had explosive diarrhea in the little waste bin. I was hungover and realizing what I had done again like so many times before.
I probably should have fixed my plumbing rather than go to Peru, but the truth was that I had to go. There was no way I could come up with $12k to fix the plumbing and I couldn’t last another 2 semesters like this. My longtime girlfriend and I were in a bad place by now. Feeling trapped will make you turn on each other.
I often try to remind myself of that when I hear the poverty-stricken neighbors fighting, they can’t help it. She said to file bankruptcy, but I kept reminding myself of the so many people in Peru without toilets and that poverty was relative and that things still weren’t that bad. Fast forward 12 years. We are happily married, I have 3 toilets I could poop in if I choose with very functional plumbing, and even things like a dishwasher and a fridge that makes ice. Hang in there.
13. A Heckuva Motivation
Eight months ago, I wound up in the ICU. Long story short, I started feeling very strange at work and asked someone if they could drive me to urgent care. Urgent care said, “Here are the nearest emergency rooms. Which one would you like to go to?” Not if, but which. I got to the ER and they sent me upstairs to the ICU.
Simply put, my blood pressure was twice what it should have been from bad habits, unhealthy living, and stress. There’s this surreal moment when you realize that the doctors are simultaneously trying to keep you calm and saying to themselves, “Holy moly this guy’s in trouble.” I didn’t die, but it was touch and go for a while.
Now I’m on a lot of medication and have made some big changes to my lifestyle. Coming within shouting distance of dying is a heckuva motivation.
14. I’m Alive and That Baffles Me
Almost two years ago. I’ve gambled everything in my life. For degenerative gamblers, being broke, hungry, manipulative, and liar would be common. I wasn’t like that. Ever. I lost friends and my sick father asked me to come back home but I was too scared that the people I owed money to were there. I’ve brought disgrace to my family.
I lost my job. I lost everything that was going okay with me. One day after a full night of gambling, I had $20 left of my money. That was the last of it. I went to the casino and told myself that I would take my life if I lose. I lost. I rode the bus back to my father’s house from some spare change in my pocket. I was already planning how to end my life.
I’d burn some charcoal, put it in a pan, lock myself in my old room and then close the windows and my door. That was the best plan. I rummaged around the house to look for charcoal. If there wasn’t any, then I’d go to the store to buy some. However, I used my last money for gambling and fare. I lived man. I survived the night. And then the next day, then weeks, and now I’m still here.
I now work for my dream company. My salary is way above what the market has set. A beautiful woman inside out is in love with me just as I am in love with her. Life is great with some challenges on the side. How I managed to stay alive until today baffles me. But life has been good. They say that bad experiences make good stories. And that’s what I feel right now.
My lowest point was my last semester of high school/first semester of college. I drove most of my friends away for a long-distance relationship with a girl who I later realized was truly awful to me (we were very much not right for each other). She broke up with me over text. I realized how depressed I was, but was too truly miserable to do anything about it, and too isolated/good at hiding it for anybody to intervene.
Over summer/first semester of college, I indulged heavily in what I like to call my “positive vice” (exercise) and a very negative vice (drinking). For a full semester, I was exercising 2-3 hours a day, drinking 4 nights a week, and keeping up my grades in service of the facade. You can guess what my sleep schedule was like.
Then one day, I finally hit rock bottom. I drank 24 oz or so of the hard stuff, blacked out, and almost choked on my own vomit. I had a dear friend who took their life a year before that and I promised myself I would never do that to the people around me. After that point, I quit pot, quit drinking except for when I feel actually happy, and have slowly built up a better social circle.
I got pushed into a relationship where neither party was emotionally recovered enough for yet by someone who fancied themselves a matchmaker, which recently ended (coinciding with another deep depressive phase). Now is not at what I would call an amazing point in life, but I’m working on developing independent self-worth, which isn’t something I’ve had any of for the past several years, and I think I’m slowly getting better.
16. Alone in China
My lowest point was back in 2010. Since the job market in the States was absolutely busted, I ended up moving to Asia, did a year of Mandarin in Shanghai to finish off college, and got a job through a buddy of mine whose dad had a trading company that dealt a lot with China. Now, I’m a fresh-faced, completely naive boy of 22, and I got thrown to the sharks. The owner of the company was a big jerk and I don’t think I’ve been called “stupid” more in my life than in that job.
I suffered through it for a year thinking that this is must be how real life works and that I’m just a huge screw-up. Finally, after a year, he got someone else to replace me and cut me loose. Without severance either, he even talked about suing me because I wasted him so much money. Let’s just say I haven’t talked to my college buddy since then.
So, picture this, I’m alone in China with no job and hardly any money. I have a roommate and feel like a chud, because I’m having trouble paying rent. This was the lowest point in my life. At this point in time I felt like I was legitimately too stupid to do a normal job because that is what my boss had been telling me for the last year. I’m broke, no job prospects, living in a foreign country (where my mandarin was still a bit rough), and all on my own.
