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How Scaling Mountains Teaches Me I Can Scale Depression

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If you struggle with depression, then you most likely know there are many ways to combat the demon known as depression. Some combat it with meds, others use essential oils and some use things you and I have never heard of.

For quite some time I only used meds to combat mine. That was until I found myself climbing. Climbing? Yes, climbing. You see, I have climbed since I was little. But for some reason as things got more complicated and worse for me, I didn’t go quite as often as I used to. I didn’t begin to go frequently again until after high school.

But before I continue, let me explain to you what I see and find in climbing. I climb outdoor rock. It has been a love of mine since I was little. As I have gotten older, I have gotten to see the walls in a new light. When I was younger, I would look up at them and see just a wall that said “Climb me!” Now I look at them and see an intricate puzzle with multiple solutions.

This puzzle I see is almost addicting. You get to the wall and start trying and you have to beat it! Because when you beat it… you beat it. You overcame the wall, and have pushed yourself to become stronger. It is this feeling and process of beating the wall and yourself that has allowed me to become stronger — not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.

Most of the time when you meet a climber, you ask them why they love climbing so much. You will definitely hear many varying answers, but in these answers you will hear one constant factor that carries throughout all of them. “I climb to get better and improve.” When you climb, you can improve in any way that you want to, sometimes without even realizing it.

It was this beautiful journey that helped me find myself and combat my depression better than I have at any point prior. When I climb I find peace. I find a mentally challenging game that tests me to the point that depression seems almost non-existent in many of those moments. I find myself mastering my body, mind and spirit with each pitch I climb. But most of all, I start to see my life as a massive climb.

This climb of life we are going through is long. At some points it has almost taken all our energy out of us. Sometimes it gets so hard you want to let go and give up. While other times are so easy and nothing could go wrong. But just like in climbing as in life, you always have your belay holding you up in those moments when you want to give up and let go.

You are never alone. Even if right now you just want to give up and feel like no one in the world cares about you, someone does. If you don’t believe me then hear this. I care about you. I know you have something beautiful to bring to this world that no one else can bring to it. Don’t give up. Because if I can’t, you can’t either. I love you more than you know. Have hope. Things will always get better. I promise you.

Now get out there, find something that you love to do, never give up and always know that you are loved!

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via sezer66

Originally published: July 10, 2017
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