While I’ve already posted most of these photos on social media, I wanted to take the time and talk about the significance of this trip. These last couple months have been rough for me, especially the last few weeks. My depression has won almost every single day. When I say that I mean it interfered with my routine or effected me accomplishing a goal of mine. This time getting out of bed isn’t the hard part. It’s about getting anything done, having motivation or being able to distract myself from my own thoughts long enough. From breakdowns, to suicidal thoughts, to panic attacks that have been averaging 6 hours. They’ve been occurring almost on a daily basis.
It starts with my panic attacks, which will then trigger my depression and bring on the thoughts of blame, self hate, and guilt. My boyfriend gets the short end on this and he is so understanding, patient and forgiving to me. Being in a relationship with a mental illness is one of the hardest things. My panic attacks can take anything and turn it into a downward spiral. And I’m aware of it the entire time its happening. I can see myself getting upset or angry about something when I shouldn’t, but its really hard to have self control. It’s like watching from the outside and theirs nothing I can do. Then this triggers all the self hate thoughts. Like “Why are you like this” “Why cant you be normal” “This is the reason your alone” “You’re a terrible person”… I could go on. And it just doesn’t stop from there.
From there is when the suicidal thoughts come in. They started popping up a few weeks ago. The weird thing about them is I could go months without having one, even when dealing with stress and anxiety. Then one day it just happens. It’s like a small seed planted in my brain and it grows from there. Each breakdown, each panic attack it gets more frequent and more severe. To a point where doing it seems better than anything at the moment. It’s scary. I don’t have many friends but I have a few, and a boyfriend that all know how to respond when i say “I can’t do this anymore” or “I don’t want to be here”. If no ones available and I really don’t think I can handle it I’ll call my doctor or the suicide hotline. Suicide rates are very high in people with Bipolar and I don’t want to be apart of that number. It’s not something I want, but with all the emotions and thoughts telling you something different it becomes a huge battle.
This trip gave me exactly what I needed. It was only a few days but being outside on such gorgeous days in February doing what I love gave my mind a break. I was able to take all that negative energy and focus it on something that didn’t stress me out. Climbing, although it can piss you off sometimes, is a huge stress relief and it challenges your mind to focus and forget about all the other clutter going on.
I took all that energy and was able to teach my friend how to place trad gear, clean routes and watched him lead his first trad route. It reminded me how much I love teaching, and the excitement people get when learning knew things is instant gratification. This was also Jessie’s biggest outing so I got to have some mother-doggy bonding time. (She had the time of her life) AAANNNDDD I also got to add the classic route Whiteout Direct to my list of lead solo ascents.
The weekend was exhausting for sure but it was well needed. Since I returned, I’ve had one anxiety attack. But in the last two days I haven’t cried, and I haven’t had one suicidal thought. That’s a win. I feel like this is good example of how climbing helps my mental state. And generally how physical activity or being outside can help anyone. Seasonal depression is a big deal at this time of year. It’s really important to enjoy those sunny days and give yourself some slack.