Luckily, I had an acquaintance take pity on me and got me a job. This job was more or less an internship at this point. Pay was garbage, I lived in a sketchy apartment above the factory. But I managed to learn manufacturing and I quickly figured out I wasn’t near as stupid as my previous boss led on. I managed to do well and got recruited by a few different manufacturing outfits. And now I’m back stateside in a fairly cushy manufacturing gig.
So, the lesson here is: stick with it.
17. “If You’re Going Through It, Keep Going”
I was a college freshman when my mom kicked me out of the house. I had 3 jobs but all were part-time minimum wage jobs that were putting gas in my car and paying for school. I couldn’t get loans because my parents made too much money so I had to make payments or get I’d be kicked out. I tried to prove that they weren’t helping me out financially but, without an address of my own, it was hopeless.
I ended up living in my car. I showered at the school gym and moved my car around the parking lot at the advice of security who luckily looked the other way. I had to dumpster dive for dinner. I ended up doing things that I was reluctant to do for extra money like posing for art students and selling pills on occasion.
Eventually, I was allowed to move back home. I also got decent enough grades that my financial aid officer found a grant I qualified for which bought the books and supplies that I needed but couldn’t afford. My mom would kick me out again but at that point, I had started dating my husband and I ended up moving in with him.
I think that at the time when I was going through it, I was so tired and defeated. It was just school and work. I didn’t have time or energy for much else. I wanted to die. I didn’t attempt suicide but I was reckless. It was having a goal to finish college that kept me going—knowing that at the end of the messed-up situation I would be different.
I was going to be better for having seen myself through. It wasn’t about the degree. It was the journey and proving to myself that I could handle it, I could handle whatever challenges life threw at me.
18. I Can’t Just Leave
Honestly, right now. I mean, I’ve had my struggles in the past, but everything has been building up lately. I’m 20 years old and I feel like I’m going nowhere in my life. I’m in a long-distance relationship with someone who I can’t touch for another 3-5 years (and every time I ask about when we are meeting, it always feels like there is more time being added).
I still don’t have my own place. I still live with my “parents” and it’s absolutely awful here. They are manipulative. You can never be wrong. They make it impossible to leave and they’ve caused me so much anxiety that I can’t move forward. It doesn’t help that I don’t have a license or a car, so I can’t just leave.
I have 2 jobs and barely make any money to support myself. I hate the 2 jobs that I have. I absolutely hate it. I don’t want to get out of bed most mornings because it’s too hard. I have absolutely no friends. I haven’t talked to my “friends” since high school. I have a younger sibling who is doing way better than I am.
And it sucks. I feel like I’m far behind everyone else my age. And it makes me upset. I just want to end it, but I’m afraid.
19. Third Year of College
My lowest point was at college. It was my third year. During my first two years at school, I had been roommates with a bunch of guys that were great. We got along well and had a ton of fun. In third year, I became a resident advisor and my old roommates moved off campus into a house. As an RA, you got a room to yourself.
So not only did I not have my old roommates, but I was completely on my own now. That’s when things started getting dark. I was miserable. Every time I did see them, they’d tell me about these great stories of parties they hosted or the crazy antics that they got into and it made me feel even worse because I wasn’t a part of it. I became a complete shut-in.
I never went to class. I stayed up until 5-6am watching the same movie every night and playing the same video game for hours on end. My longtime girlfriend and I were just drifting further apart. I’d make plans to meet her for lunches and then I’d completely skip them without a word why, something I had never done before.
Everything was slipping away. I thought if I gave her a promise ring that it’d make things better. It didn’t. We broke up a month later. I had only gone to a couple of classes all year so I was failing everything. I actually started to plan out the option of just packing up my car at the end of the year and driving away somewhere random rather than go home and face my parents. I had wasted 3 years and tens of thousands of their dollars on nothing. But I was weak, a coward. I went home.
They weren’t mad. They understood. They’re supportive and helped me get through the transition of finding a job. I worked for about a year while living with them, then interest rates were at one of their lowest and it became a good time to buy a house. I did so. Life didn’t really get good until I started dating my now wife.
But having a family that didn’t put me down and actually helped me through that tough time made all of the difference. If they had not been so supportive or if I hadn’t gone home, I cannot say where my life would be right now.
20. The Good Outweighs the Bad
My lowest point was early last year. I left the halfway house where I lived due to some serious situations that I got tangled up in with the director and some of the residents/staff. My car was in my hometown 100 miles away, not that coming home to mom or dad was even an option. I stayed sober for a time, worked as a dishwasher during the day, slept restlessly under bridges, in brush piles, abandoned houses, just wherever felt safest.
This was winter in Tennessee, so I was cold and wet much of the time. I got used to it. However, my tax refund soon hit and I was able to afford a motel room next to my workplace. I drank way too much on my first night indoors. I kept this up for a week, ditched the job, and ended up in the hospital. See, I’ve gone through withdrawal so many times in my life, I’ve screwed up my whole physiology to the point where I feel withdrawal after two days of drinking.
I got out of the hospital, stayed with a friend near Nashville for a couple weeks, and used the money I had left on a bus ticket across the country, despite my friend’s pleas for me to stay. I can’t really explain my poor judgement other than my brain being rocked by the withdrawal and just wanting to get away from everyone I know. I was so ashamed to exist after what I had done.
