As someone who spent the majority of my young adult life in long term relationships, being on my own for the better part of the last year has been quite a transition. After eight years of being someone’s someone, becoming single felt like a major loss of what had been a huge part of my identity. From the age of 17, I was a girlfriend; and when I wasn’t one any longer I sure as hell had no idea how to navigate the world as – ‘gasp’ – a single person.
They say that everything happens for a reason – and while I’m not sure how much you (or I) buy into the whole fate mentality – I recently had a moment of clarity. In spite of the fact I have experienced what was by far the most challenging year of my life, for the first time ever, I felt truly and genuinely grateful for it.
Since moving to this incredible province, I have found a true passion for the outdoors (the kind of passion where you walk up a mountain with 60 pounds on your back to sleep on the ground, drink lake water, and pee in the forest) - but for me it’s about more than getting outside for some exercise and sunshine. As someone who battles anxiety and depression on a daily basis, for me the mountains have become my medicine.
Mark Twain hit the nail on the head. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. Factor in the culture of today’s social media oriented society, and the ‘life highlight reel’ of others is constantly shoved in our faces. Needless to say, if you’re having a bad day or struggling with personal hardships, constantly seeing everyone’s best self makes it very difficult to come out on top.
The prioritization of physical health versus mental health is an issue of contention in today’s society. Despite a shift towards mental health literacy, it is evident that regardless of our education, background, or personal experiences, when comparing mental to physical health, many of us (myself included) are guilty of favouring physical illness as a more legitimate form of disability.
True or not, many of you might be familiar with Murphy’s Law; an age old adage stating that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I’m not generally one for negativity, but let me tell you – I can definitely relate. 2016 was one hell of a year, and while not everything went wrong, the universe definitely wasn’t doing me any favours.
How can I justifiably advocate for people to openly discuss their personal experiences with mental illness and addiction when I haven’t done so myself? THIS IS MY STORY.