Climbing the Highest Mountain

10 Jul

I love hiking, it’s easily my favorite activity of all time. The birds, the trees, the fresh air, the views. There’s something about being in nature that makes me feel most like myself. Stand under a 240 foot (73 meters) redwood tree sometime, and tell me you don’t feel a tinge of something in your heart.

Some hikes are easy, but there are others which are more of an aerobic activity than a pleasurable jaunt through the woods. There are times when hiking flat out hurts, when I’m sweating, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, my calves burn, and I’m out of breath.

“Sounds like a load of fun, Jen. Much better than getting a massage, or helping Rick Perry remove his head from his ass.”

I won’t lie, I’ve considered turning back many times. My body is begging me to turn around, but I know there’s an end destination. It could be a waterfall, or a mountain view, or wildlife spotting. There’s something to look forward to, and I know I won’t regret pushing my body to keep going forward.

L to R: Hamilton Mountain, Table Mountain, Mt. Adams

Upper McCord Creek Falls Hike – Columbia River Gorge, OR
(L to R: Hamilton Mountain, Table Mountain, Mt. Adams)

Lately I’ve been going on a hike of a different kind, an emotional hike. My mind is huffing and puffing, hurting so deeply that sometimes I think I’ll collapse. I’m sweating through my tear ducts, and I’m starving for nourishment of a different kind.

It’s hard to go on because I don’t know when the pain will stop, and when I’ll see the thing that will make it all worth it. It could be a month, a year, or a decade. All I know is that I’m climbing the highest mountain of my life.

My early years were difficult despite having what most people would consider a good life. I went to private school, I had the opportunity to join extracurricular activities, and I never really wanted for anything. And yet I was plagued by anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, a mistrust of others, and social phobia.

I’ve made bad decisions, burned bridges, and at times have strayed very, very far from my true self because of my afflictions. I grew a shell around my heart, and became the master of coping mechanisms. I became so good at stuffing down my feelings that now it’s an automatic process, no thinking required. I’ve coped myself out of having real feelings.

This is a serious problem in adulthood because life throws you all kinds of obstacles. You have a tough day at work, money is tight, you fight with your significant other, someone you know becomes very ill. Instead of dealing with it in a healthy manner, I simply shut down. I may have an initial reaction appropriate to the situation, but I eventually resolve that life sucks, and insist that I’m fine.

Now it has all come crashing down on me. Last week I (very seriously) asked myself, “Why do I exist?” Why do I exist? That’s a totally normal question to ask yourself while shopping for groceries.

I’m hiking up Mt. Dysfunctional, and the only thing I can see is a path lined with commitment phobia, paralyzing social anxiety, the inability to allow others to truly know me, and an overwhelming sense that people wish I would disappear.

I’ve been climbing for so long, and I’m tired. Without an end in sight, I’ve been wondering if struggling with self-improvement is worth it. Why not just throw my hands up like I always do, and accept that this is one uphill battle I won’t be completing?

Then A Clown on Fire wrote this post about being a dry drunk, and coming to the realization that he never really dealt with the reasons that drove him to drink in the first place. He has been able to keep himself from regressing, but he’s also not really going forward either. He’s chosen to seek counseling to help put to rest those lingering pieces holding him back.

Have you ever received something you didn’t know you needed at the exact moment you needed it most? His post was that for me. I’ve somehow managed to make it this far on my own, but I’ve reached a fork in the road, and need someone with a map to show me which way to go.

I, like Le Clown, have decided to enlist the help of a professional.

I need someone to show me that all who wander truly aren’t lost. I need someone to show me that I’m deserving of happiness. I need someone to show me that I won’t end up totally alone. Mostly, I need someone to show me that the view at the top will make this all worth it.

I know I won’t regret it.


ETA: Please take the time to read Mr. Mary’s response to this which explores his own battle, and how he has come out on the other side.

