So I wanted to tell you a story….
About me and the mountains.
I guess I couldn’t escape them, even If I would want to.
The story starts way back then when “stork” left me in this tiny town between mountains.
I guess when you are surrounded with so many hills, slopes and mountains, It’s hard to escape them.
But you know, as every stubborn child, I hated them at first.
Like typical Slovenian parents, my mom and dad woke me up every Sunday at unnormal hours to climb this “stupid” hills. But all I wanted to do was lay on the couch, eat hot cocoa with bread in it (btw, did you have this when you were a kid? I was obsessed) and watch ŽivŽav (cartoons on our national tv program).
But you know, you have to listen to your parents when you are a kid. So I was forced, little hiker. There were some stubborn moments (like when I waited for them somewhere in the middle of the mountain, because I didn’t want to go on), a lot of complaining, a lot of “are we there yet” questions and some crying.
But despite my resistance, I had to admit that I do have some pretty awesome memories about the time. Like running around with my brother and my cousins, picking flowers with my grandmother, … oh and the views…the views were always amazing.
But still. They forced me. And I hate being pushed. If someone force me to do something, I will probably do the complete opposite. So I “broke up with mountains” when I was around 14/15.
When I thought I was “smart and independent” I seriously decided that I will never hike again. Maybe some small hills. But anything bigger then Šmarjetna or Jošt (around 30min hike near my home) was a complete “no go”.
So I actually didn’t go for a proper hike for about 8 years.
It was like I broke up with really annoying boyfriend, I felt relief and I was 100% certain that hiking is just not for me.
But you know, you get older and wiser. And I guess mountains were calling me every time I left my house.
I guess I needed a really long break to see their true magic.
Maybe this is the case with all of the things in life. You really see why they are important and why you need them when you distance yourself from them.
Maybe everything really comes to you when you need it.
And maybe some things take time to really make sense.
Anyway, about 5 years ago my life turned on an unexpected path. So when things in your life change, they also change you.
And when it looked like my life is getting really messed up, mountains were there for me, to help me clear my mind, really feel the moment and remind me of all the beautiful things in life.
So I got hooked. I was never a climber or hiking really high mountains. But I really started to enjoy all the hills and mountains around my hometown and doing daily hike trips with my family (the only difference was that this time I was the one who got up at 6 am and annoyed everybody to be quick – ups, things really turn around when you get older 🙂
But you know how it is….every love story has its ups and downs.
And “third” party interfere with my love story. And you know, there is no room for three in a relationship.
So just right after I got super duper in love with mountains, my “auntie anxiety” decided to stop by and mess everything up.
You can read about her HERE to see how she messes up with me.
So she told me 1000 reasons why hiking is not for me. Mostly why is not safe. Like what if I get a panic attack, or what if I faint, or worse, what if I get a stroke or what If one of my family members get hard attack….
I know I know…She exaggerates and it’s stupid to think about this stuff….
But it’s like she put a spell on me. She’s like a devil that comes to my head and send away all the logical thinking.
And my body listens to her as well. So sometimes it shakes, it gets dizzy, sweaty and it speeds up my pulse. Because she can be quite persistent. And my body obeys.
Although she can be quite intense, I developed a few secret weapons against her.
I am quite stubborn so I decided I will try not to listen to her and just go. I will try to think about nice stuff and not pay attention to all the negative scenarios she wants to put in my head. I will focus on the moment and look at all the beauty around me. I will try to be ok with all the uncomfortable feelings in my body. I will try not to worry about all the “what ifs….”. And I will take risks.
Anyone dealing with anxiety knows that this is not so easy. Because anxiety is not a regular fear. It completely posses your whole being. Mind, body, soul…everything.
You know anxiety can be very sensitive…and if you force things and rush too much, you can risk a huge step back in your progress.
Let me explain: when you are dealing with anxiety, there are some triggers that can lead to a panic attack. And if you ever had a panic attack, you know that you never ever want to experience that ever again. Triggers for panic attacks are very different. It can be a specific situation or a feeling in your body. And they are always accompanied with some anxious, running thoughts, you can’t control. At the same time, anxiety and panic attacks are also very hard on your body. Your stress hormones are going crazy and even after your body calms down, you can be extremely tired and existed for days. And I mean extremely. That sometimes means that you need twice as much sleep as usual and you basically can’t perform any heavy activity (of course it’s a bit different for everybody, but you get the point).
For all the above reasons, it is better to take things slowly.
So I have to be careful when going hiking.
I really prepare myself.
I always take some water and some food with me. I try to go very early when it’s not too hot outside. And I always go with someone who knows what to do if my anxiety comes along.
That’s why I have to admit I still prefer to hike with my parents. Because I don’t want to be a burden for someone if I get anxious, and also because I trust them and they know what to do if something happens.
Because it does happen. I still get panicky.
Definitely not every time. There are some hikes when I even surprise myself with how calmly and easily I’m walking. But there are some hikes when I have to stop a few times. When I have to use all my inner forces to get to the top. When I drink hectoliters of water and do different breathing exercises to calm down.
But I still go.
Because every love story is worth fighting for.
Because the view is worth it. Because when I reach the mountain top I really feel the moment. Because it makes me feel alive. Because after every hike I feel happy, I feel calmer and I believe in myself a bit more.
I understand that hiking sounds so random. Like how can this be such a big deal?
But it is for me.
And that is why a love it. Because it means so much more than just another activity.
It reminds me that sometimes things are difficult before they get beautiful. It reminds me to be grateful. It reminds me that all we have is a given moment. It teaches me how to be persistent. And it gives me faith. Faith in myself, in future and in life.