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Tree Nerd
03-21-2013, 20:36
So I plan to start my SOBO thru early July and lately I have been really discouraged about it. Besides the fact that I effed up my knee on a shake down hike on the Foothills Trail over spring break I have been really depressed and lonely. I feel like its hard to be excited about something when I have noone to share it with and when I feel like a failure (for not completing a 70 mile hike). I have been moping around the house, I haven't been on here for almost a week, and I cant even find the energy to do anything about my school work. I know, and I'm sure you figured that these problems go much deeper than my bum knee......some works of advice or encouragement would be nice.

mikec
03-21-2013, 20:44
Don't give up! Use common sense though. Your knee should heal by July. If it doesn't, thru hike next year. If you start and the knee gives you problems, either take some time off or come home and try again next year. Robert Schuller once said "Success is never ending. Failure is never final."

From my own experience I have been attempting to section hike the AT over the last 18 years. Sometimes I make progress. Sometimes I have to stop early. But I only have 350 miles to go in NH and ME. I'm not going to give up. And you shouldn't either. I wish you the best.

Slo-go'en
03-21-2013, 20:49
Sorry about the earlier responce..

wren again
03-21-2013, 20:59
Make sure you look at the list of symptoms for depression. If you think you might be depressed, take it seriously and do something to help yourself or to get help. Sunshine, a good diet with B vitamins, being outside, exercise, medicine if needed, being "gentle" with your expectations of yourself. (Sometimes it is hard to have the energy to do those things.) Talk to someone about it, friend, clergy, counselor, or post as you did.
Here's a good website. http://www.depressionhurts.ca/en/ This may not be what you are experiencing of course, but just in case, you may want to check it out.

Flachenmann
03-21-2013, 21:03
Don't give up Tree Nerd! I know the feeling. This past year for me hasn't been the happiest. I've been stuck in a university and town that I hate for the better part of a decade, though this past coupla years have been the worst cause all my friends and people I'd grown to love over those years have graduated and moved off to start their lives. The best word for how I've felt is "trapped". Trapped to the point of anxiety attacks and the kind of depression that just swallows up the day. But I don't get discouraged about my upcoming SOBO. I see this trek as a saving grace. It's the light at the end of a tunnel.

Don't feel like a failure about the shakedown hike. The knee will be fine by July, and as far as your thru there won't be any time limits like with just getting a week off for spring break. As far as being alone during the thru you'll meet plenty of people. There will be some lonely times, but it's SOBO, it's kinda part of it. Besides, I start late June. We might cross paths!

Grampie
03-21-2013, 21:14
Hay man, don't give up so easy. The year I started my thru I screwed up my knee skiing in Jan. I had a partial tear in my minuscas. By the end of April it felt good so I decided to continue with my plan to hike. I wore a neopreme knee brace just for some protection. I had a sucessfull thru-hike without any problems with my knee. I did this when I was 66 years old. Three weeks ago I finally had the knee fixed.
When you start, just remember, hiking is a lot like having sex. You think you can do a lot until you start. Pace yourself, be extra carefull in Maine. The trails have a lot of roots to trip you up. Settle for short days like 10-12 miles for the first couple of weeks. Your body has to get used to walking with a loaded pack. Don't rush, the trail will always be there to conquer. Happy trails to you and enjoy your hike.

Malto
03-21-2013, 21:15
I think you are looking at your failed training hike all wrong. While you may not have finished it, did you learn something on that trip that will help on your thru. Very likely yes. So go do another hike, for a weekend or even a long day hike and build on the positive. I can tell you that I only hit about 50% of my intended mileage or time goals. I push myself hard and get very aggressive goals. But some of my best training hikes were those that were failures. Good luck. Go hike.

Teacher & Snacktime
03-21-2013, 21:16
Think of your aborted 70 mile hike as a dress rehearsal....if it goes poorly, then the performance itself if bound to be a success!

I agree with Wren Again...go outside...fresh air and sunshine do wonders, even if it's cold. Get what exercise you can - endorphins make the world a better place!

Tree Nerd
03-21-2013, 21:40
Thanks for the advice and encouragement,

And if you were wondering (wren again) yes, its depression. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in high school; panic attacks were common, I was on meds, and other things happened that I don't like to speak of. Since I left for college I have met some really great people that have changed my life and I have worked through most of my problems and I have been symptom free for almost three years (besides the normal home sickness).

Ever since my shake down I have been in a funk. I know its wrong to look at it like i failed and didn't get anything from it, because I really enjoyed my time, I met great people, I learned a lot about my new gear, and found out how much my body can take. Between work, school, being the president of the forestry club, and on several planning committees across campus I have pretty much lost a lot of my friends and have zero free time to concentrate on myself. I know I over work myself and expect too much of myself, I always have.....as they say, "you are your own worst enemy".....I know I should be excited that everything is coming to an end (school, getting out of Lexington, a lot of my collegiate responsibilities, etc) and that my thru is almost here, but something is wrong. I haven't felt this bad for a couple years and I am not sure what caused it. It sucks.

rocketsocks
03-21-2013, 22:06
Buck up Tree Nerd, get the knee straightened out (no pun) the trail will be there. And don't think about it as one long single hike, but rather small section hikes, and go as far as you can go, it really is just that simple. And reach out or up when you need to :)

Papa D
03-21-2013, 22:06
dude, I've pulled the plug on a bunch of hikes, rock climbs, adventures, whatever - the cool thing about the trail is that it's cool just being on it. Just set out on your thru and see what happens. Y

You also need (it sounds) to prioritize the hike and ditch some of these other b.s. obligations - - focus on yourself - - your fitness, your general well being, and your plan

Also, for clinical depression, you might consider some meds (according to my wife who is a pharmacist). Look into a Wellbutrin script.