I ended up in the Pacific Northwest, not working, just walking in the cold rain and starving. I didn’t care if I lived or not. I didn’t drink at this point. I was robbed twice with one guy even stealing the tent that I was using. My mom got in touch with me and talked me into coming back to Tennessee, but I wouldn’t live at home.
I got my car from my dad, lived in it for a couple weeks, and worked for a day-labor agency. I started drinking again and am ashamed to say I was certainly driving at times I was in no shape to. When I ran out of money, I began shoplifting hand sanitizer to drink. That might sound insane because it is. In my mind, it was because I thought I was less likely to be caught or called out for doing that than stealing booze. Anyway, I eventually ended up in the hospital again.
That was the last time I drank. After leaving there, I drove back to my hometown on the fumes left in my gas tank and ended up at my sister’s house. She took me in, helped me get a job, and let me stay in her home until I was able to afford to move in to the place I live to this day. How I’ve stayed sober, I can’t really say.
It’s as miraculous as anything I’ve ever witnessed. I no longer associate with the 12-step crowd although I still apply some principles of those programs to my life. I have my own walk with spirituality and I’ll leave it at that. Whatever it is, it’s working. Life has never been better and I know that one drink is all it would take to lose what I’ve built.
A lot has happened since I got back on track. I’m dealing with the feelings I used to run from, my mother passed from her own drinking, and I’ve had some other family issues along the way. Life happens regardless of what I do, all that matters is what I do with it. The good outweighs the bad, and I’m very grateful.
21. The “Nice Guy” Spectrum
I would say my lowest point was about 2-3 years ago in high school. I was very lonely and very depressed. I feel like I kind of slipped into the “nice-guy” spectrum for a while. There was this girl that I liked at the time that I had become friends with. At some point, I took to habitually venting to her to the point where I became toxic.
I had confessed to her early on and she made it fairly clear that she wasn’t into me. Now, I never threatened her, touched her without permission, or petitioned her. In fact, part of my anxiety-depression-whatever-it-was was that I was pretty strongly abstinent and was terrified I would never find someone like that. Anywho, I did, however, say and do some fairly creepy and asinine things and made this poor girl’s life much harder than it had to be.
Eventually, she cut off contact with me and the school got involved. I was devastated. I felt betrayed and angry. In hindsight, she was completely 100% right to cut me off. I got back in contact with her and started to get toxic again and then she cut me off for good. At that point, I had at least partially learned my lesson.
I started hanging out with this other girl and I was considering asking her out, actually. Things were going well and then I had one bad day and was reasonably down on myself. This gal completely overreacted to me saying something along the lines of, “I’m depressed, but I’m going to be okay,” and decided to never speak to me again.
Long story short, it took someone actually treating me like garbage to make me realize that the previous woman put up with me for WAY longer than she had to. After transferring to online courses and finishing up high school, I managed to recover from that. Although I was treated like junk by my second friend, I feel like I’m a much better person because of it.
I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to try to contact my first friend, but if I ran into her and had a chance to say something, I’d apologize for being such a jerk and a creep. I’m in a much better place now. I’m going to college, I’ve had a girlfriend for well over a year now, I have a great job, and I’m happy.
If I ran into my second friend, I guess I don’t know what I’d say. I’d ask why she did what she did. I don’t think I’m angry anymore just kind of sad that our friendship, which was actually pretty functional right up until the very end, ended like that. I still feel guilty over what happened. I wish I could properly, formally apologize for it, but I don’t know if there’s a way she could forgive me. I just needed to get this off my chest.
I believe that I’m a good person now, but wow does it pain me to look back on that. I hope that she has forgiven me. I don’t mind if she never wants to speak to me ever again. All I hope for is that she knows that I’m not such a flaming loser anymore.
22. The Worst Valentine’s Day
My lowest point was Valentine’s Day of this year. I had broken up with my girlfriend of nine years but we were still living together because we didn’t really have anywhere to go. I was running an organization with someone I was incredibly frustrated with, working minimum wage because aforementioned partner refused to monetize our business, and my writing career was going nowhere with sales completely plateauing.
On Valentine’s Day, the ex was working late and I ended up taking a bubble bath, drinking, and eating a box of chocolates I got myself. Three months later I got accepted into a world-renowned master’s program in writing and moved across the world. I can honestly say that there is nowhere else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be doing. I’m still single, but wildly happy.
2019 was a roller coaster for me.
23. Birthdays Suck
I wrapped birthday presents for myself, sang birthday songs to myself with a cupcake that I baked for myself, and then unwrapped the presents and acted all surprised at what I got. Then I just broke down and cried. This is how I spent my 21st birthday and my 27th birthday. I didn’t bother celebrating my other birthdays.
The 27th was because I invited people that I thought were friends over but they ditched me. So, I just ended up keeping the little goodie bags I made them for myself and basically told myself I’ll never trust or open up to anyone again. So far? Been going better, and I don’t regret it at all. Relationships, friendships, and stuff like that in my life have always ended poorly.
