As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week I thought I would open this blog with a discussion on how hiking rapidly improved my mental health.
After leaving an abusive relationship that played games with my mind and mental well-being I endure a rollercoaster journey with my mental health. I lacked self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect but managed to portray myself as a confident, healthy and happy young girl. I somehow managed to showcase a person that did not exist on the inside, my life was ruled by my anxieties but no one really knew that. I questioned every decision I made, and every word I spoke I would ruminate on whether that was the correct thing to say. I had the fear that I would constantly offend, upset or anger people and as what was going on in my head did not show on the outside no one really understood how these thoughts and feelings were affecting me.
I could act like I had all the confidence in the world, and I could act like I was this bold independent girl who didn’t care what anyone thought but behind the facade I was pretty scared and insecure. The fact my interior did not match my exterior caused a lot of problems for me because it would lead me to doubt a lot, push people away and caused a lot of friction in my personal life. I would subconsciously self-sabotage relationships if I felt vulnerable and walked away from situations that threatened the walls I had built.
Around April 2018 I was feeling rather low. I was going through a bit of a crisis about what I wanted to do with my life and just did not really know my purpose. I felt very demotivated and went to the doctors where they straight away gave me Fluoxetine and put me on the waiting list for CBT. The next few months were a bit of a blur and before I knew it I felt ten times worse than I did previously and was on the highest dose of the medication you can be on. Around July I hit rock bottom and would say I was extremely depressed and honestly did not see a point in continuing living. They continued me on my medication and I was STILL waiting to see a mental health professional (I ended up waiting 10 months for my first appointment for CBT). It was around this time I started hiking and getting out into nature but I was still dealing with a lot of demons, and it was not until October that I really pulled myself of my pit. I went to the doctor and asked for a second opinion as I felt I was just getting handed more and more medication which clearly wasn’t working. This new doctor agreed to wean me off the medication I was on and then start me on something else but by the time I came off the Fluoxetine I realise that what was really helping me with the great outdoors. Getting out into nature, and getting up hills sincerely saved my life.
It is no secret that nature can seriously improve your health. It is linked to reducing levels of chronic stress, reductions in obesity and improved concentration. Wilderness Therapy and Green Exercise is proven to make a significant difference to how you feel by making you feel more grounded and can change your perspective in life. It is shown to be able to reduce stress, anger, depression and improve self-esteem.
That is why I set up Excelsior Adventures, because I want to be able to help other people get out into Scotland and utilise natures medicine. On a weekly basis we will get into the Excelsior Adventures Mini Bus and head to the hills for a couple hours before returning home. What I love about these events is the socialisation and motivation you get. There is a huge sense of camaraderie with everyone helping motivate and support one another. Our vision is to be able to provide a safe environment for individuals who are looking to better themselves, their mental well being and overall state of mind. We look to provide the knowledge and confidence to explore natural remedies to help with stress, anxiety and mental ills.
Excelsior Adventures runs weekly events and you are looking to get out into nature to better your mental wellbeing feel free to drop us a message for more information.
If you are struggling with your mental health opening up to someone can help. Check out Mind for more information on how Nature can help your mental health: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/#.XN8JrI5KjIU