You'll be ok - good luck.

melaniebk
03-21-2013, 22:14
+1 on the Wellbutrin!

MuddyWaters
03-21-2013, 22:15
Sharing trail adventures with people that arent really into it and dont understand, isnt very satisfying anyway.

You will meet some great people out there, and have the time of your life. People that DO understand what its about. Look forward to that.

Most people get injured now and then, Better before, than during for sure. Get healthy, and go for it.

FarmerChef
03-21-2013, 22:53
+1 on the training hike being a success not a failure. It's often our "failures" that teach us the most about how to succeed.

I'm no doctor but it sounds like you have a lot of stuff going on that is about to change in a significant way. That usually impacts us in a big way emotionally. Stephen Covey calls it "Sharpening the Saw." Others call it "burning the candle at both ends." If you don't take time to invest in yourself you can very well use yourself up. Give yourself the freedom to take some time for you. With regard to your upcoming hike, I agree with others that suggest you get back out there again. Keep it very, very easy and do it to just enjoy it. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for the body and mind.

HikerMom58
03-21-2013, 22:56
Thanks for the advice and encouragement,

And if you were wondering (wren again) yes, its depression. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in high school; panic attacks were common, I was on meds, and other things happened that I don't like to speak of. Since I left for college I have met some really great people that have changed my life and I have worked through most of my problems and I have been symptom free for almost three years (besides the normal home sickness).

Ever since my shake down I have been in a funk. I know its wrong to look at it like i failed and didn't get anything from it, because I really enjoyed my time, I met great people, I learned a lot about my new gear, and found out how much my body can take. Between work, school, being the president of the forestry club, and on several planning committees across campus I have pretty much lost a lot of my friends and have zero free time to concentrate on myself. I know I over work myself and expect too much of myself, I always have.....as they say, "you are your own worst enemy".....I know I should be excited that everything is coming to an end (school, getting out of Lexington, a lot of my collegiate responsibilities, etc) and that my thru is almost here, but something is wrong. I haven't felt this bad for a couple years and I am not sure what caused it. It sucks.

Hummm..... sounds like it might be purely a chemical imbalance. I don't know if you are opposed to meds now or not. If you aren't, then, I would move forward with checking into that. Don't let the funk continue for very long without getting help with it.

You haven't felt this bad for a couple of years so you've got to determine the cause. There is a cause. You might just need some kind of boost for a short period of time. There's not a thing lacking with you, Tree Nerd.. you aren't a failure at all. In fact, you are STRONGER than the average person.

People have the sugar in their blood go wonkey, on them, sometimes, so they take insulin to correct the problem-they feel themselves again, OK? It's no different with you. Don't suffer needlessly. I understand, somewhat, what you are going through. PM me if you want to talk more about it.

bstanga1
03-21-2013, 22:57
Tree Nerd I tore my meniscus at the beginning of January playing flag football. The first thing I thought about was the hike. I'm a SOBO with a planned July 1 start date. I had a few little freak outs wondering if I was going to be able to do it. I decided that I would try and let it heal on its own and if it doesn't I was going to get an awesome knee brace and power through. Don't let the injury discourage you. You have 3+ months to heal and get better. Thats a lot of time. Mine felt great halfway through February. So just give it some time. I know the feeling of being stuck in school right now. I have 50 days until graduation. Just focus on how awesome the hike is going to be.

Hairbear
03-22-2013, 00:26
You didnt fail you were scouting the enemies weak point for later victory.

Feral Bill
03-22-2013, 01:07
Make sure you look at the list of symptoms for depression. If you think you might be depressed, take it seriously and do something to help yourself or to get help. Sunshine, a good diet with B vitamins, being outside, exercise, medicine if needed, being "gentle" with your expectations of yourself. (Sometimes it is hard to have the energy to do those things.) Talk to someone about it, friend, clergy, counselor, or post as you did.
Here's a good website. http://www.depressionhurts.ca/en/ This may not be what you are experiencing of course, but just in case, you may want to check it out.
+1 on this. I've been there, and, with help, got back. You can too. See a mental health professional you can trust, and take it from there. We're all pulling for you.

Feral Bill
03-22-2013, 01:10
Thanks for the advice and encouragement,

And if you were wondering (wren again) yes, its depression. It sucks. Yes, It does. Sounds like you're on it. Let us know when you are feeling a bit better (I know that it takes time).

Bronk
03-22-2013, 01:39
Sounds to me like you need to do your hike more than ever.

wren again
03-22-2013, 07:00
It takes courage to admit that you are struggling, Tree Nerd.
I had a bout of post-partum depression after son 2 was born (4 sons in all).
It was painful in so many ways, but I learned so much from the experience.
#1. I learned compassion toward other people instead of judgement.
#2. I am not invincible nor above struggling.
#3. One cannot always just try harder or think positively and fix everything.
#4. It is OK to let other people help you, humbling, but OK.
I would hope to never go through that again, but I am glad for the new perspectives it gave me.
You are on my prayer list, Tree Nerd.

10-K
03-22-2013, 07:37
Feelings come and feelings go. Try not to identify with your feelings and just let them flow..

Old Hiker
03-22-2013, 07:43
Hey, Tree-Nerd.

Again - keep plugging. Lots of us have been there. Lots of us will be there again.

Me: planned my AT attempt for 25 years+. Planned to do it when I retired from the military - nope, finances, etc. 12 years later: 500 miles in, slipped, twisted, sprained and cracked my ankle. Really, really depressed me. I'm looking again at 2016.

In addition to the above, look into helping other people out if you can. Helping people IN NEED and not IN WANT will lift your spirits, I believe.

Good luck - don't push it and damage it further - see you out there.

