I was diagnosed years ago with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and more recently with moderate Depression, and I believe I will be posting a great deal about these on this blog as I have adopted the belief that being open about it is the best policy. With that in mind, I will jump right into my first Mental Health post.
I used to go skiing every February half term with my family, including my cousins and grandparents. It became a tradition for all 12 of us to take over a chalet and have a great time. The kids would spend the morning going to Ski School following an instructor and then the afternoon with the family skiing. I loved it. The fresh air, the amazing views and the thrilling sensation of whizzing down a black run and making it out alive in one piece at the bottom! However, this happiness when skiing was only around when I was in Ski School. The second I was out of the safe hands of an instructor and into the hands of my family I felt very differently about skiing. I remember being around 14 or 15 and genuinely crying to myself while going down the run as I was suddenly so terrified. Over the edges of the ski run was just a giant drop, and I felt so scared about accidentally slipping over the edge. People would push past me and make me feel like I was on the motorway on a bicycle: slower and more vulnerable than the other skiers. I would absolutely dread when it came around to our skiing week and could not wait to get home safe.
One particularly terrifying day that still haunts my dreams was when we went up to Eagle Rock and there was a whiteout. What this means is that everything around you is white: the sky, the snow, everything. I could not see even a meter in front of my face. It was a red run, which means it is challenging and steep even with good visibility. We had no choice but to ski down as it was not possible to walk. I could not keep my heart rate under control as I struggled to keep close to my granddad so I would not go off course. Knowing there is a steep and sudden edge without being able to see where it is terrified me. I felt my body seize up and refused to move properly. My breathing was so fast yet shallow, and the lack of oxygen made me feel dizzy. I could not understand why people would voluntarily pay hundreds of pounds to do this.
My family did not understand why I did not like skiing. I recall my dad on several occasions calling me “lazy” and “unfit” because I refused to go down certain runs with them. I overheard various family members joke about how perhaps I was just embarrassed because I was a bad skier. This made me feel pretty rubbish as I did attempt to explain that actually I am a good skier when I am with the Ski School, and that it was incontrollable and unfathomable fear that stopped me skiing with them.
I finally plucked up the courage last year to tell my family that I will not be able to go skiing with them as my Anxiety has gotten just too bad. They fortunately agreed and brought on a different family member to take my place. I was so relieved as I genuinely thought they would try and force me to go, or accuse me of being spoilt for not going. The thing is, I do like skiing and I would want to go again, just never with my family. I love my family, but I think I just feel way too pressured when skiing with them, and it triggers my anxiety. My cousins are a lot more talented and confident at skiing than myself and my brothers are as they have gone a lot more than us, and this does not exactly help as they do not understand that I need a little more time to do this.
Anyway, as I have said, this is my first mental health post and so I would adore feedback. Is it too long? Too short? Not informative enough? What would you like me to talk about in the future?
Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day!
Lots of love, Evie x