Today Craig and I climbed with an old friend of mine; a dark sort of friend, who hasn’t been around in a while.
If I’m honest I’ve felt this old friend near for about a week now, perhaps longer, he’s probably been setting up for his arrival and poking his head around the corner for days, but haven’t recognised the signs. From days of just wanting to stay home and ‘do nothing’, to that feeling that someone has stuck a syringe deep into your chest and drained every ounce of energy from you, leaving your arms and legs like lead and the urge to just sleep your days away.
If you’re familiar with my old friend, you may know him as depression, and you know that he can strike anywhere, any time. Well he showed up in full force today, even as we drove down those picturesque winding roads in the stunning Fort William, Scotland, in the gorgeous heart of mother nature’s beauty, that feeling of sheer dread at having to move my body set in.
We set off on the track and I felt him beside me, I almost turned right back there and then, I instantly wanted to retreat to the safety of the b&b and cozy up in it all, feeling sorry for myself, but ultimately hiding… so after a few tears and deep breaths I decided to take him with me up this mountain instead and work it out together.
With every boggy bit of track and each time the rain fell (which is often!) I was reminded that my old friend was by my side, reminded of other journeys we’ve travelled in the past; although he’s usually leading – this time he wasn’t. By the time we got to the last push to the summit and the rocks got darker and the incline steeper, I felt him retreat… perhaps he turned back (god knows I wanted to several times) or perhaps he’s gone away again for a while but I feel like I pushed through this time, and I know I can again.
We cannot let depression define us, and we can’t escape or bury it. Instead we must accept it, befriend it, work with it to find a solution, otherwise next time it may not be walking by my side but the very mountain itself and that will be a tough climb indeed.
- Craig has been amazing, stopping to hold me while I broke down occasionally, dealing with my complaining and trying his best to make me laugh. At times it felt like he was just out of reach; like when you’re in a dream and you can hear some one calling you in real life? But he was there and he is incredible.