Hairbear
03-22-2013, 07:52
It takes courage to admit that you are struggling, Tree Nerd.
I had a bout of post-partum depression after son 2 was born (4 sons in all).
It was painful in so many ways, but I learned so much from the experience.
#1. I learned compassion toward other people instead of judgement.
#2. I am not invincible nor above struggling.
#3. One cannot always just try harder or think positively and fix everything.
#4. It is OK to let other people help you, humbling, but OK.
I would hope to never go through that again, but I am glad for the new perspectives it gave me.
You are on my prayer list, Tree Nerd.

pearls of wisdom...

ajwatson
03-22-2013, 08:29
You sound a bit like me, and if that is at all true, there will be times during your thru where you feel absolutely miserable. Certainly you should learn how to deal with these moments as best you can, but to a certain extent you will just have to keep your chin up and do the work even though you are lonely, bored, and hiking feels totally pointless. This is something I wasn't able to do. Something else I did that I think was a good idea: set a distance or time goal for yourself that you must meet at any cost (unless you hurt yourself). For example, absolutely do not let yourself quit in your first month on the trail. This gives you an intermediate goal to shoot for, and it is realistic to meet even if you decide you really don't like thru-hiking.

slbirdnerd
03-22-2013, 08:42
Don't give up! Hang in there! Lots of people have knee issues. WB member "mainebob" is on a thru right now and wears some kind of knee braces, you might ask him about that. He's also at: http://sassafrasandkabooseatadventure.blogspot.com/

FatHead64
03-22-2013, 08:55
+1 on the training hike being a success not a failure. It's often our "failures" that teach us the most about how to succeed.

I'm no doctor but it sounds like you have a lot of stuff going on that is about to change in a significant way. That usually impacts us in a big way emotionally. Stephen Covey calls it "Sharpening the Saw." Others call it "burning the candle at both ends." If you don't take time to invest in yourself you can very well use yourself up. Give yourself the freedom to take some time for you. With regard to your upcoming hike, I agree with others that suggest you get back out there again. Keep it very, very easy and do it to just enjoy it. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for the body and mind.

+2 on that - and not just for training hikes. All thru my education and career, it has always felt better when I nailed something right off. However, hindsight being what it is, I have always felt I learned so much more when I "fell short". I learn something about myself, I learn more about getting back in the saddle. That, IMHO, is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Be careful to have some balance in your life, too. You need some down time, not just being on the go all the time. And it's OK to be not happy about how everything is going in the moment - focus on the longer term. That is part of what the downtime can help with too. And being outside in fresh air and such has been shown to help a lot.

Not the expert on the clinical side of depression - going to assume others are giving far better advice than I could, there. And you also have my prayers.

HikerMom58
03-22-2013, 09:00
It takes courage to admit that you are struggling, Tree Nerd.
I had a bout of post-partum depression after son 2 was born (4 sons in all).
It was painful in so many ways, but I learned so much from the experience.
#1. I learned compassion toward other people instead of judgement.
#2. I am not invincible nor above struggling.
#3. One cannot always just try harder or think positively and fix everything.
#4. It is OK to let other people help you, humbling, but OK.
I would hope to never go through that again, but I am glad for the new perspectives it gave me.
You are on my prayer list, Tree Nerd.

Best post EVER!!! +1 to #3...understood!

poopsy
03-22-2013, 09:01
I think posting here is a great sign. You know you've got problems and not just with your knee. Your're doing the best thing you could be doing and that is reaching out to other people. Keep it up. You're not alone. What you're feeling now is normal for someone who wrecked their knee on a training hike. What would you tell someone else in this position? **** happens and of course you feel bad but you will get better. It will happen quicker with help.

Congratualtions!

Tree Nerd
03-22-2013, 09:59
Thanks everyone, Its so nice and a major uplift to see complete strangers showing concern and giving advice/encouragement to someone you've never met. Many things that I have read on this thread for the past two days have given me some perspective and I feel good about the day, hopefully this will stay with me and I can get out of this funk. I will spend all day at work cutting honeysuckle so I will be outside and have some time to think about everything, or not think about everything.

This really caught my eye and got me thinking.....

Sounds to me like you need to do your hike more than ever.

Thanks again everyone

tiptoe
03-22-2013, 10:14
Tree Nerd, as you can see in this thread, many of us are "walking wounded" and soldier on as we can. Try to take a long-term view, take care of the knee, and address your mental state. I personally find that walking, even for a short time, improves my mood. If you want to, you will get on the trail eventually. If your knee improves by June, consider starting your hike on an easier section of trail. Hope to see you out there.

Marta
03-22-2013, 10:25
Have you ever read Colin Fletcher's books? Before every major expedition he went into panic mode, typified by some medical condition that looked as if it would sink the trip before it started. Eventually he called this syndrome Fletcheritis.

A big part of what you will get out of this expedition is the ability to push on through the kinds of problems you're having now.

You can do it! Apply yourself to finishing up all your school responsibilities so they won't be chasing after you when you leave. Then focus on the hike. You WILL have people to share it with. They will be out there. Meeting them will be some of the best serendipity of your life.

Best wishes.

HikerMom58
03-22-2013, 10:26
Thanks everyone, Its so nice and a major uplift to see complete strangers showing concern and giving advice/encouragement to someone you've never met. Many things that I have read on this thread for the past two days have given me some perspective and I feel good about the day, hopefully this will stay with me and I can get out of this funk. I will spend all day at work cutting honeysuckle so I will be outside and have some time to think about everything, or not think about everything.

This really caught my eye and got me thinking.....


Thanks again everyone

Yes Indeed ,Tree Nerd.. Hiking the trail will help lift you out of the funk, for sure. Excellent advice.

