Author Topic: Mental Health and Hiking  (Read 2140 times)

Toxicbunny

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #15 on: 16:53:51, 24/08/20 »
I believe a lot of it is a fad and those that are genuinely suffer with mental health are not taking serious due to this.  An example is when celebrities claim to suffer Anxiety. Sorry but they would not be able to get on stage or in front of a crowd or camera if they suffered anxiety. A member of my family suffers anxiety and can't go out the door and is on medication under MH for it but it does not help.  I think maybe these celebs should say they suffer from nervousness and start using different terms.
Its the same now with people saying they are vunerable during covid. If they are vunerable they would have recieved a shielding letter saying so. The reason I say this is a woman was saying she was vunerable due to asthma. I said have you a letter from GP saying you are vunerable shielded. Her answer was no the asthma not classed as serious enough.
There are a lot of narcissistic people about flippantly self diagnosing which has a detrimental affect on those genuinely ill.


Mel

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #16 on: 18:45:09, 24/08/20 »
Perhaps conditions such as anxiety and depression should be re-branded an “emotional health issue”.
 
Yes, going out for a walk may help for a while, as may pill-popping.  But there’s a high chance that’s just papering over the cracks and you’ll still feel as kak on the inside when you’re not walking or stop taking the pills, etc. … because you’re avoiding dealing with the root cause.
 
The hardest part is admitting it (to yourself) and then asking for help. 
 
I think of a “mental health issue” as something that is hard-wired wrong in the brain and can only ever be controlled by medication.  It is, in effect, a lifelong condition that yes, you can learn about and understand and even talk through the impact of it on your life and learn to live with it, but it will never be cured and may re-occur if you stop taking the medication which controls it.
 
Unfortunately though, it’s all lumped under the catch-all of “mental health” which still has a stigma attached to it, despite the current mental health awareness campaign.
 
If someone is struggling with something and it is having a long-term impact on their life or affecting other areas of their life, then it doesn’t matter what’s causing it – it needs dealing with.  Plucking up the courage to do that is possibly a bigger issue than the issue itself.
 
If you have never suffered with anxiety or depression then thank your lucky stars that you’ll never understand just how soul-destroying and negatively life altering or restricting it can be....until it happens to you.
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gunwharfman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #17 on: 20:12:01, 24/08/20 »
'Chemical imbalance' prompted me to remember a Psychiatrist I had to deal with in the late 70s. He always wore leather gloves when at work and would NEVER touch a patient. If I took one of my clients to see him he would direct me like a conductor, to prod or poke the patient, usually if the mentally ill individual complained of a physical illness as well. He would stare intently into the patients eyes to see if he winced as I poked him. The memory of his office is still vivid in my mind, an old Victorian building, really dark oak paneling in his office and lots of shelves. The normality of hospital life was a bit different then.

For those who may remember them, there were rows of the old fashioned large glass sweet jars on the shelves and each one was filled with a clear chemical (to pickle) and each jar had thin brain slices of one patient in them, name date of birth and so on on attached. He never told me personally but other staff told me that he was of that school of thought that all psychiatric illness had physical causation.

The famous day was when one of my clients and an inpatient mate 'stole' his Porshe and drove it up the M1 until the petrol ran out. My client then phoned me for them both to be collected. I volunteered to go in my car (A dark blue Opel Kadett, my very first brand new car) with another member of staff and for us it was an entertaining day out. The Porsche wasn't damaged in anyway, just no petrol, my client just parked it neatly in a motorway service station and someone collected it sometime later. We just drove the two adventurers back to London but on the way I treated us all to lunch, (I was reimbursed the next day) they were happy and so were we! It was one of those 'One flew over the Cuckoo's nest' moments of my life.

Birdman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #18 on: 20:30:36, 24/08/20 »
Yes, going out for a walk may help for a while, as may pill-popping.  But there’s a high chance that’s just papering over the cracks and you’ll still feel as kak on the inside when you’re not walking or stop taking the pills, etc. … because you’re avoiding dealing with the root cause.



It depends on the rootcause. The problem is really in your interpretation of the world around you (which is subjective and lives in the mind and can therefore be changed by you). Often anxiety and depression relate to fear about things that might happen in the future, while in reality much of that stuff will never happen or will not be half as bad as you think. Or they are related to things that happened in the past, which of course cannot be changed anymore and therefore pointless to worry about. Apart from learning to see these thoughts for what they are (just thoughts), part of the solution can also be to focus more on the here and now, because the present is the only thing that is real. And walking is a great help to promote that. If you master that, it is more than just papering over the cracks. It is changing how you see your place in the world, with all related emotional health benefits. :)


The interesting thing about CBT, where they teach you these things, is that they are actually derived from Stoicism, a Greek philosophy from the 3rd century BC, which was especially very influential in ancient Rome in the 1st and 2nd century AD. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is one of its main philosophers and his book Meditations is one of the most important Stoic writings, along with Discourses from the Greek born philosopher Epictetus who was cripple and born a slave. There you have both sides of the spectrum. Just when you thought this is all modern faff... :)
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Birdman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #19 on: 20:32:33, 24/08/20 »
It was one of those 'One flew over the Cuckoo's nest' moments of my life.


