A little over a year ago I made a list of things I would do if I were brave. It was ten items long. The list included: cliff jumping, canyoneering, cliff jumping, riding a motorcycle, and backpacking. You can see the actual picture of my list to my left. Depression makes me not to want to do anything. Anxiety makes me too nervous to do anything. I never thought I would ever be able to do anything on my list. All of those things seem like unattainable dreams. All of these activities were things only other “cooler” people would do. I didn’t have the energy to do them. I didn’t even have the guts to even think about it. I looked at pictures on Instagram, and that was that. I wanted to experience so much and to do everything I always wanted to do. I just wasn’t that person. Anxiety and depression would never allow that, or so I thought.
The quote that I connected with more than anything at this period in my life was “I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free” by Cheryl Strayed. I wanted to be one of those people so badly. The ones who hike, backpack, rock climb, skydive, mountain bike, or anything else. I wanted to live my own life outside of society’s guidelines. Travel, write and be merry. Do me. I never had enough courage to do any of those things.
A few weeks after I wrote this list, I went out on a trip to Colorado and San Francisco mostly on my own. I did so much that I thought I would never do. Since then, I have never turned back. I have crossed many things off that list, and I will only keep going. There is so much I still want to do, but I’m so proud of myself of all things I have already accomplished.
I have climbed Mount Katahdin. I have rock climbed multiple routes. I have biked on
mountains. I have done backpacking trips. I have done things I never thought I would be capable of doing. Yesterday was my way to prove that. I went to the Shawangunk Ridge at Mohonk Preserve. I did a two-pitch climb, swam, biked six miles, climbed boulders, hiked the lemon squeeze, and then drank a beer in celebration. I only had ONE moment of high anxiety when I was doing the second pitch of the climb and went the wrong way. Other than that, I was great. I had no moments of high anxiety at the end of the day. I completed it on my own. I had some encouragement for my lovely boyfriend, but I never gave up.
This goes to show that anxiety and depression try to get you to hide away to stop becoming the person you always wanted to be. It’s hard getting to that point where you are okay with stepping outside your comfort zone, even with anxiety and depression whispering in your ear. Having someone who supports you and believes in you is a piece of it, but more importantly, believe in yourself. I have gotten better at moving past it, but I still have my moments. I doubt they will ever fully stop, but I won’t stop either. Do the things you always dreamed of. Don’t let anxiety and depression turn you into a person you didn’t want to be. Some days it’s hard. Really hard. But never give up. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.