94 Responses to “Climbing the Highest Mountain”

  1. Ruby Tuesday 07/10/2013 at 3:36 am #

    Jen, this one is closer to home for me than I think you could imagine. I will tell you this, which you may already think you know, but believe me, you don’t. It’s going to suck. A lot. It’s going to hurt worse and be harder than anything you have ever done.

    But you are strong and you are brave. And you will have to take it on faith from me right now, but I think you know I will be honest. And so I will tell you it will be more worth it than you would ever believe.

    I know right now I owe you, but my inbox is always open. If you should decide you ever want to use it.

    Sending so much love your way, mon amie. I am incredibly proud of you.

    • TJLubrano 07/10/2013 at 3:41 am #

      My apologies, Jen, I have to butt in and say: Oh my gosh Ruby!! <3

      • Ruby Tuesday 07/10/2013 at 3:44 am #

        Apologies back, but ‘Oh my gosh’ why?

        • TJLubrano 07/10/2013 at 3:51 am #

          Oh! Because I haven’t seen you floating around that much lately.

          • Ruby Tuesday 07/10/2013 at 3:59 am #

            Yeah, I’m basically keeping myself in isolation, except for keeping up the workings of Canvas. I miss you, though I need to do this now for me.

            But Jen I will always keep track of and come out for. Clearly you don’t need telling how special she is.

            And so are you! And I’m glad we’ve “run into each other” here (as it were). ♥

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 10:24 pm #

      I expect it to suck, but I liken it to a sprint vs. a marathon. I’ll be breathless either way, but the sprint will be over quicker. I’m also not opposed to hard work, the best things in life come from it. What I’m doing now isn’t working so why not do something else? Nothing like testing my resilience ;)

  2. TJLubrano 07/10/2013 at 3:39 am #

    I know I have been hiding, but I had to send you a big hug Jen. For writing this post and for sharing your most personal thoughts with us. I wrote the exact same sentence “why do I exist” in my personal post that I still need to publish. This question I asked myself 3 years ago. It’s slightly scary when this thought crosses your mind.

    I know the general saying is that people become the person they are because of all they experience. But sometimes everything you went through and still going through is too hard to go through alone. I only want genuine happiness for you. A happiness that sticks around you and makes sure that you see the sunlight even when you have darker days. An objective perspective that can guide you until it clicks in your own mind is sometimes the answer. You will get through this; you have a bunch of sweet and caring people around you. Also, you have indeed come this far already, just push a bit harder and you will find and accept yourself completely. There’s a saying in Dutch, and for once I can’t find the English variation of it haha. It goes like, “De laatste loodjes wegen altijd het zwaarst”. Basically it means that the final steps one has to take are always the hardest and maybe even the most painful. You know where to find me when you need e.g. some cupcake rambling. Always there for you! <3

    I really loved Le Clown’s post as well.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:24 pm #

      Wasn’t Le Clown’s post so good? I really love his writing, and how open he is. This post was completely inspired by him.

      I don’t know that I’d trade my life experiences because they have made me who I am, but I wish that it would just stop already. I’ve learned lessons, when do I get a break? That’s the point that I’m at.

      It’s incredible to think that you had these same thoughts, and look at you now! You’re the first person I think of when I think of someone who is happy and healthy emotionally. I strive to have that too.

      I’m very lucky to have this support system, no doubt. A journey is best with a travel companion.

  3. Ruby Tuesday 07/10/2013 at 3:50 am #

    Also, I hope you don’t mind. I’m featuring this on the Canvas fb page. I’ll delete it if you would prefer, though.

  4. fashionforlunch 07/10/2013 at 3:51 am #

    Wow! Looks stunning!!!!!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:26 pm #

      Definitely a hike worth doing if you’re ever out in Oregon.

  5. Le Clown 07/10/2013 at 3:51 am #

    What you’ve done here is enlist the help of your friends. It is your hike, and the paths you choose will be yours to engage on, but you’re now building a support net who can alleviate some of the weight of all the hiking gear, be there with you if you need a few electrolytes, and look at the hiking trails map, and discuss the best course of action, when you ask for our opinions.

