Women Share What They Needed To Get Through A Tough Time

Kasia Mikolajczak
woman sitting on the beach alone
Pexels | Pexels

We all go through tough times in our lives. Some of us are still struggling right now. Truth be told, it's hard to get out of a rut when you're in that state of mind. But it isn't impossible.

That's why when I discovered a Reddit thread that asked, "Women who were once in a rut in your life, what was your rut, and how did you overcome it?" I was really interested to see how people got out of it. Let's find out.

This Past Trauma

woman's blue eye
Unsplash | Amanda Dalbjörn

"A big trauma, I didn't have the support or tools to deal with at 22, compounded into at least 8 years of damage. I had to choose to stop hurting myself and try to get better. Spent a year sober and worked the 12 steps, which was incredibly valuable. Learned to keep my side of the street clean, do only the right things, and apologize when I do wrong. Then a year of EMDR therapy fixed my brain."

Congratulations to this lady here.

These Life Changes

hand writing in a notebook
Unsplash | Cathryn Lavery

"Moved, changed career paths, dropped relationship, mature fashion style copied from my mum, more natural makeup and hair, volunteered, learned to drive, and joined a sports club. I made a big list that sat on my desk and got through it all that’s what I’ve achieved so far."


This Lost Dream

giraffe in a Zoo
Unsplash | Alexander Ross

"I was working my dream job at a zoo but couldn't afford a life I deemed worthy of living. I worked happily for 3 years, then realized I would never be able to buy a home, live alone, or travel at all(domestic or international). I had to choose between car maintenance or food. Even so, I didn't know how to give up what I was born to do. I worked another 3 years, depressed, and finally left for a financially stable job. I was still sad for almost a year because I was SO ANGRY that my dream job, with a degree, was poverty-paying. But then I realized that other jobs were cushy and I did a fraction of the work for 4 times the pay. I got to travel, see more friends and family and fulfill other goals and dreams. I had to intentionally focus on the good, and I still get royally pissed at low wages, but it turned around."

Sadly, this is the reality for a lot of people.

This Healthy Change

running club
Unsplash | Gabin Vallet

"I was in such a rut after my divorce. I didn’t find my routines to be satisfying in the way that I had been. It sucked, and I was challenged about what to do next. What helped me a lot was to get outside. I limited alone time and any time spent with idle hands. I signed up for volunteer activities and participated in community events/fundraisers. Running (my fave) is a solo sport, and at my worst, I started to find it more lonely than helpful. I actually joined a run club to generate more companionship in my life. That was huge. I also joined a women's workout club that met at 5 a.m. for boot camp-style workouts twice a week."

That sounds like such a great idea.

This Tough Step

woman brushing teeth
Unsplash | Diana Polekhina

"When I was having a particularly bad time with my mental health, I found myself unable to get out of bed for weeks. Eventually, I was able to do very small tasks — like just getting up and getting myself a drink, or brushing my teeth — even if it was the only thing I did that day. I told myself that no matter what, I can do one thing. Eventually, I built up those small things and managed to get back into a routine, back to work and back to my ‘normal life’ again."

"Sometimes, the smallest steps have such a huge impact, and it’s important to remember not to overdo it or rush your progress."

Oh, my goodness.

This Mom Rut

Phoebie from Friends clapping and saying "Well done. Bravo!"
Giphy | Friends

"I had 2 children, a full-time job, and a husband who worked away a lot. I felt like I was just passing time and not doing anything for myself so I enrolled in a part-time course at a local uni where I would go one afternoon a week over 5 years to get a degree. It was so hard but once I had done that the kids were older and more self-sufficient so I went on to do my masters. The kids are leaving school in 1 year so I pushed it further and have just started my Ph.D. Everything I have done has been part-time fitted around my life but I knew I had to do something for myself before I lost self to others."

That's really impressive, no?

This Family Tie

woman standing in front of brown wood plank
Pexels | Pexels

"My rut came from just trauma after trauma so I cut out the one person at the center of all of it finally. It took over a year of medication and therapy to get to that point of being able to set and maintain boundaries. I have been able to grow so much, I've started school, started my dream job, my marriage and mental health have never been better. Sucks that the person had to be my mom though because I know she would be proud of me."

