Somewhere along the way, I lost myself. I thought that mental illness was something I could wish away or ignore and that I’d magically get the old me back. I thought I could rely on others to ‘fix’ me. After all, I was just in a slump that I could inevitably beat. Wasn’t I? (Newsflash. I wasn’t.)
I stopped trying to fix what was wrong and I withdrew. I beat myself down for not being good enough, but I didn’t do anything to make myself better. I told people that loved me that they were wrong to do so. I surrounded myself with a bubble of negativity and anger and sadness and then wondered why I was pushing people away.
It’s Tuesday evening. I arrived at Red Mountain Resort today a broken version of myself. I am proud and terrified that I took a step to focus on my wellness through this trip. I have spent the day holding back tears that I have let myself get to a place where I had to flee my real life to find myself. I held it all together until I closed the door of my cozy room and everything came out. Of my eyes.
I really have to face my demons. I’m here, alone, and there’s no one to distract me from myself and my thoughts and my emotions.
It’s ok to not be strong all the time. It’s ok to not hide behind a smile and an “I’m good!” when someone asks how you’re doing.
It’s ok to do what you need to do to get right with yourself.
After my tearful arrival, I took time to meditate, to take some deep breaths and to focus on what I am here to do. I’m here to find the person that I used to be and bring her back to life. I’m here to do things I never thought possible, like making one of the 30 most terrifying hikes in America.
I’m here to breathe. I’m here to rejuvenate.
I am so lucky. I am lucky that I have friends and family who love me and support me. I am lucky that I am able to take this trip. I am lucky that I know what I’m facing and no longer in a state of confused limbo.
On the flight, I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now (because I mean, how much more cliché can I get?). While reading, I found myself thinking “I hate people that can do this. I hate people that can separate their thoughts from their emotions. This book is stupid and I hate everything about it.”
But one thing resonated with me more than anything I’ve ever heard and that was the concept of the anxiety gap. The anxiety gap is when you’re living in the here and now but your mind is in the future.
So you mean that’s not how EVERYONE’S brain is? That’s not normal? Everyone doesn’t stay awake for days at a time stressing about what the future might (or even worse, might NOT) bring?
After collecting myself in my hotel room, I ventured out into the resort. I located the spa, which was the first thing on the itinerary that the amazing concierge set up for me. I followed my massage with dinner and then headed over to an acupuncture session that I truly believe changed my life.
I felt like my body was giving me permission to relax for the first time in my life. I felt a level of calm unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and even when I tried to search my brain for things that are weighing on me, I couldn’t find them. That acupuncture session renewed me.
So here I sit, in this really comfortable bed. I had a massage. I had an amazing acupuncture session. I took a bubble bath in the deepest tub I have ever seen. I ate a delicious dinner and now I’m going to get a good night’s sleep before 6 hours of hiking tomorrow.
I am going to pick up the pieces and live in the now.