This summer has been pretty great. We’ve done long (for me) bike rides, a couple prairie hikes, had fires in the backyard, and eaten more hot dogs than I have in years. Since we haven’t been very far from home and Kevin heads back to work on Monday (teacher), we decided to make a quick trip to Calgary/Canmore/Banff/Kananaskis.
(In Calgary) We woke up early to get on the road at a decent time. We were about to load the bikes and head to Canmore to do the Legacy Trail and walk around Banff when we discovered Kevin’s vehicle had been broken into. Everyone was very helpful. Livia and Liam cleaned up the glass and Adam called around for quotes for a replacement window - hoping we could get it fixed before Sunday morning. Ivy found out from a neighbour that there have been other incidences in the neighbourhood (they are hoping to find video evidence as a number of neighbours have security cameras). Kevin then dealt with the rest.
Not what we had planned for our weekend getaway.
I am always so amazed at how patient and calm Kevin is. I would have reacted much differently if it were my vehicle. I am so grateful to have him in my life.
After a quick lunch, we ended up borrowing my sister’s vehicle and continued with our original plan for the day.
Legacy Trail - Canmore to Banff. My legs were shot after 14 km. No pictures. I knew if we stopped I wouldn’t want to get back on the bike. Once we arrived we walked around for a bit and had a quick bite to eat.
Legacy Trail - Banff to Canmore. This was a breeze (comparatively). It was down hill for the most part and we were able to ride side by side for a lot of it as there were less people in the evening.
I’m proud of us. Kevin was very encouraging and I only complained in my head (but not very much honestly). We treated ourselves to ice cream before heading back to Calgary for much deserved showers. Total 42.83 km. Total time 2:25:00.
Day 2 was a BIG day. Thankfully we weren’t too sore from yesterday’s ride. We drove about an hour to Little Elbow/Sheep Valley Trails. We went up Nihahi Ridge Trail to a point called the Saddle (which was a challenge in itself). Adam convinced us we could make it up to the Ridge. He said “see those two trees, it’s right there”. It was all or none, and since we were so close we decided to do it. Little did we know (Adam had "tricked" us) it was around the back of the mountain and much further than the “two trees”. Livia (the mountain goat) led us up the steepest parts. Adam and Kevin stayed back to make sure I was ok. After much scaling we made it. Livia was our guide once again. I am thankful I asked to bring hiking poles, they came in very handy. Once we were done the technical part, Laurel took over the lead and led us back to the start. She was a trooper the whole way. Total 7.00 km. Total time 3:58:11. Unsure of the elevation gain. Fitbit said 642.82 m (this may be cumulative). But online accounts have much different numbers - we only did the first ridge of two.
Before heading back to the city we made a quick stop at Forget Me Not Pond. As he often does Adam took at dip into the ice cold water.
Before the girls went to bed we had a nighttime chat in their room. I’m glad they get to see me in this light and not as the person I used to be. I think they have some understanding of my past (their dad is a therapist as well so mental health is not a taboo subject).
In the morning Kevin taped some plastic over the “window” to make the drive back to Saskatoon more tolerable (it came off as we left the city limits). Blankets and sweaters kept us warm until the sun came out.
This weekend showed me I have quiet determination (as Adam put it), perseverance, mental toughness, and a desire to take on new challenges. I already look forward to our next big bike ride and hike.
I can’t think of a better way to wrap up summer.
I've struggled with being enough my whole life. There is no incident to recall where it all started. It's just a feeling that has always been with me. The worst part is looking for validation from the outside world. Intuitively I know this will never satisfy my hunger for acceptance, love, or just plain contentment.
I was made in the image of God. He gave me a heart for the hurting. He gave me the gift of writing. This is why I continue to share.
My heart was full yesterday as many friends shared their journey with mental health (whether they 'suffer' themselves or love someone who does) during the #BellLetsTalk campaign. It was full because I know I am not alone.
It was full because I know, I am enough.
A couple of months ago, I reached out to a few friends asking them to tell their stories and/or experiences dealing with mental health issues.
It is a big step for anyone to share and I am grateful they said yes. A few decided to stay anonymous (and that is okay). They are brave, loved, and appreciated.
In honour of Mental Health Week (May 2-8, 2016) - I would like to share a bonus story by Hunter.
My experience dealing with my mental health has been long and difficult. Since I was young I have always dealt with anxiety and had already started going to therapy when I was in grade four. My parents noticed from a young age that I struggled with my day to day habits and often dealt with panic attacks. As I entered grade eight I was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I spent endless hours every day dealing with my obsessions and compulsions that kept me from living a healthy life. I had many phobias and coped with them by using my OCD. If something was out of place, or I didn’t take enough steps in a day I would be in extreme panic. I have often felt like an outcast and have been embarrassed about the compulsions I needed to complete in public. It’s never easy when you are dealing with something that you feel like nobody understands or can relate to. My counsellor and I figured out a plan of action for my treatment, I saw psychiatrists and went through an extensive process to redirect my thoughts and fight my compulsions. I found ways to deal with my panic attacks and I was eventually able to live a life that was not solely controlled by my OCD.
I still struggle today and every day with my anxiety and panic disorder, I see a counsellor quite regularly as I am still trying to overcome my issues. I often find myself reverting back to my OCD when I'm stressed, nervous, or faced with a difficult situation. I realized along the way that I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me. You are not the only one who deals with mental health and that feels lost. Opening up about my experience has liberated me, you never know who you are inspiring and helping along the way with your story.
Today: Like most, I'm trying to figure things out. Sometimes that's day by day, moment by moment, and even breath by breath.