Ewok11
03-22-2013, 12:33
There are many here who have already posted who have much more life experience, trail time, knowledge and better words of advice than I do. So, I will just add that you are 22 and just about to finish college. I remember being there. It's a crossroad. A lot of what you are feeling is because your life is changing and sometimes change is scary. It makes you completely normal to be bummed out about friends, your knee and life. Focus on the positive: you're graduating from college (something not everyone does), you found out before you started your thru hike that you have a knee problem (thus making you better prepared when you do start) and you recognize where you are with your emotions (speaks volumes about your intuition and maturity).

So, metaphorically, compare your current situation to your future thru attempt. This is one of those places where you just want to quit. No pretty scenery, you're not having fun and your day sucks. Keep walking. :)

jimmyjam
03-22-2013, 12:53
There are many here who have already posted who have much more life experience, trail time, knowledge and better words of advice than I do. So, I will just add that you are 22 and just about to finish college. I remember being there. It's a crossroad. A lot of what you are feeling is because your life is changing and sometimes change is scary. It makes you completely normal to be bummed out about friends, your knee and life. Focus on the positive: you're graduating from college (something not everyone does), you found out before you started your thru hike that you have a knee problem (thus making you better prepared when you do start) and you recognize where you are with your emotions (speaks volumes about your intuition and maturity).

So, metaphorically, compare your current situation to your future thru attempt. This is one of those places where you just want to quit. No pretty scenery, you're not having fun and your day sucks. Keep walking. :)

Well said! Good words of wisdom, Ewok11.

Life is best taken one day at a time and try to find something about each day to enjoy. I used to worry about tomorrow, but then I realized that today is the day I worried about yesterday, and it turned out just fine.

richmondhokie
03-22-2013, 14:40
Dude - buck up - there are people out there who would gladly trade places, i.e. they are far worse off than you. This is the "tough love" advice coming on here. I don't advocate meds, unless there is risk of doing self harm.

4 years ago, I started training for running the Marine Corps Marathon of which I had been lucky enough to get into (there is a lottery), well - it is just shy of 3 weeks before the locally run Richmond Marathon, well - I decided to be ballsy and do 2 marathons - back to back (having only ever ran one marathon previously) - 3 weeks apart. Training was going OK - nothing spectacular (I am not a super athlete).

A month or so before the Marine Corps Marathon, I was laid off of my job - so there I was - Husband, father, provider - with nothing to provide. I was unemployed and there was no income coming into the house (wife stays home to take care of the kids) - I firmly categorized myself as a loser.

I am at the start of where I am supposed to do my long training runs - the ones where you do the gut check - "am I gonna make it" - I could care less.

Additionally, I had not purchased my entrance to the Richmond Marathon yet - I was waiting to ensure I made it thru the MCM injury free - but how could I justify buying my bib without any income - how could I justify even spending money for a hotel room in DC for the night before the MCM. all I could think about was quitting it all together - not running either race.

All these things were going thru my mind daily - each one weighting me down further and further, when basically one morning a friend told me to stop being a wuss - suck it up - there are people who are worse off than you are - and would gladly trade places with me and to stop feeling sorry for myself and be a man. I had been selfish - only thinking of myself - and self pity, but never realizing I still had a wife and kids that loved me - a body that was mostly ready for what I was about to undertake, a house, clothes, and for now - food on the table.

I got out and did my long runs after a couple week layoff - packed up and drove to DC the night before, but alone in the room - all night - my mind began to be stupid again, making me question the wisdom of wasting the money, I was still unemployed - approaching 6 weeks without a paycheck now, and I the next thing I know - it is almost 3AM, and my alarm is set for 5AM to make my way to the starting line (Metro ride into the city, etc).

So at 5AM - I'm thinking I might as well pack up and go home - there is no way I am gonna run a marathon on 2 hours sleep - never gonna happen - and to top it off - my original goal was to beat my time from my first marathon 7 years previous - but seeing all those Marines, the Iwo Jima Memorial and considering all the crap they have to deal with, and often times on NO sleep - I decided that I was whining and worrying about things I had no control over.

So with no family there to support me, (they stayed home to save money) I set off on at least finishing, and if I happened to set a personal record - all the better.

I finished - shaving 16 minutes or so from my time from 7 years prior - I was happy - but a bit sad, because my quest to run 2 back to back was not going to happen, because I could not afford it any more.

Fast forward 18 days, my wife had pleaded my story on Craigslist about my goal to do 2 marathons back to back and someone responded that they had injured themselves and would not be running, and would gladly offer up their bib.

I managed to sleep a little better the night before as I was finally about to realize a dream - my worries melted away, but the next day, as I was steadily losing time and losing energy after completing just 13 miles - I was unable to stop from thinking about failure. I had completed half of the marathon at 3 minutes faster than I had reached the halfway mark at the MCM, but by the time I had reached the 20 mile mark - I was a minute slower, in less than 7 miles - I had lost 4 minutes. My wife was at the 20-mile mark (home town advantage) to offer me fresh socks (I forgot to mention it was a dreary rainy morning), and I told her I wasn't sure if I would finish, and I knew any hope of me finishing faster than I had 20 days prior was all but gone.

It was now her turn to give me the "suck it up speech" and told me to stop my "whoa is me" mentality and get back out there and finish (mind you, I sat for minute or 2 to get my socks on and get my pep talk). I set back off with renewed vigor (and dry socks).

I ended up running the last 6.2 miles 38 seconds per mile faster than I had run the first 20, and managed to shave almost 4 and a half minutes off my marathon 20 days earlier.

So.....all that to say - your life could suck more, there are those out there worse off than you, so stop feeling sorry for yourself, man-up and get out there and kick the AT SOBO in the A**.