I know a saying, “if everyone smells like poop, check under your shoe.” Well, I try my best not to be offensive or mean to people. I hope I don’t upset anyone but I feel like it’s better if I just don’t have friends or connect with anyone. Some people are meant to be alone and I guess and I’m one of them. I had to give up on some hopes and dreams, but if it means I can be happy well, so be it.
24. I Feel Alive Again
My lowest point was when I was diagnosed with OCD and major depression. My identity became my illness. Every day I would have OCD episodes that lasted 1-3 hours two to three times a day. I would cry every day and I was sensitive and insecure about everything. I had just gotten married to my amazing husband. He joined the Armed Forces so there was so much stress apart from it all.
I just remember one day arguing with him from an episode as usual and something just clicked. I was completely numbed out. I stopped yelling, paused, and said, “I need to go.” I quietly walked upstairs with the intention of locking myself in our bathroom to hang myself. I stopped midway in the stairs and realized that I couldn’t leave my husband behind.
I calmly told my husband to dial the suicide hotline for me and he stayed by my side all night. After 2 years of the darkest days, 4 different therapists, 4 different medication changes, and constant love and support from my still-husband, I’m doing 90% better than before. I feel alive again.
25. Inspired by Robin Williams
When I was 12-15, I had literally zero friends. I had just lost the only friend I had and didn’t know how to make more. It took a long while of me being a weirdo before I started watching Robin Williams’ stand up and saw how comedy allowed this tortured man to connect with people. Fast forward 8 years and I am in a completely separate city from the guys who I consider brothers and they called me up today to tell me they miss me and want me to move back so we can all see each other more.
I cried tears of joy a younger me would not be able to comprehend.
26. Twice a College Drop-out
My lowest point in life was when I was coasting through a whole semester knowing that I would inevitably fail out of my second college major in a row. My professor told me I had no chance of passing a class due to missed requirements and I was already on academic probation. This was the lowest point of a 2-year decline in which university increasingly burned me out until I didn’t see the point anymore.
The anxiety and depression didn’t help either. Thankfully, I got into another program that I really like in the same college. The department took kindly to my predicament, still saw potential in me, and gave me a chance. I’m happy to say that I’ve repaid them with much better academic performance over the last 2 years.
27. I Left My Room for Star Wars
My lowest point was on August 1, 2015 when I was on a plane back from Alaska heading home to Houston. I had an operation on my only functional eye earlier in March of that year to improve my vision. I was kicked out by my roommates because they didn’t want to deal with me. By the time I got off the plane, I was nearly completely blind, had no college education, and living at home.
A week later my best friend passed and I pretty much shut down. For the next seven months, I hardly left my room to do anything. I was lucky enough to find an organization that dresses up in screen-accurate Star Wars costumes for community and charity events that got me out of my room and started making friends again.
Nearly 4 years later and I’m finally getting my degree, I’ve got an amazing girlfriend, and some of the best friends I’ve ever had. What got me through it all was music—in particular picking up guitar again about two years ago.
28. 24/7 Church’s Chicken and Breaking Bad
My lowest point was when I would tell my parents that I was off to the gym. But what I would actually do was drive to the 24/7 Church’s Chicken, order a 6 piece with gravy, and pig out inside my car parked on the curb. Sometimes I’d accidentally make eye contact with people passing by but at that point I had no shame.
All the while watching Netflix on a phone strategically balanced on the steering wheel. This is also how I finished all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Great show.
29. Job Loss Survival
My lowest point was when I was working at a fast-food place for almost a year. I got fired from my previous job for not getting a new job fast enough after buying my first car (they literally told me “we thought you’d have another job by now” when they canned me—it had been a month). I was getting paid minimum wage, which wasn’t enough to pay for everything.
I had to reduce my car payment (which, luckily, I could do without penalty, since it was a private loan, not a bank loan), and make minimum payments on my credit card, while still using it to buy the meager groceries I couldn’t take from work. I’m talking buying the smallest portion of chicken thighs and a potato.
Stealing single-serving packs of butter and coffee cups full of milk to take home and make mac and cheese. When 12-packs went on sale BOGO, I got four. I wasn’t going out for food, ever, no movies, no parties. When I would get legally-required holiday pay, I would buy a six-pack from the store that shared a wall with my work.
This job shattered me, spiritually, physically, and mentally. I freely refer to it as the single worst and darkest chapter of my life. A friend of mine later posted on Facebook that his company was hiring and I basically begged for a job. I got it and I ended up becoming one of the best employees there—literally twice the pay.
It was still an exhausting job, but luckily, only physically. I toughened up and got used to the demand.
30. Undiagnosed in Middle School
My lowest point was in middle school with (at the time) undiagnosed ADHD that was interfering with my schoolwork. I was bullied too. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to just sit down and do my homework even though I knew the material and knew exactly how much not doing it would hurt my grades. My parents and teachers thought I was lazy and I had no reason to disbelieve them, so I just felt like a piece of garbage.
