Wanderlust vs. Depression

We’ve all head the story of the two wolves living inside us; one is good, one is evil, and the one we feed will win. Have you ever thought about what your wolves are? For one person those wolves might be charity vs. greed. For another it might be compassion vs. revenge. Everybody has this inner battle, but nobody has the same battle, and your wolves will probably change throughout your life. Your charity might change to love, and your greed to hate.

Right now my wolves are wanderlust and depression. These two are mutually exclusive. Wanderlust is the love of seeing new places. Depression is sorrow and emptiness. You can’t love something when you are emotionally empty.

I recently read on the Osprey Packs Instagram about the death of David Xiao on Mount Sir Donald. In this post they recalled what David said would say if he could call himself at any point in in life. David said that he would call himself at 14 and tell himself that he will love skiing, and that he should go try it now. If given that power he would have wanted to start his journey into the natural world sooner. With only 12 years of adventures, at the age of 26, David Xiao did more than most people ever dream of.

My own phone call would have been in 2010, just a few months before my wedding, as I sat in my basement room contemplating leaving my miserable life behind me and moving to Montana. It was the end of a long day at work, and my fiance and I were in a rough patch. I would have told myself to do it. Pack up your clothes and leave. I didn’t leave, trading my dream of living in the mountains for the safer road of marrying somebody you don’t hate and trying to start a family. Now here I am, 10 years later, divorced, no family of my own, and a deep depression that makes me ashamed of the mountains in my dreams which I have failed to climb.

Nobody really enjoys struggle, not the struggle itself at least. We enjoy the challenge of improving our abilities, expanding our boundaries, and the mental strength we gain from the struggle, but take those away and you just get pain with no reward. Sometimes we get locked into that fight for so long we can’t tell we are getting stronger. All we can see is that pain. I’ve been there for longer than I care to think about.

My wanderlust started earlier than I can remember. It’s just always been there. Growing up it looked like this.

This is the image I would see every time we came home from church or town. Driving down this road, I would stare off at the distant hill, wondering what adventures were waiting there for me, and promising myself that I would go there one day. This year I finally decided it was time to fulfill that promise. I learned that the name of the hill is Master’s Hill, and that it is on private property. Now I wonder why it’s taken me so long to pursue those young dreams.

The answer to that is my depression which, as close as I can estimate, started around the age of 15. A lot of things came together to create this perfect storm which is culminating today into absolute apathy and emptiness. Darkness, as we know it, does not quite capture my emotion. We know darkness as really dark. My mind is closer to the complete absence of light. A single flame, miles away, and only visible intermittently as the cloudiness blows in and out is the only trace of hope I have. Bruce Lee famously said “When water enters jar it becomes the jar. When it enters a cup it becomes the cup. Be water.” I am the cup, without the water.

So where do I go from here? Where do you go from where you are? That’s the million dollar question isn’t it? My Audible library is full of books designed to answer that question, yet I’m no closer to answering it.

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