As I sit here writing this – alone in front of a fire that I successfully built myself, on the side of a logging road to a destination I was unable to successfully reach - I finally have the opportunity to process the chaos of the past two months.
For a while I lost my independence. I convinced myself that I couldn’t be happy without someone by my side; I forgot what it felt like to actually enjoy spending time on my own; and I let the fear of being alone hold me back from doing the things I so desperately wanted to do. But then, buried beneath my emotional scars and insecurity, I found it again.
I’ll be honest – I tend to be a bit of a stubborn person, and for quite some time I liked to think that I (alone) could take the bull by the horns and handle whatever life threw my way. Over the years, I have come to realize that sometimes the bull can get a bit rowdy, and asking for a hand to reign him in is probably better than getting stabbed in the stomach by a bull horn. Put simply – it’s okay to ask for help.
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.
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.