Embracing the Unknown
Updated: Aug 30, 2021
This past weekend I went on my very first solo hike.
As someone who loves to climb mountains regularly and considers themselves happiest on trail, you would be surprised how much I had built this up to be a “scary” thing. I imagined being all alone when encountering bears, mountain lions or bad humans and worried that I would not be able to relax or enjoy my serene surroundings.
Yet, last weekend all of my hiking buddies were either busy, out of town or injured and I had to make a choice. Do I skip doing something I love because it means I have to brave the unknown? Or do I go for it and risk ruining something I love by getting hurt or worse? While I initially set out my running shoes and planned to stay near home, I realized that was not at all in-line with my authentic self. I knew that my fears were disproportionate to the joy I would feel if I overcame this boundary I had set for myself.
I set my alarm for 5:30am, went through my normal pre-hike routine and turned up my favorite tunes the entire drive to the trailhead. I felt prepared hitting a trail I had done before, carrying bear spray and knowing I would have cell service the entire route. Yet, as the parking lot fell out of view, I felt I was in solitude for the first time in a long time. And I loved it.
Every mile that passed, I felt stronger and more grateful that I had started. I passed other women hiking solo and I felt proud of them, too! I’m writing this because I know that we all avoid things that scare us. Of COURSE we do, it is so much more comfortable not to do scary things. Yet, I also know that it is usually when I do things that are initially uncomfortable that I grow, even if it is really hard to show up and find the courage.
I know that therapy is something that most people find intimidating and scary to start. The fear of processing a trauma, talking about depression that you’ve been dealing with for a long time, worrying about having a panic attack in session, thinking your symptoms are your fault, or wondering if your concerns are even “bad enough” can stop a lot of people from ever beginning therapy. I want you to know that in therapy, you have the control.
You never have to discuss details or past experiences that you don’t want to. You can ask for a breathing exercise or meditation to start the session if you want to decrease anxiety. You can take your time to share painful details or memories. You can have a pet present in teletherapy sessions if you find that calming. I understand how vulnerable it can be to embrace the unknown and I want to make this as comfortable for you as possible.
I think you will find that tackling this fear will leave you feeling stronger and grateful that you started after every session. I think when you see other people taking steps toward their mental wellness and overall health, you will feel proud of them, too.