Old Boots
03-22-2013, 14:46
Part of what you are feeling is something I feel every year about this time post-winter early-spring blues. Let the coming sunshine heal your soul as well as your knee. I am starting sobo at the end of June. See you on the trail.

Feral Bill
03-22-2013, 15:15
It takes courage to admit that you are struggling, Tree Nerd.
I had a bout of post-partum depression after son 2 was born (4 sons in all).
It was painful in so many ways, but I learned so much from the experience.
#1. I learned compassion toward other people instead of judgement.
#2. I am not invincible nor above struggling.
#3. One cannot always just try harder or think positively and fix everything.
#4. It is OK to let other people help you, humbling, but OK.
I would hope to never go through that again, but I am glad for the new perspectives it gave me.
You are on my prayer list, Tree Nerd.

Read this again, especially #3. Those who are telling you to "just buck up" are fortunate enough to not understand your situation. See the counseling people at your school for a start. You will be okay.

Praha4
03-22-2013, 15:20
it can help to put things in your life in perspective. You are only 22, you have many, many years of hiking ahead of you if you enjoy this activity, it can become a lifelong habit. I only wish I could have done an AT hike at your age. At 22, I was just going active duty in US Army, spent the next 4 years in the uniform and 4 more years in the Reserves... then a wife and family came along, full time career, no time to think about hiking the AT. I wasn't able to hike the AT until retirement....30 years later. If I were you, I would first get the phsical injuries healed up, and use this year to do section hikes. This will improve your physical and metal conditioning for future long distance hikes. It's not the end of the world either if you never do an AT thru hike in one year. Be patient on getting over injuries, the trail will be there for you later, and it will be even more rewarding for you when it comes.

On the depression stuff, you may or may not find the solution on the AT. Have you tried getting into a local hiking club, maybe an AT trail maintenance group? meet some other hikers in your area with common interests, that will help you I think.

good luck!

Another Kevin
03-22-2013, 15:28
@richmondhokie: I'm glad to hear that you managed to deal with a good deal of misfortune without going into clinical depression.

Clinical depression is different. It's not self-pity. It's often not a reaction to life's stresses - or at least, a disproprtionate reaction to them. It's a chemical imbalance in the brain - and its chief effect is that the patient literally cannot 'buck up,' 'man up,' or 'snap out of it..' Talk therapy works - but takes a while. Meds are popular because they're faster, and some patients simply need them. (One family member of mine is on a quarter the usual dose of one - and absolutely needs that little bit.) Tough talk is truly misguided and often makes matters worse. Believe me, the depressed person has been trying to "suck it up" and "snap out of it," harder than you could possibly imagine.

Tree Nerd - Since you've been under treatment before, you already know this, but you need a safety plan. If you find yourself suicidal, call Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK any time day or night. Feelings are temporary; suicide is permanent. We surely don't want to lose you.

HikerMom58
03-22-2013, 15:45
Read this again, especially #3. Those who are telling you to "just buck up" are fortunate enough to not understand your situation. See the counseling people at your school for a start. You will be okay.

Feral Bill... WTG!! +1 on this post to Tree Nerd. Another Kevin... another good post! :D

Cookerhiker
03-22-2013, 17:24
If you believe that you need professional counseling or medical treatment, then by all means seek it not just for the sake of your thruhike but your life in general.

It helps to recognize that even on short hikes - let alone long-distance backpacks - things will go wrong or not according to plan. That's not to dwell incessantly on the downsides but rather, try to put things in perspective: dispel any negativity that enters your mind by appreciating the many rewards you receive from partaking of nature's wonders and adapting to the simpler lifestyle of walking, observing, eating a simpler diet, sleeping in the woods, enjoying the views as rewards from the ascents, marveling in the biodiversity of the Eastern hardwood forest. Even if your hike "fails" like some of mine have, the experience was worthwhile - wouldn't trade it for anything.

Concerning the knee, did you you use trekking poles? And more importantly, how do you hike downhill. Do you slow the pace on steep & rocky stretches? And do you stride briskly down appealing-looking dirt paths like I've seen many young hikers do, putting undue stress on the knee? Even on an "easy" surface, you can't stride downhill as if it's flat.

Ewok11
03-22-2013, 17:58
Tree Nerd - I don't know if it makes a difference or not (especially since we will likely never meet) but I should have added earlier that in my late teens and early 20's I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and prone to panic attacks. We all cope in different ways and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking the help of a trained professional. Sometimes, you just need to get it all out.

wren again
03-22-2013, 18:19
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."
~~Khalil Gibran

Tree Nerd
03-22-2013, 19:04
Thank everyone, you all have been a huge help! I was really nervous about posting on here about this and I figured I would regret it from what everyone would say, but I was wrong. I have been in this state many times before, but in my current situation the people I normally talk to about all this have moved on or i am very far from them. I do have a safety plan and I have people to talk to if it comes to that, but it wont. I have been to that point before in life and I know how to deal with my problems in a constructive way so it doesn't get to that point.

I had a good day today, worked outside all day and came home to my dog, whom I actually was excited to play with but once I got back inside I funked again. Back in high school, before I got treatment or was diagnosed with depression and anxiety I knew there was something wrong with me and the only thing to prevent me from being "sad" was to occupy my mind my tinkering with things, mainly my race quad. Its a lot harder to that down at school without my tools, a place to work, four wheeler, etc....I would love to work on something right now, it makes me feel important and keeps my mind off being down, but it never solved the problem, it just temporarily relieved it.

The good news is I am starting to feel better about things. Due to the new knee brace I'm in (at least I assume its the knee brace) my knee didn't bother me much at work; which is an improvement. I was really happy to play with Maggie and I wore her out (she is sleeping now lol). I am getting excited about the hike again, but I wish it would happen now so I wouldn't I have to deal with everything else that is going on.

