Things That Are More Therapeutic Than Therapy VI: Climbing Outdoors

Published in Mental Health / Diet and Fitness - 2 mins to read

Today was the first time I got to experience outdoor (trad) climbing, and let me tell you, it was definitely the most terrified I’ve been since the last flight I took, although this time the fear was all the more anticipatable. There was a lot of standing around, scoping out the route, preparing the anchor, watching other people go before me before abseiling down the sheer 70ft wall. It was difficult to maintain a particularly intense sense of fearfulness for the entire duration of the preamble, and so there was a lot of mid-level apprehension, the kind where you still have an alarming capacity for conscious thought.

It became quite obvious quite quickly that if I tried to rationalise or dwell on the whole, but-what-if-the-rope-breaks-and-I-fall-to-my-death thing then I would end up psyching myself out and the whole situation would deteroriate. The only thing for it is to just try really hard to not really think about anything at all, take some deep breaths, and do all that “be in the moment” crap that people talk about.

Anyway, point is, I conquered my fear, did the abseil/climb back up etc etc. Go me. I eagerly look forward to receiving my medal. It’s another experience that I am hoping is transplantable, and when I am scared of something much less tangible then breaking my body at the bottom of a granite cliff, I’ll have a little more practice at quietening those anxious voices in my head.