There are many reasons we hike. For some it's an easy way to disconnect and for others its a way to exercise. This is our story of why "Keep Hiking" became our mantra.
I want to get real with you and share what "Keep Hiking" means to me and why I hike. For me my motivation is very personal- something I wasn't sure if I wanted to put out there but eventually realized its something I have to talk about...because it's part of Sapphire Trail's Story.
I suffer from anxiety and depression and at the age of 30 I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. We had all of it under control with medication, therapy sessions, mindfullness meditation, and the coping mechanisms that got me through the first 30 years of my life (sticky notes, iphone reminders, automatic bill-pay, etc). Until my third year of teaching algebra when my panic attacks came back with a vengeance.
I went from 3 years of one panic attack every few months to one a week. My doctor urged me to quit but I couldn't do that to my students. I loved being in the classroom. I could work harder with my therapist to create a plan of action to combat this. I was given a new course with less testing pressures and honors students. I was fine...except I wasn't. Towards the end of the year I had 6 panic attacks in a week. That's when I realized something was very wrong...This wasn't OK. My doctors all agreed the best course of action was to sit out the rest of the school year and focus entirely on getting well again. My first thought was my students- They needed me...who would teach them and get them ready for their upcoming exams. My husband reminded me I wasn't much use to them if I wasn't my best self.
If you broke your leg- nobody would think poorly of you for going to the doctor to get it fixed. As a society we readily accept a person with Diabetes needing daily treatment for their condition. We encourage our friends and family to see a doctor when they have the flu. Getting an annual physical is standard for most of us. Yet we are hesitant to do the same when it comes to mental health. We are afraid what people will think of us...what will our employer think if they find out? What will friends say?
I ultimately listened to my doctors and my husband and took the medical leave of absence from my job. But it wasn't a vacation...I worked daily on readings and other assignments from my therapist. I joined group hikes. I began designing again. I spent more time with my family. The fog was starting to lift.
Each weekend my husband and I would hike somewhere to get our bodies ready for the trip we'd been planning since earlier that year to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone (and everywhere in between) in June. It was on these hikes I was at my best...slowly I began to realize nature was the best remedy for what ailed me.
Continue Reading...Part 2
About the Author: Grace Haag is the Founder & Creative Director of Sapphire Trail.