    I have tremendous respect for you, and I am proud of you for the choices you are making, they are not easy ones to make.
    Much love,
    Le Clown

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:29 pm #

      Le Clown,
      Asking for help is probably the biggest initial hurdle I’m facing. I’ve equated help with weakness, and weakness as a major character flaw. Now I see that I’ve simply been cruel to myself by not allowing myself to share.

      I’m so grateful to have you in my life, and for the friendship you’ve given me. The respect is more than reciprocated.


  6. DeeDee 07/10/2013 at 4:05 am #

    Hurray for you! I agree with Ruby, this “personal development” thing is a total bitch. But it’s worthwhile.

    I didn’t really go to therapy because I wanted to. I went because no one would prescribe my necessary drugs anymore if I didn’t – too unstable. But it has been good for me.

    You do realize this will take awhile, right? Not to be discouraging, just realistic – it took about a year for individual therapy to start doing something for me, i.e. for me to get comfortable enough with Hippie Dude to actually talk and to adjust my attitude enough not to reject everything out of hand; and then it took about 6 months for group therapy (DBT) to start paying off. There was a lot of internal kicking and screaming along the way. I cried all day for no reason after my first couple of therapy appointments – I think mostly just because I couldn’t accept that I needed the help – so at least you should be a step ahead there!

    After investing the time, I can definitely say I know myself a lot better and also realized how badly I needed therapy, mood disorder aside. I have a lot of very dysfunctional thought patterns, but now I can see them for what they are and actively work to reframe my thinking. How awesome is that? (actually, it’s pretty awesome!)

    I expect I’ll still be in therapy for quite awhile, but that no longer bothers me. The degree of work I need to do is a bit staggering but I recognize that I’ve already made a lot of progress. It’s the kind of “putting myself back in control” progress that makes me willing to keep at it.

    So, I expect that you’ll keep at it (you’re that type) and will likewise find yourself grateful to be making the journey. The view definitely improves if you don’t turn back.

    • aliceatwonderland 07/10/2013 at 5:17 am #

      I knew you’d gone off the map for a while. Sorry you’re dealing with this shit. I am too and I know it sucks. Though I talk to those closest to me, mostly on here I try to be funny, because that’s how I cope. But I often feel I’m going to run out of blogging juice, even with a counselor and meds. Maybe I need to do some hiking. I could definitely use actual exercise, that’s for sure.

      I hope the counseling helps you. It’s kept me going, for certain.

      • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:45 pm #

        Funny is how I cope too, and yes, it’s hard to maintain blog juice when you feel like the world may collapse on you.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:44 pm #

      It’s interesting that you went “kicking and screaming” in a sense. I’m happy that despite not wanting to go, you still came out with a lot of positive experiences from it.

      I think I’ve got what it takes to keep on keepin’ on if you will, I just don’t know where to start. Who knew that finding the starting line would be as difficult as finding the finish line?

  7. speaker7 07/10/2013 at 5:46 am #

    I guarantee you will get your view.

  8. suburbanprincessteacher 07/10/2013 at 5:48 am #

    Congrats on “coming out” with your struggles. I went through a similar journey last year. I finally went public with it last month.
    Counselling, meditation, HIKING, medication (if you’re doctor thinks it would help)…whatever you have to do. Good luck on your journey.
    Take care.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:51 pm #

      Just read it, great piece! You sound like you’re on the right track, and it gives me hope that I’ll be able to as well.

      • suburbanprincessteacher 07/11/2013 at 6:11 am #

        You can do it. It’s an on-going journey. I am headed back to school in the fall and I’m already working on strategies so that I don’t fall back into the same old traps. knock on wood.

