Day 5 of our trip was hands down the most challenging. Not necessarily physically challenging, although it was, but more so mentally challenging. We were bagged. Having gotten into camp the night before around 10:00pm when it was already dark, walking to find water to filter, setting up tents, making dinner, and then finally passing out before midnight – we were done. It was almost too tiring to talk. So hence, our late start Friday morning. This is how it started for me, once again passed out in the sand (a common theme of this trip), before the day even began.
There was one point on the trail where Mandy and I were crying from laughing so hard. Josh and Heather were up ahead and could hear us busting a gut from far out of site. This was when we still had about 4 hours to go. I was feeling strong and on fire at this point, but could tell that my body was slowly starting to break down. I think I was starting to go a bit nuts from pushing myself so hard for so long. Not too long after this bust-out belly laugh extravaganza, I broke down. I was done. I stood there on the trail and started to cry. I just needed to be alone to feel sorry for myself for a few minutes. I was thinking, ‘how the hell am I going to finish this damn thing?‘. The words “I can’t” were floating above my head. That’s where help stepped in. A lighter pack, a shared cookie, a rest break, some venting and I was pretty much good to go. Thanks guys :)
This was hard for me, because as it was happening I remember thinking how stupid I was going to feel after the fact. Standing there crying from being so tired. Who does that?! But I couldn’t stop. I had to let it out. In reality, I needed that quick cry – feeling sorry for myself – moment. I needed to be pissed off. And I needed my friends to understand this, to accept it – and of course they did. They were in it too. They understood.
As time passed, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I started thinking of how fortunate I am to be able to do things like this. The four of us help sick people on a regular basis, who for the majority are unable to do so many of the things that come so easy to us – that we often take for granted. We were just fortunate to be out there, moving our arms and legs. Taking it all in. It was a healthy reminder that life is pretty damn amazing, even through the so-called ‘tough times’. And better off, I CHOSE to do this. I knew what I was in for, so it was time to slip off the muddy grumpy pants.
It’s okay to break down. A breakdown is sometimes the best thing that can happen to us – to allow us to breakTHROUGH. To see things clearly. It’s a healthy release. Sometimes our body physically needs a good cry. Even in the middle of a beautiful forest with mud up to your knees. Crying is healing, as my counsellor has told me in the past. Anger is healthy. Frustration is healthy. They are all natural and healthy emotions. If we store them all up, we feel like a shooken up soda bottle ready to explode. Not a good feeling at all.
The key is to deal with the crappy feelings as they come up. Acknowledge them, accept them, and then deal with them before moving on. We all know this is harder than it sounds, and it definitely takes practice. So the next time you feel like a shooken up soda bottle, allow yourself to feel what is actually going on. Don’t hold back. If you have to cry, cry. If you have to yell, yell (maybe into a pillow?!). But let it out. It’s okay. Find somewhere calm, where you feel safe and let out all of your emotions. It’s surprising how quickly the anger and frustration can melt away with this simple release. Also, it’s amazing how much people want to help in situations like this. It’s almost instinctive. In showing your not-so-pretty side, your true authentic self, it brings you closer to one another. Your raw and true self. It’s almost a gift, because not everyone gets to see it. It’s even a gift to yourself. For allowing it to happen. For trusting in it. So listen to your feelings, share your gift and realize it’s okay! Breaking down is natural. It’s how we break THROUGH. :)