Things will get better, I will have my good times and bad times, and the light switch will continue to flip until I get out of my funk.

StriderNCT2013
03-22-2013, 22:16
Tree Nerd,
Don't give up! Most people in this forum I'm sure have been in a funk, myself included, very recently in fact. It helped me just to talk to someone about my insecurities about the future and it really helped. I also recommend spending time outside alone, the fresh air can do wonders for healing bad energy. I went camping last weekend even though it was only 5 degrees out. Just being out there in the cold by myself (and a nearby owl) helped relieve all the stress I had bottled up inside. I've been planning a thru-hike of the North Country Trail for the past 2 years. I'm now only days away from departing and the weeks leading up to departure are the most stressful. I also found out that the snow depth has not dropped at all and if it does melt quickly there will be severe flooding along my route. But I'm still going anyway because I'm not going to let those negative feelings grab ahold. Just gotta be strong. One phrase I think of every time I have doubts was from a documentary about the Pacific Crest Trail. It was a short phrase of advice that simply said, ... "Be unstoppable". Hope this helps bud, hang in there.
-Strider NCT 2013 www.stridernct.com

klsva
03-25-2013, 11:40
Tree nerd,Don't let the failed hike get the best of you!A lot of people don't do much training before starting their hike.You are young man!You have life all ahead of you.It must feel like july will never get here but it will!I've suffered with major depressive disorder and anxiety attacks for most of my life.I self medicated with alcohol-real bad move.Even after being diagnosed it took 4 years to get the right combination of meds to make me fairly right.Their is help out there!!There are people who care and support you.Like one of my friends often tell me.Hell man everyones on something!!~This time of year is particularly bad for people suffering depression,or so my doc tells me.Spring will be here soon.!!Find a good doc to talk to Maybe see about some meds.Most of all hang in there!!

Dogwood
03-25-2013, 12:38
So I plan to start my SOBO thru early July and lately I have been really discouraged about it. Besides the fact that I effed up my knee on a shake down hike on the Foothills Trail over spring break I have been really depressed and lonely. I feel like its hard to be excited about something when I have noone to share it with and when I feel like a failure (for not completing a 70 mile hike). I have been moping around the house, I haven't been on here for almost a week, and I cant even find the energy to do anything about my school work. I know, and I'm sure you figured that these problems go much deeper than my bum knee......some works of advice or encouragement would be nice.

First, the FHT can fool one into a false sense of how strenuous or easy it is. It's a mixed trail like the AT which is one of the reasons why I think it's a good fit for a shakedown hike in prep for a thru-hike of the AT or LT. It has relatively easy miles of hiking, like on level old logging roads and through bottomland in gorges and then hits stairs, ladders, and steeper climbs. Taking into consideration what I just said, what did you learn from your experiences on the FHT, NOT the negatives but the potential for advancement? That's where your mindset needs to be. IMHO, it's a crucial factor in completing a thru-hike.

Do you know how many times Abraham Lincoln failed in his personal and political career before ascending to the most powerful position in the U.S.? Read his biography. He used his failures as stepping stones as a path for advancement. How about Thomas Alva Edison? After a multitude of what some saw as failures in his quest to invent the light bulb, when told "you failed again Mr Edison", what was his mindset and reply? I didn't fail I merely succeeded at finding ways not to invent the light bulb. He went on to invent the light bulb. See how successful people think? You can do it too!

We all can have low pts. Champions and winners know this and have these low pts too but it's what they do about it that makes them champions and winners! They don't stay there! They get themselves over, through, around, or positively redefine it. You can too!

What assets can one have to get them through these periods? A never say die attitude, positive reenforcing friends, uplifting music, laughter, surrounding oneself with reminders of your one's accomplishments, friendship with an animal such as a dog, etc. I encourage you to explore the assets available to you to get you through low pts. Just by doing that, even without actually applying those assets, it's my suspicion you'll start on a new more empowering path by knowing you have your hands on the steering wheel and rudder of your ship with an eye on the compass. It's your ship. You are the Captain. It's the Captain's job to take the ship in what ever direction he wants the ship to go.

I got much more for you. Why? Because I too have to get through those low pts. and I've had more than my fair share. Rise above it. Soar. Your an Eagle just taking a rest deciding which direction to fly next. You haven't forgotten how to fly. Look at it like that.

Tree Nerd
03-25-2013, 20:25
....A never say die attitude.....

Wow, strange how this all works......My brother is the entrepreneur of NSD designs, "Never Say Die Designs", and was my lead sponsor when racing quads. Funny how the meaning is impacting me now.....

Well the bad news is I had a horrible day yesterday, super depressed, and majorly feeling sorry for myself. I received a job as a full time permanent employee working as a private forestry consultant.....hard to turn down as a forestry student right out of college. Felt bad all day, contemplated taking the job and giving up on my dream of thru hiking and starting my other dream of settling and racing again.

The good news is I turned down the job and after talking to a friend (another aspiring AT thru hiker several years down the road) my spirits are back up about hiking the AT. I talked my brother too (owner of NSD designs) which is always a big help for me. I feel good about whats to come, I just need to tough it out until July.....I wish school was over so I could go to GA and start my thru now.

Thanks again everyone for your works of kindness and uplift.

SOBO_Pace
03-25-2013, 20:47
The second you start your hike you'll know where you're supposed to be. :)

The trail really is an amazing place.

HikerMom58
03-25-2013, 21:10
Good stuff from everyone!! Thanks for sharing Tree Nerd!

