We all go through life collecting baggage. Good, positive, wholesome baggage and heartbreaking, destructive, negative baggage. I have become more self-aware over the years as I work to improve my mental well-being and have come to learn that baggage makes my life whole. The more I collect, the more authentic I can be.
My baggage of choice is a backpack. It’s comfortable and well-supported, just like I am. I use the good that I put in my pack, finding blessings everyday and expressing gratitude for what I have. I share what is in my pack with those who need help along their journey. Sometimes my pack gets too heavy and I need to take it off, empty some of the contents I don’t need, and rest before strapping it back on. My backpack had gone the distance and still has thousands of more kilometers left to go.
I have battled depression since I was a teenager and when I become an adult, I started struggling with anxiety and developed addictions. It has taken me a long time to find ways to manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Medication keeps me on the right path and therapy has helped when I’ve stumbled off the path. I kicked my smoking addiction and I am 14 months sober from alcohol.
In addition to medication and therapy, nature has been my solace. Camping and hiking are especially therapeutic for me. I feel a sense of innocence when I am with nature and my heart sings and I am free. I have a pretty amazing support system too who means the world to me.
I am writing this blog to advocate for mental health and to share my passion of nature. Mental illness still has so much stigma associated with it and through the strength I have built in my battle, I want to help others. It is my hope that people find a passion that can help them through their battle with mental illness like hiking and camping has done for me.
As I begin this journey with my blog, my backpack is full of optimism and joy. Knowing how my mental health is, I won’t always feel this way and I’ll pick up some junk along the way. The darkness is not forever and will lift like clouds after a rain storm. My boots are tied tight and I am hitting the trail…