Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, depression, mental health, rest, women's health

Tennessee and Me

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

The Story the Mountains Tell

Every morning the mountains would stand strong and silent against the dark sky. Then, the sun would slowly illuminate the treetops and the birds would begin to sing against a golden canvas. Those mountains would stand with their smooth scoops dipping into the valley below and greet me each morning. I would play with my cousins until the summer sun melted behind the ridge and the sky was left a cotton candy pink. Later, with my pajamas on and blankets resting on my cheek, the moon would light the tallest trees and the mountains and I would fall asleep together.

It was under that cotton candy sky and between those mountains–like bookends holding my life upright–that I began to hide. My temperament, childhood trauma, and desire to make others happy caused me to press on and act as if I was not affected by difficult times.

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

The Safest Place

“Please, help me. I don’t know what I need, but I need help.”, I begged with tears in my eyes.

I wiped my sweatshirt sleeve across my running nose and anxiously crossed my ankles.

“I can do that.” she said as she leaned in closer.

I was 28-years-old and was seeing a therapist for the first time. I looked around her home office and tried to count the books on her shelf to distract myself.

“I can see that you’re anxious right now. I want you to think of somewhere that brings you peace.”

I shifted in my seat and nodded my head in agreement.

“Where is that place for you?”

“The mountains.”, I said just above a whisper.

“What about the mountains makes you feel at peace?”

“Everything. I called them home for the first 19 years of my life. They’re so much bigger than I am and make me feel so small in the best way. I’m never alone when I’m in the mountains.”

“That’s beautiful. I want you to think of the mountains any time that you’re feeling overwhelmed during our sessions.”

“I will.”

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

Between Then and Now

I have used that technique in many sessions with my therapist since.

Maybe you’re on the edge of seeking treatment to work through past trauma, a new mental health diagnosis, or a combination of the two. It’s not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the most difficult things that you’ll ever do.

In all of my imperfection, I want to step forward and tell you that it will be worth it.

I’m holding space for you in the mountains. The sun is setting now; the sky turning golden pink. Soon, the moon will settle in for the night and the crickets will chirp by the creek. Then, lovely soul, the sun will rise and warm your face again.

Nikki xx

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