That must've been so hard.

This Healing Process

woman sitting in a chair drinking from a mug
Pexels | Pexels

"Currently still in the rut, but I’m on the other side of it now! I had three traumas in a row, which caused me to have the worst burnout I have ever experienced in my life. It isn’t depression or anxiety. It is a total deflation of myself as a human being. I have one more year of grad school left, so my goal is to maintain my mind as it is now (I.e. don’t let the burnout get worse) and then once I graduate, I will be taking some much-needed time off work to begin my healing process."

This is the right path.

This Self-Growth

grayscale photo of woman in a sweater sitting alone
Pexels | Pexels

"I had a variety of challenges going on (prior trauma, health issues, life changes) and was a very hateful being. I finally realized I was treating others the same way I was treating myself. I started to take accountability and become more self-aware. I began to live my life for myself and accept that change is inevitable. Self-growth is extremely difficult but rewarding!!!"

This is so true, no?

This Self-Realization

woman sitting near a laptop giving a thumbs up
Pexels | Pexels

"I was in a bad place spiritually and psychologically. I overcame it by distancing and cutting out almost everyone I met during my first year of college and Young Life. 2 years of therapy and 50mg of Zoloft later, I’ve graduated college, been working a steady job, and care a lot less about others’ opinions of me."

This Bad Situation

Heidi Klum saying "wow"
Giphy | Lifetime

"My rut was a dead-end job, dead-end relationship and a lot of resentment that came from both. I adored my job, but it had become unfulfilling and was poverty-paying. My partner was making a lot more than me, even though he worked at the same place, doing basically the same job (and without the degree or degree debt I have). He was very resentful that I couldn’t just book a holiday on a whim or afford a fancy place to live. He was not willing to split things according to income, so I just couldn’t do it all.

"He found another girl, started up a relationship with her to make sure it was going somewhere, and dumped me at New Year while my grandmother was dying in hospital, so he could have a fresh start to the year with her.

"It was the making of my life. I quit my job so I didn’t have to work with him, pursued a Master's to get out of there and improve my chances at a better job, and started living my life for me instead of reining myself in all the time to keep a very insecure man who wanted a cheerleader to do his laundry happy. Three or four months after I started that job, I rekindled some old friendships from university and got chatting to one of them on a regular basis. We’re getting married in 14 days.

"Ruts are awful, but while you’re in that bowl, remember what might be waiting on the other side. The ideal is different for everyone, but time and care for yourself is key."


This Rough Start

sign that says "Social Media"
Unsplash | Merakist

"I've had a lot of health problems that took years to get treated. Because of my poor health, I couldn't go to university after graduating high school and couldn't get a full-time job because I physically couldn't handle it. It was very depressing seeing all my past school peers starting their careers or getting married and having kids, and I'm not achieving with my life except getting another surgery. I found that social media was a huge factor in my depression.

"I was comparing myself to other people, which was very unfair to myself. We all have our own journeys in life, so there's no point in comparing myself to others. Once I deleted my social media, it was like I could breathe again. Jump to seven years later, and I was able to get my health back on track and go to university and start my career at my own pace."

We all have our different paths. It's important to realize that.

This Self-Improvement

people on a date
Unsplash | Tibor Pápai

"Career/life direction in shambles. Got diagnosed with ADHD, got on medication, went through cognitive behavioral therapy, started hanging out with people with the kind of qualities/lives I wanted (which did mean distancing myself from my more negative, going-nowhere friends), read some time-management books."

"Once I got myself together career-wise, I turned my attention to my dead romantic life. It's still in shambles but lots of therapy (and reading, as always!), new clothes, more effort into my appearance and dating life, and subtle cosmetic work have helped me make tons of progress

Really important to note that money made a huge difference. I had some money from my parents and job that I decided to 'invest' in myself (eg therapy, a bit of life coaching, clothes, etc.) and I acknowledge that it's waaaay more difficult to get yourself out of a rut without time and money."

This is so true.

This Vicious Cycle

measuring tape and pills against a yellow background
Unsplash | Diana Polekhina

"I was depressed for years. It led to me overeating and I was overweight. One day a very perceptive female doctor recommended me antidepressants. It pulled me out of the hole and I had energy to do work to help myself stay out of the hole. For me, that's regular exercise and sleep, plus some stoic philosophy and therapy. A lot happened then. I found my passion, I lost weight, and life is a lot better these days."

