Over the weekend, I went on a hike with my dad. I’m preparing to hike one of the peaks around Reno in the fall, and we found a few good hikes to do as training. I’ve been hiking virtually every weekend, but I’ve been picking ones that I know I can do. Ones that, for me, are guarantees. Ones that I know I can’t fail.
This hike pressed me. It was hot out anyway, but the incline had me panting from the get-go. I had to stop upwards of twenty times on the way up, sometimes every thirty steps or so. It took me nearly three times as long to get up the mountain as it did to get down the mountain. At about three-quarters of the way there, I told my dad that I didn’t think I could do it; that it felt impossible.
I was tired. I was fighting off a low that had been waiting in the wings for the past couple of weeks. My brain kept wanting to stop and just go home. I knew if I did that, the low would ensue, and I would hate myself. I would sob. I would feel ashamed of myself, not because I couldn’t do the hike, but because I gave in to my brain.
This is when my father told me something that has been on my mind for the past couple of days.
“What is it that Kennedy said about space exploration? ‘We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon… and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.‘ Well, this is hard. That’s why we picked it. You’re going to do it, no matter how long it takes, we’ll get you up there. This is a strenuous hike for everyone.”
It took us probably another hour to make it to the top, but we did it. I cried, not because I was sad, but because I made it. I did it.
So often, our depressed brains convince us that we can’t do anything. Sometimes it’s through convincing us that we need to stay in bed all day; that we need to pause our lives. Sometimes, it’s through negativity. Sometimes it’s because we know that our brains are different than they were before we got sick, and that reality kills us a little.
But we are living this life not because it is easy. We are living because it is hard. I, for one, am proud of that.