It got so bad that I apparently voiced thoughts of suicide, although I can’t remember having done so. That, at least, caught the attention of school authorities who put me through counseling. It didn’t take long for my counselor to suspect that something deeper was causing all of this grief and I was assessed for a learning disorder.
It might sound weird if you’ve never had a mental health issue, but being diagnosed with ADHD was a huge relief. It meant I wasn’t an irredeemably awful human being; I just needed help. I was put on a medication plan and I immediately saw my life turn around. So, it may have started as my lowest point but it was also what got me the help I’d unknowingly needed for years.
31. Spring Break Proposal
A bunch of stuff happened during spring break. I failed one of my Japanese exams, I got fired (no call no show for a shift I completely forgot I had, first and only offense), and the phone I ordered never made it. I got a new job that was overnight where everything was overwhelming and eventually 3 days after I started, I had a mental breakdown while I was cuddling my then-boyfriend.
I just wanted to enjoy my spring break after the rough week I’d had—but fate had other ideas. I’ve had plenty of low times in my life, but that was probably the first where I seriously considered wasting away and dying (I was and still am too much of a wuss to try anything else but I was told that this is just as much considered suicidal thoughts as anything else).
I probably cried nonstop for a good hour or two. I don’t remember. All I remember is wanting to just disappear and my boyfriend sitting there and listening to all of it without any sort of judgment or complaint. Once I calmed down, he asked if I wanted to marry him. Naturally, I said yes. So, two years later we graduated, got married, moved to the Midwest, and now we’re in the process of buying a house.
I now work a fulltime job that treats me infinitely better, I’m being medicated for my anxiety, and we’ve got a cat. Anytime I’m having a bad day I look back on that moment and try to reflect on the strides I made since. I like to think that my worst days now won’t hold a candle to what I experienced then.
32. Robin Williams Saves Another Life
After college I learned that I didn’t actually graduate because I got a D in a class. Therefore, I had to spend all my graduation money on taking a summer class, living at home, and working back at Target next to a person who broke my heart the year before. I almost committed suicide but the day I was going to do it was the day Robin Williams took his own life.
Instead of ending my own life, I went home and watched Mrs. Doubtfire and Dead Poets Society and laughed and cried and remembered how much I loved film. Now I run the video department for a nationally ranked music school and haven’t thought of suicide since.
33. Two Major Strikes at College
When I was at my first year of college, I really didn’t care about my studies. I would sleep in class, go to a local computer shop, or sometimes just hang out on the school campus. Examinations were coming and here I was doing nothing, just playing video games. I would usually tell my parents that I was doing well and my grades were high.
All is well until the final semester of that year when my parents saw my grades. I was actually failing and we had a talk about it. I told them that I did not enjoy my course, which was IT, then I asked them if I could shift to Architecture since one of my pastimes was designing houses. They told me if that was what makes me happy, then I should go.
I took the exams and I passed, but something hit me. I didn’t feel any satisfaction. I was so scared to tell my parents that I couldn’t do it, and instead, I just didn’t attend the orientation for my architecture class and went home. Now, this was the hardest part. My dad was so enraged about it and told me I wasted a lot of time and lot of money.
I did understand why they were scolding me. Every night, I heard my parents fighting. And a couple of days passed when my dad told me that I should just stop asking for anything, even food. He told me to just stay inside my room if I wasn’t going to do anything. My mom, my aunt, my uncle, and cousins convinced my dad to give me another chance and told me that I should start changing.
At that time, my mom helped me look for schools. This time I took Hospitality Management, but focused on Culinary. At first, I was scared since I didn’t know one single thing about cooking. But now, here I am, a straight-A student managing to even get the second-highest scholarship, second place on Western Cook-off, and second place on a Dessert Plating Contest.
Right now, I’m in my third year of college, enjoying every bit of it and working towards my goal of becoming a great chef.
34. Traumatizing Toxic Mold
My lowest point was when I lived in an apartment that had toxic mold. It wasn’t until I was there just over a year that part of the wall in the bathroom crumbled revealing a black mess behind the wall. I called maintenance and they told me it wasn’t mold and plastered over it. Long story short, after months of fighting and the threats of lawyers, they finally tested for it and once it came back positive, they let me out of my lease without penalty.
I had to go to a district manager to get that approved but they eventually did. While everyone knows toxic mold can cause severe physical problems, what they don’t know is that it can cause severe psychological problems. One of those issues is a severe increase in anger and rage, which is what I experienced.
My last month of living there is the only time in my life I ever threw anything at a wall in a rage. It took about a year and a half for the mental issues to start to subside and 4 years later I feel like I’m back to my old self. My lowest time would be when I was living in that dump and was slowly being poisoned without knowing it until a year later.
35. Losing My Grandma, My Dog, and My Cat
It was about a year ago. At about nine years old my dad left, so since then I have been living alone with my pets and my mother. But recently we lost our beloved dog, which was quite tragic alone but following that event, we lost our cat about 2 months after. Our cat had been paralyzed suddenly and we had to take him inside for his last moments.