  9. RFL 07/10/2013 at 5:55 am #

    Hugs to you, Jen. It is not an easy step to make, but it really can help. Best of luck and my continued support and standing offer to be your wingwoman! Brave post, and all I can say is I can relate.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 11:53 pm #

      I’m sorry you can relate, but it helps to know that this isn’t some strange, unknown disease I have going on. Wingwoman indeed *fist bump*

  10. twindaddy 07/10/2013 at 6:22 am #

    Jen, I have begun seeing a counselor, too. If you ever need someone to talk to, vent to, or make lame jokes with, you can always IM me on FB. Seriously. I know what it’s like to be where you are and sometimes having someone to talk to means everything.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:00 am #

      Thanks for messaging me on Facebook earlier. Good to know I have a listening ear.

  11. omtatjuan 07/10/2013 at 7:21 am #

    Everyday look in the mirror and say I am whole! At first you will mock your own words but after a while you we believe it. I’m no therapist I play one on tv.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:01 am #

      Thought becomes reality so I believe that saying affirmations will eventually sink in.

      You play one on tv? Dr. Quinn, is that you?

      • omtatjuan 07/11/2013 at 7:18 am #

        Actually I’m one out of the ten doctors who recommend things. Man I get paid big dollars for just recommending stuff!

  12. Katie 07/10/2013 at 7:55 am #

    Good for you for doing what you need to do, and kudos for being brave enough to share it with us. We’ll be behind you pushing you up by the ass if necessary, or providing those weird hiking poles.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:02 am #

      Hiking poles are for people who want to ski but without the hassle of the snow.

  13. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 07/10/2013 at 8:40 am #

    There must be something about the summer that makes us seek something within ourselves and decide that enough is enough, it’s time to get some perspective and a little help and some well deserved relief from our coping mechanisms. I am also visiting a person who will listen to me talk and give me sound advice and things to think about. Just knowing that there’s someone to listen makes it much easier to deal with everything trapped in one’s head.

    Good move – I know you’ll make it down Mt. Dysfunctional all the better for it.

    It’s always a surprise when we see somone’s ‘outside’ and think – wow – that person must have the perfect life – they seem so together with everything going for them…but really – whats on the inside is much like what’s on my inside and they struggle – and look for answers, sanity and relief.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:04 am #

      That has been really eye opening for me, to see that everyone I envy is also learning how to navigate their lives. Our surface shows so little of everything that goes on in a person, and I think that often times compounds my depression. I’m left thinking, “Wow, I’m the odd man out here.” It feels comforting to know there are others right along with me.

      • Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 07/11/2013 at 5:50 am #

        I’ve spent my life feeling that way – “Time” by Pink Floyd always felt like a song I could totally identify with – especially this part:

        Tired of lying in the sunshine
        Staying home to watch the rain
        You are young and life is long
        And there is time to kill today

        And then the one day you find
        Ten years have got behind you
        No one told you when to run
        You missed the starting gun

  14. Stacie Chadwick 07/10/2013 at 8:55 am #

    As your elder, I can say with confidence that if you don’t need the help of a third party professional at some point in your life, you’re not really living. You’re brave to talk about this, and your honesty will help a lot of people who find themselves in a difficult spot. I’m rooting for you 100%…you’re a beautiful, talented, generous person, and the world needs you. =/

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:05 am #

      You’re, like a day older than I am. I guess that day has really made you wiser because your advice above is absolutely true. I want to live, REALLY live. I get excited thinking about the possibility of obtaining that.

  15. daniheart21 07/10/2013 at 9:17 am #

    Good for you Jen. So proud of you. I think interaction has a lot to do with what we are doing here. You may not realize this…but you are in a unique position to help others. I am sure it doesn’t feel like that right now…but that might very well be part of what is worth it once you make it to the top you will be able to help others do so as well. ;) You ROCK! Jen Sharp.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:06 am #

      I really debated on writing this post, and then on posting it. In the end, sometimes things just need to be said. I wanted to show my true self, and perhaps give someone the opportunity to see themselves in what I’m saying. Much like Le Clown did for me.

      Thanks for always being a sweetheart, Dani.

