My husband is an adventurous guy.
He is always up for a good, fun, and spontaneous adventure. I, on the other hand, am more of a planner and coordinator. When we recently decided to take a quick trip to Kentucky to see Mammoth Cave National Park, I reluctantly said, “Let’s wing it” as we discussed our itinerary.
What does this have to do with mental health you might ask? Keep reading. I am getting there.
So, we stopped over in the Red River Gorge area and decided, on a whim, to do a rock-climbing experience. “Ok, sure! Let’s do it.” Are you seeing the trend here?
The next morning, we woke early, had a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant, and off we went… to rock climb! We received our 30-minute instruction from a lovely guide named Maggie. Then, off we went. To climb a mountain. My husband and teenage sons were so excited. I was not sure what I had agreed to and was a bit apprehensive.
My husband started up first, followed by the oldest, then the youngest and I brought up the rear. I got about 30 feet up the climb. I looked up to find a handhold. I looked down to find the foot rung. Frozen! I was frozen. Just about that time, my youngest son said, “I can’t do this. I’m coming down.” We chatted for a minute clipped to the side of a mountain and we both decided to go back down. As his feet hit the ground, he said, “I really want to do it.”
Here’s where the mental health piece comes in. You see, I had frozen in fear. I wanted to vomit. My heart was racing. My mind was spinning. But my husband and oldest son had already gone up, and the youngest had to have an adult with him. So, back up together we went. There was a lot of deep breathing. There was a lot of positive self-talk. There was a lot of encouragement between my son and I. We finished the first section, then went down to get a drink and take a break with my husband and oldest son. Then, we went back up – again! We went up for the second section.
The second section was supposed to be easier. In some ways it was. Our initial nerves were gone. The adrenaline was motivating us. I suppose you could say we were having fun, too. In other ways, there were some more challenging areas. But, we all worked together. We encouraged each other. We helped each other every step along the way.
This experience can easily be transferred to everyday life. Sometimes our mountain seems too far when we look up or high when we look down. But, using our coping skills, whatever they may be, can help us. Partnering with encouraging people can help us. And, not giving up – no matter how hard the climb – can help us. At Hope and Healing Psychotherapy, we are here to encourage you, cheer you on and teach you a few coping skills to manage the mountain that lies ahead of you.