One thing about his mysterious injury was a suspicious-looking woman standing outside her car watching us and it was suspicious mostly because our cat had no way of falling down to break his neck since he was in the very middle of our neighbor’s yard. If she was the one to hit our cat, I have nothing against her since it was obvious that she didn’t mean to, either way, that was sad on its own especially since we had that cat since such a young age. Still, it was about to get so much worse.
Moving along to about the month of May, my grandma passed. This was very damaging to me since she was the only family member who I was close to (My nan passed when I was three and both my mom’s dad and my dad’s father had left when they were quite young). And other than that, the only family member who was actually close to me was my uncle who lives in Japan (on my mom’s side).
Grandma was very close to me and was honestly the closest thing I had to a second parent. She lived on a farm and even being a young gamer, I loved to be there and visiting her chickens. The worst part about losing everyone was my mother who would always be upset and me being a young teen, I tried my best to help but it was not enough.
More recently my mum found out her dad passed. Neither of us had met him but I can tell my mother was quite upset nonetheless. On a lighter note, I have always been happy with my life, having the privilege to have friends, a loving mother, nice cat, annoying but adorable young pupper, and a great love for Bob’s Burgers.
36. Sucker Punched the Father of My Child Mid-Contraction
Twenty-seven years ago, when I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter, my husband decided he had changed his mind and no longer wanted to be a husband or a father. Yes, he quite literally sat me down one morning and told me this. It turned out that he was having an affair with our co-worker. Back then, no one would hire a pregnant woman knowing she would be going on leave soon, so I had to stay at that job until after our daughter was born.
So, each day I would go into work and see the two of them together. It sucked. They didn’t try to hide anything. In order for him to (hopefully) feel responsible for his daughter, I told him he could be in the labor and delivery room. He made the mistake of telling me he loved me, right in the middle of a very intense contraction, and I cold-cocked him…right in the chin.
He went down like a rock. My doctor, who happened to be standing at the bottom of the bed, burst out laughing (he knew about our separation and why). Anyway, he did me a favor. I raised our daughter on my own, became wonderfully independent, and had a great time raising her. After she graduated from high school, I began dating again and “reconnected” with my high school sweetheart, who was also divorced. We’ve been married now for 8 years and I love my life!
37. You’ve Got This
I hadn’t left my room in over a week only leaving to eat or use the washroom. I had piles of homework to do and trash everywhere. It was just a nightmare. Imagine a neckbeard nest. That’s what it was like. I had started to clean my room one last time because I was hours away from locking myself in the garage and turning the key, letting myself slowly fall asleep forever. Depression had taken me down a very dark road. I couldn’t find a reason to keep existing.
How I got there? Long story short, I overworked myself to the point where I physically got sick whenever I looked at anything related to school. I didn’t even know you could do that. Stress is hard if you don’t have a healthy way of dealing with it—something I still don’t have fully figured out to this day. The only reason I’m here now is because of a friend.
Where am I now? Well, I’m in my dorm room at Sheppard Air Force Base sitting in a stained chair in nothing but a t-shirt and boxers. I’m not quite “happy,” but satisfied at the least. I signed up for the Air Force back in January and left for boot camp in mid-August. I got out less than three weeks ago. It was the worst summer camp ever. But I made it and now my life has some sense of purpose.
I can look up to the skies and see jets flying at supersonic speeds, almost taunting me. It’s like they know that’s where I want to be in the future. So, if you’re struggling, all I can say is find something—anything—that gives you a sense of purpose. It doesn’t matter how little or big that thing is. As my old commander says, you’ve got this.
38. Broke My Hand on Purpose
The lowest point in my life should’ve been the last 6 months. It started when I got named the lead at my job—but everything went downhill from there: No support from management, staff turned on me, dog passed, tire blowout that gave me a concussion, lead position was taken from me, tried to quit but was under contract, purposely broke my hand as a loophole to not work the rest of my contract, started day drinking, got busted for a DWI while backing down my driveway, dealing with more annoying work situations, and watching family and my wife’s family all treat me like I’m a scumbag despite still doing everything I’m supposed to.
All I see is that when people have addiction issues that people are supportive and praise their strength – but not with this. If it weren’t for my dogs, I think I would choose to disappear and never be found. I’ve gone as far as finding destinations I’d want to go to and how to go about starting a new life. I’ve supported all the people in my life and I watch as I’m treated as a vile creature when I go through my problems.
I’ve already shown signs of snapping out of my problems and slowing down my drinking. But it makes me want to go isolationist and never support anyone that is supposedly “close” to me.
39. 1,000 Days Sober
My lowest point was in 2016. I went to the hospital because my bosses thought I had a concussion. There was blood on my pillows, no focus, etc. They brought me to the hospital at noon and I had bloodwork done. The doctor asked me to talk in a private room and asked me a bunch of questions that I answered. I did balance tests, he took my blood pressure, etc.
He then asks me when the last time I’ve drank anything. I truthfully answer the night before. He then informs me that my BAC is .548 and that usually they’d be pumping my stomach at .4. I don’t have the shakes, I’m not slurring, I’m coherent, and I don’t smell like booze. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days and elected to go home with blood pressure through the roof.