  16. Paul 07/10/2013 at 9:57 am #

    You absolutely have it in you to do this Jen. And you’ll never be alone in the pursuit of lasting happiness. Just reading the comments on here shows how much people love you- me and Lou included- and there will be no shortage of sherpas to help you to the top.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:06 am #

      I have SO MUCH I want to say, but I’ll save most of it for the e-mail I’ll be sending you. All I know is that having you as a friend has been a tremendous help to me. Your unconditional love and support has really put a smile on my face many times.

  17. El Guapo 07/10/2013 at 10:23 am #

    The end might not be in sight, but it sounds like you’ve gotten up to the starting line in great style.

    And if you need a spare ear to vent at, I’m usually around.
    (And I have a few awful jokes to help along the rougher patches…)

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:08 am #

      This is that moment before a race when I’m thinking, “Why the hell did I register for this thing?” But when I get the medal, I’ll be so happy I did.

  18. Maggie O'C 07/10/2013 at 10:32 am #

    Good for you Jen. I hit this point in 2006 after my dad died. I couldn’t leave the house, drank my face off, just a mess. The view at the end of this hike is so worth it.

    I have a really nice view from my deck and no kids and no husband till next week. If you need a place for a glass of wine and some laughs. Please let me know.

    Climbing that mountain kicked the crap out of me but 8 years later, I’m so glad I did. Life is good.

    Brava! xo mag

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:10 am #

      Thanks for the offer. I have my first session so I may need to come over and drink MY face off.

      You seemed to have reached a point where you’re happy, and everything is coming together for you. That really does give me hope.

      • Maggie O'C 07/11/2013 at 8:47 am #

        I think I have your email. I will send you my cell # and if you need it, call it.

        Jen, there is hope. I thought about you last night on my walk. I had held so much in for so long and put up so many protective barriers around myself just like you and eventually they have to come down. when the walls come tumblin’ down that’s rough but yes, it is really great when you get through it all. I’m a very different person than I was 8 years ago.


  19. BrainRants 07/10/2013 at 10:50 am #

    I’ll save you a trip up Mt. Dysfunction and send a pic. It’s ugly. You have many friends ready to help, that is clear. Include me in that herd.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:11 am #

      Noted. And yes, from what I’ve seen, Mt. Dysfunctional looks a lot like Mordor.

      • BrainRants 07/11/2013 at 3:47 am #

        And one does not simpl… so tempting.

  20. Lyssapants 07/10/2013 at 11:02 am #

    Much, much luck. This post really moved me in ways I find hard to put into words right now. Thanks for being so open and raw.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:11 am #

      You gave me hope that there are mental health professionals out there who are truly credible, and want to help people.

  21. calahan 07/10/2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Finding the right therapist definitely both changed my life and saved my life. Insight into yourself, learning tools to overcome the next stressor or sad mood, these are things that you will walk away with and be a better person for it. It sounds like your’e having quite the existential crisis (I also refer to those in my own life as Tuesday and Sunday), but just know that there is a view from the top and there will be many of us cheering you on from below where a party in your honor waits.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:13 am #

      I definitely think I need someone to help me find those insights, and discover the underlying reasons for all of my behaviors. I have an idea, but I feel like it may be a Pandora’s Box. Having someone rip off that band aid and give me the tools to cope will really help.

      • calahan 07/11/2013 at 8:08 am #

        Do you have anyone in mind, yet?

  22. Cathy Ulrich 07/10/2013 at 3:34 pm #

    I’m so glad you’ve decided to get outside help. I know it’s scary, but it will be so worth it. You’ll get to discover the wonderful person that you really are. And we’ll be there cheering you on.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:14 am #

      Thank you, Cathy. It’s terrifying, but some of the best things that have happened to me occurred right after I let go of my fear.

  23. iRuniBreathe 07/10/2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Sounds like you and I are climbing that same mountain. I’m glad you are seeking help in your journey. Hiking can be hard enough, you don’t need to haul up extra baggage as well. Good luck with this all — I’ll see you at the top.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:15 am #

      You are in the same boat? I hope you know you can talk to me about it. Sharing is caring, truly. And I hope you find that same peace too. All that baggage would make your runs harder.

