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…
2 thoughts on “Filling my backpack”
I, too, have journeyed the same path in my younger years. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, people did not want to hear, let alone discuss “depression”. The opinions were, that you were either weak, over exaggerating, or just plain making it up and looking for attention. It is one of those illnesses you cannot see.
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Hi Mary, it must have been so isolating to not have your mental health taken seriously. I hope you were able to still find help. Thank you for commenting on my posts and sharing your story too.