Keep Fighting

We’ve been in Pinedale, Wyoming for almost two weeks now.  We absolutely love this small town with a big heart.  It’s a great hub to go on day hikes and backcountry backpacking trips.  We’ve enjoyed our stay and now we’re moving on to Teton country.

We’ll spend a few days off the grid then make our way up to Yellowstone for a few days then head to Glacier National Park!  We’ll set up shop in Glacier moving from on and off the grid.  From everything I’ve seen Glacier is absolutely epic so we’re pretty excited.

I’ve had a few people ask if I’m okay after my last post.  I want to assure you that everything is going great.  Long hiking trips can be a wee bit mentally tough.  You have a lot of time to get lost in your head and that’s not always the best thing for me.  But always in the end I end up working through it.

It’s been hitting me lately that even though I’m living my dream, even though my circumstances are absolutely ideal I still have to deal with my mental health issues.  And it’s kinda frustrating me a little bit.  I feel guilty for struggling a little bit and I feel a little embarrased that I’m still having issues.

I didn’t expect all my problems to go away when we hit the road but I’ve realized I did expect them to ease up a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely thankful for what we’re able to do right now, living on the road is helping my brain, but well, I guess I did expect my problems to go away, haha so scratch that first sentence.

I still have highs and lows, I’m struggling with anger and tension for some reason then I get mad at myself for being tense.  I’m livin’ the dream!!  Everything should be dreamy!!  But real life exists, even with wonderful circumstances.

I think that’s just the thing with mental health, it can be a daily battle.  There are times that Andrew asks me what’s wrong and the best answer I can give is I’m just a little down.  When he asks what caused it I have to embarrasingly say, nothing.  There is no reason for being down, it just hits out of nowhere and there are no explanations or quick fixed.  I’m just a little down and I need time to work through it.  There’s where the real battle comes in.  Guilt for being down for no reason mixed with shame for what feels like a broken mental health system eats away at my thoughts and emotions.  “Just get over it!” I think.  You have no reason for feeling like this, everything is great, my family loves and supports me, Andrew is wonderful and sweet to me, what’s my problem??

Andrew is caring and keeps asking how I’m doing and that for some reason makes it worse because I feel like it keeps drawing attention to the fact that I’m feeling down.

Like I’ve said before, when I struggle I feel like I’m less than, like something is broken and I need to be fixed.  And I’m Bipolar for goodness sakes, so one minute I’m struggling and the next I’m just fine.

I know I’m kinda all over the place in this post and I apologize for that . I guess my main point is, sometimes for no good reason, I struggle but as Mama always says, “that is an explanation, not an excuse.”  So just because I’m having a hard time that does not give me the excuse to be short with Andrew or to mope around all day.  Moment by moment, it is a choice, what am I going to focus on?  I can’t reiterate that enough, I have to every minute decide to focus on the positive.  Some days it’s easier than others but it is usually a daily battle.  These are the cards I’ve been dealt, and I can wallow around in self pity and anger or I can choose to instead think that my mental health issues have made me more perseptive, they’ve made me sensitive to others that are struggling as well, and they’ve made me appreciate even more those moments of peace.

I think one of the main things to combat is guilt and shame.  If you struggle as well, no matter your issue, no matter your label I want to tell you that you are first of all, not alone, but also you are not less than, unworthy or a mistake.  Realize that whatever hand you’ve been dealt is unique and it gives you a unique perspective. With it comes a sensitivity that you can use for positive.  There are days you need to wallow and there are days you need to pick up your pieces, focus on the positive and move forward, step by step.

Jesus had been with his disciples for years and when He was leaving them ascending into heaven, do you know what His parting words were, what He chose to leave with them?

“Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

He knew that we struggle, He knew that we become anxious and fearful and He offers His peace that surpasses all understanding.  And we can ask for it, we can come to Him, issues and all, and He will give to us His peace.  Sometimes you might have to ask every minute, but He does not grow weary of our asking and He will provide.

Mental health can be a battle, it is not for the weary of heart, if you struggle, there is a strength to you.  Realize that.  Do not be ashamed, you are not alone and keep fighting.

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