When waiting to go home with my family, the nurses told my family that I hadn’t slept once since I had been there. They were concerned and had asked the other nurses to see if I was sleeping on any of the others’ shifts, which I wasn’t. This all got me to stay sober for a couple months. I’d like to say it got better, but I started drinking again, and it got so much worse. I started to have large seizures. My family gave up and cut off all communication. I became homeless. My first night checking into the shelter I saw a bum fight. Soon after, someone walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go to a meeting.
I told them that I’d tried it before and it didn’t work. “What do you have to lose?” I went to the meeting and slept on his couch for a bit and started going to a bunch of meetings on the bus. Over 400 in my first 90 days. I’ve been sober over a thousand days now, live with my fiancé who’s is over a decade and a half sober, looking to buy a new car and move into a new house next year.
I have a great job and I’ve been blessed to have a better life than I could ever deserve. Life is grand because of God and AA.
40. 25 with a 6 Year Sentence
In August of 2015, at age 25, I was busted for three counts of drug possession and Fraudulent Possession of Identifying Information (Between 10-50 items). Over the course of 4 months I had managed to take around $50,000 directly from banks without resorting to good old-fashioned identity theft, all to support my secret drug habit.
The final tally, once I was in custody, was seven felonies all in one arrest. Before this, I had never so much as had a traffic ticket and not a single person knew what I had become, including my girlfriend of three years. I was quite literally leading a double life, and eventually lost everything—my job, reputation, friends, family, girlfriend, cars, apartment, dog, instruments, everything. Gone.
I served 2 years 9 months on a six-year sentence in the Texas prison system (TDC), and was released on parole May 4, 2018 (Wish me luck!). Being stripped naked with 50 other men while guards scream at you and degrade you, shave your head, and pack you into a 30 man cage “nuts to butts” as they called it, was my lowest moment.
And that was just the first five minutes of prison. There were many, many more to come. I witnessed race riots, people being beaten up, drug overdoses, and guards beating inmates for no reason. I made it through Texas summers living in buildings with no air conditioning, with cells reaching 120° on an average day. I was forced to strip naked on average 3-4 times a day, and worked in the fields doing manual labor door free.
But nothing felt as low as that first hour of prison. It totally strips you of your humanity. Being bald and naked next to fifty other men will make you really evaluate your life choices. I’m so grateful that I have another chance to turn this around, because I could have just as easily been dead, or caused even more damage. Wish me luck, Reddit!
41. Sent to the Other Side of the World
My lowest point was probably during the period when I was taking benzos, among other drugs. A few school friends and I ended up having near the same experience. None of us can remember about 2 weeks of our lives. We were just taking so many of these things (Valium). I ended up losing my bartending job. I worked high and spilled drinks on customers.
One particularly funny line that I was told I said was someone complaining about a hair in their food and replied with, “It’s probably yours, don’t worry about it.” Additionally, it turned out I had agreed to be in a friend’s music video, which is on Vimeo somewhere and it took me a bunch of tries to get it right. I only have echoes of the song in my head.
I had blabbed to my Dad about what I was taking and stuff; I remember none of this. He was furious and ended up sending me to stay with some family on the other side of the world. It was the best thing he could’ve done. I “woke up” on the plane, momentarily confused, with only a few flashes of memory of the past few weeks. I gave up cold turkey and spent some time reconnecting with my siblings and old friends.
I came back, went to university, got a decent job and a girlfriend. All is well.
42. Placing the Blame
My lowest point was in 2006, 2 weeks before Christmas when my (ex now) wife decided that I took her 20s from her and left. It turns out that she had been seeing someone for quite a while before that. I found out everything (she shouldn’t have left MY computer unlocked after she checked her email). I lost it and moved West from the East Coast and got as far as Vegas.
I stayed there for about 6 weeks and then went up into the Mt. Charleston area to throw myself off a 1,000-foot cliff (Cathedral Rock for anyone interested in the area I’m talking about). I called my Mom just to hear her voice again and she picked right up on the fact something was “off” and she managed to talk me down.
That is the lowest I’ve ever been. All is good now and I’ve been dating a wonderful woman for four years with a killer gig at my job (good $$$ and easy work).
43. 26 with Stage 2 Cancer
My lowest point in life was when I was 26 years old with stage 2 cancer, bald, so sick I couldn’t get out of bed except to go to chemo for 4 months. You survivors know the chemo cocktail that is AC- had 4 rounds of that followed by 16 rounds of Taxol. I was financially dependent on my affluent boyfriend at the time who drank all the time and got real mean.
I wasn’t working because I was so ill and once I finished chemo, I knew I had to do 35 rounds of radiation and have surgery. The relationship became negative and toxic and I was forced to move out during my sickest point. I had sold my car and all my furniture to move in with him. I also lived in a state I had no family in.
I still remember I was so weak and sick from chemo I could barely stand let alone try to pack my stuff to move out. I was withering away at 109lbs on a 5’9 frame. He also kept the dog that was my emotional support animal essentially when I was sick. She would cuddle me and not leave my side after I went through chemo.
