December 11th was International Mountain Day. It seems like they attribute lots of different things to making a day special! However, International Mountain Day has gotten me thinking about the concepts of mountains in both the literal and figurative sense.
I am a fan of travelling and adventures and have been blessed to witness the beauty of mountain ranges in person. We are also surrounded by beautiful pictures of landscapes on social media, in movies, TV shows, magazines, and so on. For me, there is something beautiful and breathtakingly wonderful about mountain ranges.
It also got me thinking about the concept of my own personal “mental health mountains”. Those situations or aspects in my life which felt so overwhelming, so monumentally difficult and things I may have thought I would never overcome. Then there are also the things that ordinarily wouldn’t feel like mountainous things, but depending on where I was at and how I was feeling could absolutely feel too much to conquer. Some of these mental health mountains include
- Putting on a load of washing
- Cooking dinner
- Washing the dishes from the night before (and the 2 nights before that)
- Responding to a text message or making a phone call
- Taking a shower
- Doing some college work
Each of these seem like small tasks, and on most days that’s all they are and I would have no problem getting most of them done in one day. But there are also days when even the mere thought of attempting one is exhausting. To me, the mountain of dishes in the sink is more of a challenge than the thought of climbing Mount Everest. Sending a text message may as well be Kilimanjaro with the amount of mental and emotional energy it can take me to write and send a quick response about how my week has been going.
Eventually, I would manage to wash the dishes. I would send the text message. I would shower (and possibly cry at the same time). I would overcome these mountains whatever way I could. Whether it was I camped out for another day until I was feeling up to it, whether I pushed myself to get them done. Whether I reached out and got help from someone. I overcame these mountains in some way and to some degree.
Now, this isn’t me saying that we will overcome everything in our lives. There are mountains that I am still climbing. Challenges I still face step by step. I still stumble further back at times. There are some mountains I don’t know if I will ever fully summit, but I can figure out ways to make these climbs a bit easier, and increase my coping skills and abilities a bit more, and set up camps along the way to save me from descending back down. Reaching out and talking to other people has been one of the most helpful aspects in dealing with my mental health mountains.
If this is something that may help you or someone you know, Galway Community Café is a safe space for people to chat with a staff member about whatever is going on for them. Whether it is a social chat, whether you are traversing a rocky mountain, or whether you have reached the peak and feel invincible, the café is a place where you can share.
Until next time,