Dogwood
03-25-2013, 22:58
Be careful of buying into what labels others will try placing on you! And, be thoughtful what you believe about yourself. They can act like anchors that will weigh you down throughout your life. Folks with many yrs of education even having good intentions are sometimes, possibly often, wrong. IT IS YOUR LIFE! YOU determine how you see yourself!

I am no doctor or psychologist but heeding medical and mental diagnosis made through an internet forum is dubious at best, extremely destructive and potentially fatal at worst. Please please please carefully consider in depth alternative therapies and techniques to get you over low pts than quickly letting yourself be placed on prescription psychiatric pharmaceutical drugs WHICH IS WAY TOO DAMN COMMON among western trained health care professionals PARTICULARLY psychiatrists and psychologists! Besides, you sound like an accomplished engaged conscientious bright self aware young man not a brooding repressed ignorant individual isolating yourself in a dark corner.

I usually don't go around quoting bible verses but I would consider myself an ignorant fool if I wasn't able to admit the bible contains wisdom. Lots of places to find insight. Some might say this is foolishness in itself but here are two things the bible says that has modern scientific research to back it up.

1) (Malachi 4:2 NIV) But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness, will rise with healing in its wings(rays). And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

What I take from that - reverence for God will heal will energize will FREE me. The sun, as in S U N, has healing in its rays. Now, science is telling us just how important sunshine and Vitamin D, which are bodies make when exposed to the sun, is. Perhaps, there might be some real reasons why many folks living in California are so happy and why Seattle, which has about 300 overcast days per year, has one of the(the) highest rate(s) of suicide in the U.S.? You are already sensing this but you might want to know that there are some reasons why folks who are depressed sometimes close all the blinds seeking out dark isolated places. Might not be so good for people who are clinically depressed to be placed in locations that are not exposed to copious amounts of sunshine in isolated indoor places. Might be some reasons why those exposed to more natural sunshine non man made non enclosed environments can live happier more well adjusted fuller lives. Maybe we are being conditioned according to someone else's self fulfilling agenda rather than determining and fulfilling our own agenda. Maybe that type of natural living leads to having a greater knowledge of and respect for other non human species. Maybe, the Native American Indians knew something that has been lost/overlooked by the masses in the current U.S. who dwell inside cubicles at jobs, live inside boxes with little natural light, driving boxes not exposed to the wind, and basically isolating themselves from the natural outside environment. Maybe, that's why folks who spend more time outdoors, such as gardeners, statistically live longer lives.

2) “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)

To me, that means humor and laughter can heal me. Laughter, uncontrolled riotous loud laughter, can be good. It brings healing. As I live with laughter and humor in my heart and mind and on my tongue, it will not only change me for the better, but it creates the environment that can bring healing to others as well. Why do you think people are naturally attracted to other people who have a great sense of humor? Think about that. When entering a comedy club in just a so so state and then leaving it after laughing your arse off don't you feel better? What does it mean to have a broken spirit? It's dwelling on the negative with a head hung low being a "downer." When behaving that way can't one also affect the behavior of others? You betcha. In a 180* direction, there's real evidence that indeed misery loves company. Depression and misery leads to being exposed to greater depression and misery. What else can you get from that? Surround yourself with laughter! with friends who laugh a lot, by watching funny movies, by going to comedy clubs, turning things around that seem negative and finding something positive about it, even if that positive thing seems insignificantly small or idiotic to everyone else. When Thomas Alva Edison replied as I noted in my previous post isn't that what he did? He redefined how he saw the situation from the negative way someone else saw the situation. He's known as one of the greatest inventors in all recorded history holding an enormous number of patents. When you are busy laughing it also creates fertile ground for being more appreciative living a life in gratitude rather than living a life by constantly complaining leading to all sorts of nasty things like anger, bitterness, resentment, greater negativity, etc, which are poison to the soul.

Now, science has told us when we laugh we release endorphins and dopamine that makes us feel good. When you feel good isn't that good medicine? Don't see too many happy happy people who are terminally ill, diseased, or depressed, do you? Perhaps, that's the real meaning of disease? Feeling ill at ease or dis - eased.

Here's another golden nugget. Physiology can and does affect one's emotional and mental states. Physiology is the way you control your physical body. Pertaining to depression, what physical traits would best describe someone who is depressed? Chin down(low), shoulders slumped, eyes narrowly focused downward, shallow short breaths, frowning, short aimless strides, mumbled speaking, negative thoughts/thinking, negative narrowed visualization, etc NOW, think of the most excited empowering feeling/experience you ever had. DO IT! Doesn't resemble the physiology of someone who is depressed, sick, or miserable does it? Ever win BIG at something? How would you describe your physiology? Perhaps, arms and clenched fists raised in the air ABOVE your head, deep full oxygenating breaths, shoulders UP and back, chin level or RAISED ABOVE the horizontal, long goal oriented strides, etc. Maybe you said something like YEAH! WAY TO GO! I DID IT! Perhaps your senses became much more acute. You seemed to be able to smell the roses more fully. You sensed the tactile feeling of the breeze and perspiration on your skin. Your skin felt electrified. Time slowed down. Then, possibly sped up. Your vision became more keen. HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS!!! Want to get yourself out of a depressed state? Damn Right Dogwood!!! *MIMIC the physiology of when you felt most empowered a winner a champion on top of the world like you just got that long anticipated Christmas present that's now sitting under the Christmas tree like you just found the cure for cancer and know all the good that entails like you've already attained the mountain summit before actually being there. When climbing mountains and I do that know what happens? It gives me the mindset, energy, and physical endurance to actually obtain the summit. I do this on all my hikes. I make myself INTENSELY feel, with each and every step, staying in the moment, what I know I will feel like at the completion of a long thru-hike OBTAINING MY LONG ANTICIPATED GOAL. Know what that does? It makes me feel and appreciate currently what is yet to actually occur! ((Time travel! Existence in multiple places! Consciously bringing about things, or into existence, before we are aware they physically exist? Hmmm? Different discussion though)) Let's get back to the primary topic at hand. Mimic that type of empowering uplifting positive reinforcing physiology - put a smile on your face, even if you have to force yourself to smile at first, let out a scream like you did when winning, laugh, inhale the scent of the roses deeply, and YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. YOU WILL no longer feel depressed! NO prescription pharmaceutical drugs needed! You have already been designed to create all the chemicals inside you that you need! You control how you will feel. You control your thoughts. You control your imagery. You control how you define things. YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR SHIP!

