“Wait, you have anxiety?” One of the hikers from the group that I was socially distancing with turned to look at me.
“Yeah,” I said, readjusting the supplies in my bag to adjust for the camel pack’s shift in weight. “I actually have terrible anxiety.”
It was true, and if I weren’t so insanely stubborn, my anxiety would be debilitating. I suffered from constant panic attacks that hit full swing at the height of California’s stay at home order. I had been getting by with hiking and camping and doing all sorts of very random things (like that one time I tried Capoeira) for so long that I hadn’t dealt with my anxiety. That was until COVID-19.
The pandemic shook things up and made me face myself. There was literally nowhere else to go but inward to take up a journey of reflection. Stripped of everything else, I got to see who I truly was as a person. My personality isn’t 80 percent anxiety and 20 percent the outdoors. I never realized how much more than that I was.
I went to see a therapist about my anxiety, and it helped. I started rolling out my yoga mat again and practicing mindfulness meditation. I began paying closer attention to the advice from people I trusted, and while I worked to help educate others and help uplift the voices of the minority, I also worked on myself. Yes, I still have anxiety, but for some reason, I’m also too stubborn to let anyone tell me what to do—and I’m working on that balance. I’m learning when I need to take breaks and not overdo everything, and I’m slowing my sprint to a steady pace to complete the marathon.
I honestly couldn’t tell if the hiker from the group I was with was genuinely shocked that I had anxiety or not. It’s always been painfully obvious to me that my crippling anxiety created “awkward intern Jasmine,” the initial version of me you get before you just get “weird, but chill Jasmine.” The one who always makes delicious vegan breakfast food if you stay the night at her place because you got way too drunk at the bar. The one who will decide to climb to the top of a mountain with you without warning until about halfway up and the one can always frighten small groups of campers with both true and fictional stories when asked.
I’ve been allowing that wild and spirited nature run a little farther lately. Unprovoked, I may have started a few more projects that include more of what I love and who I am as a person. I’m allowing myself to explore freely within reason. This is due to the time I took to work on me. If you can go to therapy, go. However, everyone should take just a few minutes, a single moment, out of every day just for yourself. Make it a positive break that will help you get through the day, whether it be a five-minute meditation session with mindful breathing or rooftop/windowsill gardening. Rest, and come back to the world recharged.
Hiking Through History: Timber Mountain
I had no idea I was climbing Timber Mountain until I reached the Icehouse saddle located in the Cucamonga Wilderness. One question I wanted to be answered, was why does the register box at the top have a different name for the mountain? Here’s what I found out.
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