      • iRuniBreathe 07/11/2013 at 9:24 am #

        Yes, that is my boat. Thank you for your extended hand, I really appreciate that. When I feel like I should quit blogging and FB and give up on it all — someone like you reminds me of the virtual world I DO have.
        Running has been especially hard – it’s like trying to squeeze joy out of a rock.

  24. becomingcliche 07/10/2013 at 5:04 pm #

    It will be the best view you ever hiked to. Even if you slide back down a time or two (or a dozen), just keep putting on foot in front of the other. You will get there. It’s worth it!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:16 am #

      “One foot in front of the other” – that’s exactly what it’ll be. I know it’s not an overnight fix, and that I’m climbing the mother of all summits.

  25. Ashley Austrew 07/10/2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I am so glad you’re seeing someone. It really can be exactly what you need sometimes. I relate to this post so much as someone who has struggled with depression, anxiety, etc. (and who probably always will on some level, no matter how healthy I get). Lots of love and hugs and support.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:17 am #

      It always surprises me when I find out someone struggled with similar things, and I wouldn’t have expected it. Everyone has a story to tell, I guess.

      I’m realistic as well, perhaps I will always be doing maintenance work, but it will require a lot less emotional energy than what I’m expending now.

  26. sistasertraline 07/10/2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Welcome to the Leather Couch club my lovely.

    It ain’t always a barrel of laughs, it’s frequently uncomfortable, you’ll find it hard to keep going, but even harder to stop; that couch is hard, the refreshments are shit, the payback takes time and you don’t even get a fucking loyalty card, but one day you’ll be oh so glad you came.

    I’ll save you a seat, OK ;-)

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:18 am #

      Do they at least serve coffee and cookies?!

      • sistasertraline 07/11/2013 at 2:27 am #

        You might get tea and a jammy dodger if you’re lucky?

        But don’t lose heart, we can always go to the pub afterwards…. ;-)

  27. List of X 07/10/2013 at 10:41 pm #

    It’s was a good idea to get help. The hike is usually easier when you do it together with someone else.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/11/2013 at 12:18 am #

      Absolutely, and apparently I’ve got a group of people already ready to help me haul my ass on to bigger and better things.

  28. Monk Monkey 07/11/2013 at 4:26 am #

    Jen, so wish I had the guts to write something personal like you. I don’t have an outlet. I am so effed up with no end in sight but am so glad for you taking steps forward.
    I think youre wonderful. good luck. Let us know how the counselling goes!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:28 pm #

      I’ve been wondering where you’ve been. Have things been tough for you lately? My inbox is always open.

  29. writerwendyreid 07/11/2013 at 7:04 am #

    Believe it or not Jen, I know exactly how you feel. I NEED to find “something to look forward to” on a daily basis so I don’t feel indifferent about whether I live or die. It’s a terrible way to live and extremely depressing and frustrating when you can’t find that “hope”. I have been seeing a therapist for over a year now and even though I haven’t completely changed my way of thinking, it HAS helped me deal with individual events in my life that would otherwise cause me to crumble onto the floor like dirty laundry. If you ever want to talk to someone who’s been there (and still is to a point), you know how to reach me. You are doing the right thing. Best of luck. Love you. xo

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:29 pm #

      I can totally relate to wanting something so I’m not indifferent about my existence. I’m happy to say that my first session went REALLY well, and I’m hopeful about my future. Thanks for the offer to talk, I just may take you up on that. XO.

      • writerwendyreid 07/28/2013 at 3:44 pm #

        I would love if you did and I’m really glad that your first session went so well. xo

  30. Madame Weebles 07/11/2013 at 9:37 am #

    Motherfucking word, sister. You and I have already chatted about this stuff, so of course you I feel you. It really is surprising to see how many of us are going through similar things, isn’t it? Good for you for going to therapy. It really does help. If you’re anything like me, there will be sessions with nothing but sobbing, but what the fuck, it’s only mascara. Holler when you need help on the mountain, because I’m there too.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:30 pm #

      I am constantly surprised by the amount of people who have written me, or who I’ve read, that are in the same boat. I’m surprised at a lot of the stuff WE’VE talked about. I think if everyone realized we all have crosses to bear, we’d be a lot happier. I felt like a freak for feeling this way, but now I realize I’m not alone at all.

