This weekend I embarked on a backpacking trip with my partner. To say I was excited to take this adventure, was an understatement. Knowing that I would be carrying all I need on my back and spending a full weekend in the forest was more than I could handle.
On Saturday, upon arrival at the trailhead after a few hours of driving, we had lunch and grabbed our Osprey packs to start our hike. Our packs were about 25 pounds, give or take (mine a little lighter, his a little heavier). There was a bit of incline on the hike which posed some challenges with carrying the weight on our backs, but we were in no rush, so we took our time.
When we arrived at the creek, we found the most perfect spot to camp. It was a larger clearing with flat grass lands. We trudged our way through thorn bushes, bushwhacking, and made it to the opening.
Once we removed our packs, I took some time and I sat on a rock in the middle of the creek. The water flowed over some of the rocks and continued its merry way. Other rocks were too large, and the water traveled around the rock. This made me think of my life. There are some obstacles in my life that I flow right over, as if they are not there. Where there are other obstacles that are just too big, and I must go around. Farther up the creek was build ups of leaves that had fallen in the water. They were unsightly, but essential. The leaves are making the ecosystem exactly what it is supposed to be. The ecosystem would not thrive the way it was if it were not for those leaves and what they were contributing to the environment. I likened this to events of my past. They are ugly and unsightly, but they are pertinent to where I am today. I would not be where I am right now had it not been for those unsightly events and the traumas that I experienced.
This all came to me and I just sat in the center of the creek. I thought about the Bipolar diagnosis and the symptoms that I deal with daily. How at one point the Bipolar diagnosis and related symptoms was a large rock that I could not flow over, but now my water runs over it. I think more on how at times in the not so distant past, the Bipolar in combination with anxiety and depression were the larger rocks that were dry because of me not having the capacity to overcome them. I focused on the water and how it was rushing past, moving along, pressing forward, and how that is the drive that I possess deep inside of me. The moving, and going, and pressing forward, and persevering.
This creek was me. It was everything that makes me up. I would spend the next twelve hours being near this reminder of my successes and how I have moved past, through and over so many things in my short life. Sitting in the creek and soaking in all that was surrounding me brought me immense peace in my soul.
Having mental illness is hard and it takes a massive amount of work every day. But, when you do work hard on the illness, you can reap the amazing, beautiful rewards. This whole weekend, I was thinking how incredibly blessed that I am. How, I can have a list of disorders affixed to my name, but I am still living in the wilderness for a weekend, hiking, drinking from a creek, living in a minimalist way, and thoroughly enjoying each moment of my life. I did not think that this was possible, but guess what? It is! It really really is!
I hope that every person I meet, in some form, can have what I have in my life, as it is a simply amazing gift. Press on, move forward, work on flowing over rocks. Life is good.