Amazing, huh?

This Hard Decision

blurry picture of woman
Unsplash | Christopher Ott

"I was in a marriage that had long been dead, I wasn’t thrilled with my employment, I really stuck to myself and felt quite isolated, lots of anxiety that kept me from making any sort of life-changing decision."

"Went in for a consult for anxiety because I needed a change and I was ready to deal with it. Got put on medication and it was like everything clicked, got divorced, started focusing on me and things in my life that would make me happier."

Happy to hear that.

This Life Lesson

woman saying "Nobody hates me more than me. Generally speaking."
Giphy | CBC

"Listen before I say this, I know how cliche it is. But genuinely, the thing that helped me the most out of my financial and mental instability (it was really bad) is learning to love every single part of myself and nurture the parts I had a hard time loving, ie my anger, my insecurities, etc. I found the 'bad' parts of my personality were there because of the way I was talking to myself and trauma.

"Restructuring how I spoke to those parts helped me build my self-worth and confidence and I started cutting out toxic people (including family), taking better care of myself, and then really just got to the point where I was like 'wow I literally am amazing and can do anything I want' and then went back to school and did it! I don't have a lot of support and I still had reeeaaally bad days but I knew I could do it and let myself rest when I could to reduce burnout."

Kudos to this brave soul.

This Happiness Chaser

woman stretching her arms looking content
Unsplash | Fernando Brasil

"I chased my happiness. It wasn't like things were bad. I had a husband who loved me dearly, who was my best friend. A wonderful daughter. I didn't need to work. I met and exceeded my parent's expectations. Except. I wasn't happy, I was just content. I wanted to work, to have a career where I made a difference. I wanted to not just be comfortable and friendly with my spouse, but also to crave their company. I wanted to be proud of my life and my place in it. I wanted to be a woman that not only my younger self but also my daughter could be proud of and inspired by. I was haunted by what ifs."

"After trying almost everything to make things better, my spouse and I separated. I moved halfway across the country for a job in my field, in our home state but over 100 miles away from anyone I knew. I dealt with all the judgment and shame directed towards me for dissolving my marriage, especially with a child."

"And you know what? I'm the happiest I've ever been. I have a career in public service, in my field. I do work I'm incredibly proud of, that my daughter brags about. I am now married to an amazing man whom I never feel ambivalent about being with (still besties with my ex, but we're way better as just friends)."

"It took a few years to get here, but I am so glad I followed my happiness. It's not worth it to try and fit yourself into a life that doesn't sit right."

Wow! I'm so impressed by this story here.

This Helpful Advice

Oprah saying "Thank you for that."
Giphy | The Drew Barrymore Show

"I'm in another rut now. But I have managed this before so what works: Figuring out what isn't working and why. If you don't know what you really want, what's important and what isn't working you won't recognize opportunities or be able to take action. This might involve therapy etc as it isn't easy to do a Stocktake of your life.

"Exploring the options: look at job vacancies, study opportunities, real estate online, online dating, take a holiday to try a new location... whatever it takes to rule out some possibilities and carefully consider others.

"Recognize opportunities and take the first steps! This is the commitment stage. Apply for that exciting opportunity. Put your house on the market!

"Follow through. Do the Mahi (work) as we say in my country. There's a lot of work in changing your life.

"Celebrate success, recognize that it is going to be completely different to what you expected but hopefully in a wonderful way.

"For me, I bought a house, changed careers and retrained within 3 years the first time. The second one was all about emotional growth and I lost a lot of weight. This time I had a plan at the beginning of 2020 but things happened and I sheltered in place for 2 years so now is the time to reconsider it and I'm in the exploring the options stage. Ironically I wanted a quieter, less frantic life."

Sometimes it just works out like that.

I find these stories so inspiring.

woman saying "I'm just so inspired."
Giphy | Golden Globes

Most of us have been in some kind of rut before, but it's definitely harder if it keeps happening to you. It's never easy to decide to change your life. It's the difference between making it better or just staying like that forever. And if you have good people around you who are willing to at least be there, it could be the support that might help you get there.