Before I went to Spain I had all these expectations and plans. I had my goals for what I wanted to do but none of them happened due to unforseen circumstances. I was hoping this blog would have all these amazing routes that I’d done but whilst I did some cool routes and was happy with the way I climbed sometimes this blog is about to turn out very different. I was happy to climb Ramadan and Tirabolts both 8a+ 2nd go and to Alzheimers flash Bon Viatage 8a after climbing Tirabolts which is my best climbing day in terms of doing two 8’s in a day but this isn’t really what this blog is about.
I had a hard time sitting down deciding on whether to write this or not and it makes me emotional just writing it but if it inspires just one person to achieve their goals and believe in themselves then I feel like this will have been a success. It’s scary putting myself out there in a vulnerable light knowing that people may judge me differently. This isn’t a blog seeking sympathy it is more me telling a bit of my story.
A couple of days ago my 4 year relationship ended but I don’t blame Alex, I only feel sadness that it has ended. He’s one of those infectious, strong characters who makes you smile and laugh, it’s impossible not to like him because he’s outgoing, disarming and easy to talk to. I on the other hand am completely different, I’m introverted and I don’t like big social groups but I like talking to small groups of people. I’m shy at first but once you get to know me then I’m happy chatting away.
The point of this blog is that I suffer from bad episodes of depression. It mostly affects me in social scenes because I become anxious and then I get down and usually hide away. I’m trying to learn how to control it but that is by no means an easy process, sometimes I’m left feeling helpless and exhausted. But the biggest thing that comes across is the feeling of guilt I have afterwards when I’m ok again, guilt that I’ve been that way in front of friends. It also affects me in my climbing because as most people know success usually comes from the head as much as the physical aspect. When I don’t achieve my goals I lose my confidence and sometimes it is incredibly difficult to bounce back. This depression strips me of all my confidence and leaves me feeling incredibly vulnerable and alone.
But I believe I am a strong person who fights it most of the time without realising, I’ve had so much success over the last year and I’ve bounced back from times when I’ve felt rough and ready to give up. Climbing keeps me going most of the time in a way nothing else ever could, I’ve had some incredibly rough times (that I don’t want to delve into) over the last few years that broke my heart and put me in a really dark place but climbing and good friends have always dragged me back out.
I guess I wanted to write this because many people will only see the success I have had but essentially it is only half of me, it doesn’t come easily and I have to work hard to fight myself sometimes and try to keep positive. No one ever sees behind the scenes they only see the outcome. No one sees that I’ve started to have counselling, no one sees me hit rock bottom and have to start from scratch again to pick up the pieces, no one sees the days when I struggle to find motivation to get out of bed let alone do anything productive. Would I choose to be like this? The answer is definitely not. I wish I didn’t get upset and depressed, I hate how it affects loved ones. I wish I could articulate myself better in times of need instead of shutting out those people who do care, I wish I could come across as normal to everyone instead of awkward and shy. I dislike the moments of doubt in myself that push me back, it feels like I make 2 steps forward and 1 back most of the time. I’m a perfectionist, I have high standards and expectations but when I don’t reach them it does leave me feeling shattered and thinking I’m not good enough.But it does make that success so sweet when it happens and I savour those moments for as long as I possibly can before it takes hold of me again.
I’m so grateful that the climbing scene has so many wonderful people and for the close friendships it has given me particularly in recent times. One thing they have taught me over recent times is that good friends are there through thick and thin but that they also accept you for who you are and in the title of a Clint Eastwood film they will be there through the good, the bad and the ugly times.
I’m still reeling from the beginning of this year and it’s a while since I’ve been depressed for this long a period of time but I’m also ready to take on the challenges of this year and do my best to fight the demons and win the battle. Bring on 2015!
I hope that everyone out there has a successful year in whatever challenges you face.