We took a rest today from any strenuous hiking after our grueling 3 hour hike yesterday where Rich injured his knee, most likely when he went tumbling down the side of a cliff.
His injury from the fall further intensified any pain and tenderness he’s endured in his one knee for like forever; I’m talking long before the #summerofrich ever began.
For years now he’s complained to me about muscle strain in his knee but no matter how much I’ve tried, has refused to speak with his doctor about it or at the very least try wearing a knee brace while hiking or doing any other strenuous activity.
But today he finally relented and took his knee brace for a test drive and a leisurely stroll with Maggie as well.
I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever told you this before, but Rich is the most stubborn person I know!! However, being stubborn isn’t always such a bad thing because stubborn people are often known to embody “strongly-felt” emotions and care more deeply for others; characteristics of Rich’s I wouldn’t change for the world.
Yesterday I did an hour long aqua fit class in the morning and then went on a two hour long hike in the scorching heat later that afternoon.
This sounds like the perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep, right? Well apparently not for someone like myself whose anxiety and depression really don’t give a flying fuck how exhausted you are.
By dinnertime last night I could barely keep my eyes open but as soon as my head hit the pillow, that dream of getting a good night’s sleep once again turned into a nightmare, an anxiety infused nightmare.
I have found myself tossing and turning more and more lately and I can’t seem to find a comfortable place to lay my head anymore which is probably because my brain and subconscious mind are too damn busy gearing itself up for its long night of torture ahead.
Sleep is meant to give both our bodies and minds time to recuperate from the stresses of the day but for the better part of seven years now sleep has been one of my biggest hurdles toward recovery.
As the night progresses and the house becomes more and more quiet is usually when the noises in my head become the loudest and most heightened.
My brain never shuts off, even when I do fall asleep. I can easily go from any state of sleep to waking suddenly by a trigger or a rush of adrenaline where feelings of impending doom kick in to high gear, leading to a full on panic attack about something that occurred earlier that day or that a loved one may be in danger, or worse.
July was definitely a hot one (the hottest one on record actually) and having to take the heat and humidity into account many days in July along with so many Covid related closures and restrictions has made our #summerofrich adventures a lot more of a challenge this year.
I’ve had to scratch a lot of places off our #summerofrich itinerary but with the arrival of August I can see more and more closures and restrictions starting to lift including many of our beautiful Conservation Parks that have Waterfalls.
Which was exactly why we headed to Smokey Hollow Waterfall today so we could capture the beauty of this hidden gem that included many adventurous hiking trails. As you scroll through the pictures you can see joy, you can see beauty and you can see calm but hidden on the other side of the camera today was a very emotional, tearful woman.
What I didn’t capture was the overwhelm I was feeling inside today, the feeling of hopelessness and the thoughts of suicide. What you don’t see captured in these pictures was the breakdown that came next (my family did though and I’m pretty sure so did several hikers too!).
What people don’t often see captured in pictures is just how real Depression and Anxiety are.
Yesterday I went to a one hour aqua fit class in the morning followed by a 2.5 hour walk later on and finished my day off with a warm and very soothing bubble bath.
My brain is always working in overdrive and I am easily overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks while desperately trying to get through my never-ending “to-do-list”. Even thinking about all the things I need to get done or would like to achieve and then don’t, completely depletes my already less than empty “mental gas tank”.
Mental fatigue is real and the more that things seem to escalate in my life right now, the less able I am to take a pause from reality which then causes me to become totally incapable of much. The overwhelm takes my mind to a whole other place and I become paralyzed with fear and emotionally drained.
Being mentally exhausted often goes hand in hand with extreme and ongoing levels of stress in one’s life which I find I am so easily distracted by and extremely anxious about and very quickly will turn into procrastination.
Procrastination comes from a Latin term which translates to “for tomorrow” and very often I find myself taking my “to-do-list” and moving it over to tomorrow in my calendar. Yesterday was no exception, but is taking a “Me” day really considered procrastination?
What is one thing you find you procrastinate most about?
I went to an aqua fit class this morning at my friend’s pool. I haven’t done aqua fitness in probably two years now which was also something I used to do on a pretty regular basis some 20 years ago.
I love swimming (in a nice heated pool which it was!) but I especially love aqua fitness because you can still reap so many of the benefits of a good workout without having to really break a sweat.
Exercising is not something I truly enjoy but for some reason I love aqua fitness or going for a challenging hike or taking a long walk but when I do any type of exercise at all it’s always best at my own pace and on my own terms because otherwise it will become a surefire way to further compromise my mental health.
I have learned how to adapt to many things along my journey (fake it til you make it) and every day I continue to work on knowing just how far I can push through many of my limitations meaning that on some days I am able to stay and battle it out for a little bit longer while on other days I may have to take a step back and try to fight again on another day.
I think this was exactly what Kenny Rogers was trying to tell us some 40 years ago when he wrote the lyrics to his classic song “The Gambler” because some days “you’ve got to know when to hold ’em” and on other days, “know when to fold ’em.”
I was really looking forward to going to the class this morning even though up until a half an hour before I was to be there I was still having to push myself to go and was all ready to “fold ’em” and try again another day but I was able to “hold ’em” just long enough to push through (and glad I could), but if next time I need to “fold em” at least I know I can try to fight again another day.