Dogwood
03-25-2013, 23:10
Here's a fresh reminder for you. You went on a shakedown hike. What that means is, at least to me, you are feeling things out, determining what's working and what isn't. And, not just pertaining to your gear but with many factors including your physical and mental conditioning. You did that! You are doing that! You are on the track practicing for the main event! Don't quit in the middle of that process. REMEMBER, it's not a one step process. Heal up the physical injury and continue the process. You may not be having the right perspective yet. You are SO [email protected]#ING close and think you are failing. NO NO NO. You are succeeding. Keep at it. Don't grow weary. You are in training for the main event - thru hiking the AT!

Tree Nerd
03-25-2013, 23:56
Dogwood....GREAT STUFF! I love everything you said, its great advice and definitely taken in!

When I feel bad I try to get outside....when Im sad I try to find something that makes me laugh....both things that I started doing a long time ago, long before I was diagnosed with depression.

"Mimic that type of empowering uplifting positive reinforcing physiology".....I have never heard this form anyone, but its great advice! Right when I read this I immediately started thinking of racing/riding or playing lacrosse (both of which I have done for 8+ years) and how empowered I felt during these events and it made me want to go do them right now.....I need to find something competitive to join and start focusing on myself again.

Dogwood
03-26-2013, 02:28
Let me tell you again. I don't see a repressed dark under achieving know it all ignorant dumb arse low life anti social failure of an individual seeking to isolate himself so he can sink into a deeper funk. No No No. I see, coming through your posts, your words, your achievements, your actions a courageous humble not overly prideful bright young organized motivated willing to heed sound advice a bit emotionally distraught perhaps selling himself short perhaps spreading himself a little too thin young man who has recently allowed his self esteem to take a hit perhaps taking a wrong or incomplete perspective of events and is seeking encouragement and some guidance. IMHO, I find it hard to accept that a severely depressed individual could/would act this way and I really don't care what some "professional" diagnosed you with. I'm not saying in your particular case you should but don't be afraid to disagree with the "professionals." Lots of "professionals" can also be professionally wrong! I also find it hard to accept that a severely depressed individual could go to college, attain his college degree, hold down a job, be President of his college's Forestry Club, be on several planning committees, gain meaningful employment in his chosen field of study, plan for and go on a hike, have the courage to admit when things haven't gone exactly as desired, have the forethought to seek out assistance when not having all the answers to all life's challenges, race quads competitively in organized races, aspire to dreams/goals, plan for the attainment of those dreams/goals, and begin executing those plans. You are also juggling some(many?) of these things at the same time! IMHO, that's a mighty high functioning depressed individual who could do, organize, balance, and achieve all those things. Clinical depression and those traits/achievements together seem like an oxymoron. If all individuals were so sick, depressed, and dysfunctional as you've been led to believe you are and still do/achieve all these things it would be a better society. I'm not trying to blow smoke up your back side or just give you a little rah rah just go for it just go hike and all your troubles will suddenly disappear pep talk either! That's a realistic assessment of what I see in you and who you are. Maybe I'm wrong about some things with you but what I'm seeing isn't meshing with the psychiatric diagnosis and your OVER ALL behavior. Just not seeing it.

You are like someone who is having money issues and doesn't know he has $1,000,000 in the bank and is having an issue about not knowing where to sign his name on the check to access his money! Don't sell yourself short! Look at what it says at the end of your posts - "TRANSCEND the BULL$HIT" That's what you got to do. You already know some of what pushes your buttons positively. You already know some of what empowers you! - being outside in the sunshine, perhaps working in your field of study(like cutting down Honeysuckle OUTSIDE), playing with your dog, tinkering with your quad, talking with your brother, seeing the bigger picture, having meaningful dreams/goals, attaining goals, being physically and mentally active(not being a couch potato), etc. Find more of those empowering buttons to push. Seems like you are an eagle with the ability to fly high when you are settling for someone else's opinion that you are a snake only able to crawl around on your belly and that's where you should stay. Heal up the damaged wing and Go Soar. Fly high. Leave the ground to the snakes. Eagles soar to places snakes do not. Eagles also eat snakes.

Hey, it's a 15 round fight. You got knocked down in the second round, NOT knocked out. GET UP! It's a long fight. Just don't let your opponent slip that same punch again. Learn from being knocked down. Even champions get hit with a hard jab. Go on to win it. It's what champions do.

Tree Nerd
03-26-2013, 08:29
^^^^that definitely puts things in perspective.

Tree Nerd
03-27-2013, 23:01
I wanted to talk all of you that posted on here or messaged me! Your stories, words of wisdom, enlightenment, encouragement, etc. really helped me get out of the funk I was in.

Dogwood
03-28-2013, 01:32
Make it a way of life for yourself. YOU, apply to your life what others and myself have said. Transcend the BS. Hope to see you on the trail. Would like to talk to you about forestry and trees. All my Best DDubs.

earplug94
07-31-2013, 10:00
Just get on the trail. It will work it's magic on you and you will be good to go. You will look back on this and say, "Man- what was I thinking". :)