Sometimes a life changing moment can come when you least expect it. For me, I had one of those “aha!” moments on top of a mountain after a hike in Colorado.
Ever since I started experiencing intense CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) symptoms, I began to lose faith in the strength of my body. What was once an easy workout for me soon became impossible, and a light workout would leave me in bed for days. As I got stronger and started to experience a little more energy, I maintained this mentality that my body was sick and incapable. I thought there were things I just couldn’t do anymore: hiking a mountain definitely included. While I was once a strong, fast, fitness-obsessed teen – I figured those days were long over and it was rare I even exercised anymore.
The lack of exercise gave me a lack in confidence in myself and in my body. I viewed my body as sick, weak, and to not be trusted.
The morning we were going to leave for the hike I came up with a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. The altitude would make the hike even harder, I was too out of shape and everyone going was in better shape, and my anxiety told me surely I would probably die somewhere along that mountain (dramatic, I know, but there’s anxiety for you! :P). However, there was a little part of me telling me that if I didn’t go, I would regret it and feel bad. I have no idea what pushed me to go that day, but I went.
What was simply a fun experience and good workout for others in the group was truly a life changing moment for me.
Within about 5 minutes of the hike (not even on the mountain yet), the altitude started to hit and I wanted to give up. I wanted to crawl back to safety and wait in the car while everyone went up the mountain. But SOMETHING that day told me not to let my anxiety win this one. It was one of those moments where some kind of strength came over me and I couldn’t tell you where it came from. I wanted to prove to myself I could do it.
While I wanted to give up about ten times on the way up, I kept going even when it was hard for me or I was given the option to quit and go back down. Something in me kept making me go further and further up this mountain.
FINALLY! We reached the top and I felt incredible. In fact, I even climbed another 5 minutes up the mountain to get to an even higher up spot. It was in that moment I realized… holy shit, I can still do this. My body didn’t give up on me and I didn’t give up on it either.
In that moment I learned to trust my body and realized I am not sick, incapable, and weak. My body still works. Sure, it takes my body a long time to recover, but I am able to do these physical tasks still and the more I do, the better I will become.
On the way down I talked to a lot of people who wanted to know where the summit was because they were tired and sick of climbing and I realized again — look at all these other physically fit people who were having a difficult time climbing this mountain. It wasn’t easy! And I still completed it!
Since returning home i’ve made it a habit of doing hard workouts that really push me, or taking long walks with George (the pup) in nature. I’m going to continue pushing myself by taking more fitness classes – something I previously dismissed because I thought I was too weak to do them.
So here’s to regaining faith in our bodies and using them how they were intended to be used 🙂
Lots of love