  31. The Hook 07/11/2013 at 12:25 pm #

    We love you.
    What more needs to be said?
    The Hook.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:31 pm #

      I’ve been so overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received. I’m humbled by this experience to say the least.

  32. Ned's Blog 07/11/2013 at 12:38 pm #

    The fact that you recognize the need for help is a huge step. And it sounds like you’re on the cusp of realizing you deserve happiness in life — which is the next step. So call it a step-and-skip, but either way you are climbing the mountain. Eventually you’ll become less winded thinking about reaching the summit, and more about what you’ll do when you get there.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:34 pm #

      The recognition and my willingness are huge in this process. I don’t think anything good can come from lying to yourself, pretending that things are okay. Pretending was a lot more exhausting than the work I need to do.

      • Ned's Blog 07/23/2013 at 9:36 pm #

        You’re absolutely right, yet a lot of people still don’t get it. Glad you do ;)

  33. Elyse 07/13/2013 at 7:01 am #

    Counseling works best when you’re ready for it, ready to give it what it needs and take away from it what you need. It sounds like you are at that point.

    I wish you luck with this hike. Just don’t wear flip-flops and you will be fine!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:34 pm #

      I’m definitely at that point, and I’m more empowered than ever.

  34. girlseule 07/14/2013 at 5:04 am #

    I related to this post, having taken quite a few hikes up Mt. Dysfunctional myself. Actually I think I’m still on it somewhere. Good on you for getting help. The road to happiness and peace has ups and downs.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Maybe I’ll meet you on the way up, and we’ll go the rest of the way together ;)

  35. persephone2013 07/14/2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Great for you! For me, after dieting and dieting (beginning at age 12 or 13) and getting heavier and heavier, it finally occurred to me that I needed to tackle why I was eating all of my emotions. My journey has been amazing and tons of healing has happened. For me, after doing a little bit of counseling, I opted for the alternative side of therapy and healing. I hope you find the way that is the best fit for you, and that you make great progress!!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:35 pm #

      I can completely relate to that! A lot of my behaviors stem from a deep unhappiness inside of me, a void I’ve been trying to fill. Luckily, I see that very clearly. And while my behaviors won’t change overnight, being aware and actively working on them has made me feel a lot better already.

  36. Rohan 7 Things 07/15/2013 at 4:40 am #

    Wishing you all the best Jen! Do shop around for a therapist, and don’t settle for one that makes you feel weird or forces cocktails of drugs on you. If you want my personal recommendation I’d suggest finding a Somatic Experiencing practitioner. Mostly people with trauma seek their help, however it’s been my experience that many, if not most emotional, behavioral and psychological issues have their roots in trauma. It was certainly the case for me and a number of others I know. Even if you don’t feel that you’ve experienced a particularly traumatic event it’s still well worth a shot!

    Other than that a good psychotherapist trained in Rogerian talk therapy can be great just for someone to talk to and help you reframe things.

    It’s a brave step Jen, and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, the very best of us need help from time to time. Good luck finding a supportive and healing professional :)

    You have the support of the blogging community!


    • Jen and Tonic 07/23/2013 at 9:37 pm #

      I’m lucky because I hit the jackpot on the first therapist. It probably helps that I did a ton of research beforehand. I definitely don’t want drugs because I’m not in a position to need them; luckily, all of my problems are issues that can be changed with behavior modification. I’ve already started some of the things, and I can’t believe the sense of relief I feel already. It isn’t a quick fix, but having this kind of control over myself has lightened my emotional burden.

      I’m so happy to have everyone on my side!


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