I remember my oncologist and my therapist telling me if I didn’t leave the relationship, I wouldn’t survive because the physical and emotional toll was too much during a crucial time my body needed the least amount of stress and to heal. I went from having everything to having nothing overnight in the absolute lowest point in my life.
I had no family history and I take care of my body. I made the mistake of being solely dependent on another person. I should have never sold my car and my furniture unless I knew there was a solid commitment there and an agreement in place in the instance we would split up. In addition to that, I wasn’t working at a job (because it didn’t seem important to me at the time) that had benefits such as paid long-term disability or extended medical leave.
If it wasn’t for my family, I wouldn’t have been able to get through it and I honestly do not know if I would have survived the stress of that due to my physical state and how sick I was. My parents drove 12 hours, spent three days packing my stuff, bought me a car, helped me find a place and get the essentials.
I still remember walking into the car dealership with my dad looking like I left Auschwitz with a beanie on my bald head and my thin frame and the salesman tearing up. My grandparents helped me financially for the first year until I was back to work full time. I got through radiation with the support of my friends in my cancer support group who took me to appointments, celebrated with me on my last day and helped lift me up when I needed it.
That first year after I moved out going through treatment and dealing with so much trauma and looking so different, was spent largely in a deep, dark hole. I felt so depressed and I cried all the time. I lost 4 friends in my cancer group within a year. Sometimes I truly look back and am amazed that I got through all that.
Today, I’m 31 and I am 5 years in remission with clear scans happening two days ago. I’ve got my own cute little place in a city that I love. I work for a large IT company with fantastic benefits that understands the role survivorship will play in my life. I have a savings account, my own money and investments and my own stuff (I do still have the car my dad bought me and will probably drive that thing into the ground).
I’m healthy, happy and I found out that I look a lot better with a short sassy long bob than with hair halfway down my back. I am truly the happiest I’ve been in my adult life. I learned so much. Don’t get me wrong, I have a rap sheet of trauma and I have PTSD. I feel pretty numb and I think I will always have to try and focus on processing and healing what I went through.
I am, though, doing the best I can and I am so happy with my life and what I have been able to achieve on my own from such a low point. I know I can get through anything and on days when things get hard, I always humble myself and remember that year of my life.
44. Infatuated, Duped, In Debt
I was a very lonely person suffering clinical depression, approaching the category of “Incel” but I still had a best friend helping me live life as positively as I could. His dad passed and he had to move back home with his mum to support her (which I completely understood). I was left living alone, working a job with bad pay, and sitting around my house all the time, which had me so close to broke that I was living off vegemite on toast every day and night.
I then met a young girl who had 2 young children (2 and 5) to different fathers. I very, very quickly fell head over heels for her and she and I hung out every night after work and every weekend. It turns out she was a very, very bad person. When I say I fell for her, I fell HARD. She knew it too and took full advantage. I gave up the weed cold turkey.
I bought her packets of smokes (in Australia, so $30+ a packet), groceries, shoes, clothes. She told me her phone was terrible and needed a new one but she had no money and no credit so I went on a plan and she made one payment before I started picking up that tab too. After a while, she told me she was getting evicted and had nowhere to go so we moved in together. This is where things started to get really bad.
I, of course, volunteered to pay the majority of the rent. I paid $300 a week and she paid $50. She said she had OCD so none of my old furniture was any good. I said no problem and got $4k of new furniture on finance that she said she would make payments on but never did. About a month into the 6-month lease, she met a guy online and asked him to move in.
Obviously, he was unemployed so could not pay any rent or bills. After a couple of weeks, this snapped me out of my infatuation and I was able to start looking at things objectively. I realized that I’d been taken for a ride and how in debt and screwed up I’d allowed myself to become. I confronted them and told her that she had promised to pay for the iPhone and furniture. She laughed and said I had never asked for money until now and that I was only jealous of her and her man.
Two days later I came home from work and the house was empty except for my room. She had moved out with the guy and taken everything. I went to the authorities and told them what had happened and said I wanted charges pressed. They said because I had given her a key to the house there was nothing they could do and they didn’t think it was their problem.
I explained she was on the lease so of course she had access to the house but the stuff was all in my name and I could prove it with paperwork but they were not interested and told me there was nothing I could do. I went to the real estate and told them she had broken her lease and moved out without notice. They said she had not been paying her bit of the rent and that I needed to cover it.
I was screwed, had nothing to show for my ridiculous amount of debt, and could see no way out. I started drinking but couldn’t afford anything good, sometimes 2 a night. The absolute low point was when I found myself in a bottle shop with a big jar of 20 cent coins counting them out to buy my 2 boxes of goon for that night.
Shortly afterward, I called a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a long time and cried my guts out. I told them everything. Over the next couple of weeks, they stayed in constant contact and introduced me to one of their friends who lived in Adelaide (I was in Wollongong at the time, a different state). This new friend was an amazing person.
She and I talked every night on the phone for months on end. When my lease ended, I upped and moved interstate and now her and I are married with 3 beautiful kids. We have worked very hard and are now completely debt-free and are paying off our own house. Life is now officially amazing.