This is exactly what I thought when In read your story!
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gunwharfman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #20 on: 20:33:14, 24/08/20 »
Sorry, I pressed the wrong button before finishing. The point I wanted to make was that I learned something important that day. It was when my client told me there was some advantage to being a mental health patient. He told me that not all mentally ill men and women were unhappy with their situation and he personally enjoyed the thrill of being the outrageous one, and with no comeback!

Stealing the Porsche for both of them was a lark and a fun day away from the monotony and drabness of the wards and of the problems of the people around them. Everyone, both staff and patients (except the Psychiatrist) thought that the 'lark' was ;) hilarious and I'm sure that some of us wished that we do such a madcap thing and get away with it.

For me, 'taking the Porshe' is a bit like hiking. It gives me a sense of freedom, I can get away from the 'rules' and 'respectibility' of my life and I like to think that I'm also doing somthing 'different' to what 'normal' people do. Of couse when hiking I am 'respectable' but it does feel different!


MkPotato

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #21 on: 21:10:41, 24/08/20 »
As a new member of the forum, I’d not want to step too far out of line, but there’s clearly a lot of grey area in these kind of discussions.


It’s wrong to dismiss the debilitating effects of PTSD and major depressive illnesses as an extension of the “look at me” culture of the internet age.


If getting out on the hills helps your mental state, then good effort to all. I know that it helps be get away from the stresses of modern life.


On the other hand, watching some spoilt celebrity crying on the doorstep of their multi million pound mansion because  they can’t go out, doesn’t quite cut it to the same extent. (Although there are clearly some very fragile personalities who crave fame/adulation, and are never going to cope well with bumps in the road).

gunwharfman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #22 on: 09:47:01, 25/08/20 »
A certain Mr. D. Trump springs to mind!

Dread

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #23 on: 10:29:07, 25/08/20 »
I see it like this. I've got 'bad' knees. I say that because they hurt often, they are sometimes debilitating and often on my mind. I've never seen a doctor about it, I just accept it. It's a health problem to me but no one else. If I went to the doc I might get some painkillers, I might get put on the list for a new knee, I don't know. I'll go if it gets really bad otherwise I cope. Moaning about it is my way of coping!


Mental health is the same. People with poor mental health can choose to carry on or to get a diagnosis. But whatever they do, if they feel it, and it affects them negatively it's a health problem.

gunwharfman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #24 on: 10:52:15, 25/08/20 »
Its all very confusing, but from our point of view, knowing what we know, is it likely that getting out and about and hiking, cycling and running, for example, might help some people in some way to cope with their problems. I personally believe so, but I equally believe that it's not a cure either. So many people, when faced with 'their issues' just sit around and descend into ever-decreasing mind circles, that doesn't help I'm sure. Better in my view to feel bad, sad and be sorry for oneself 'up a mountain' than to do it indoors! Physical illness like knees, for example, need to be tacked differently but equally, all sorts of long term medical problems can also drag one down psychologically. That I believe was the lesson I learned when diagnosed with cancer, if a treatment or a sugery is on offer, take it! In my case it worked, (it may not do so with everyone) so I've had five years of normal health again. And I can keep testing myself as well, thats one of the reasons I decided to run 100 runs in 100 days recently. It made me realise that I'm still alive both physically and mentally and its a real bonus to me knowing that I am still motivated to want to live. It also made me aware and confirmed my own view of myself that on balance I have an optomistic personality and prefer to look forward rather than dwell on how I felt yesterday or feel today. Tomorrow is always more important to me.

Jac

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #25 on: 11:07:34, 25/08/20 »
.......... If I went to the doc I might get some painkillers, I might get put on the list for a new knee, I don't know. I'll go if it gets really bad otherwise I cope.


In this area the waiting time after being put on the list can be so long that it is a good idea to start the process with the doc before the problem seriously impacts on your life.

So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

ninthace

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #26 on: 11:32:40, 25/08/20 »
I see it like this. I've got 'bad' knees. I say that because they hurt often, they are sometimes debilitating and often on my mind. I've never seen a doctor about it, I just accept it. It's a health problem to me but no one else. If I went to the doc I might get some painkillers, I might get put on the list for a new knee, I don't know. I'll go if it gets really bad otherwise I cope. Moaning about it is my way of coping!
Then again you may just get some useful advice - it can happen.  I went to my GP with a similar issue.  I got the reassurance that it was not serious to need an intervention, yet, and basically he thought I might be overdoing it having injured it previously.  I also got the standard RICEA advice but the useful bit was he told me how to use Ibuprofen gel properly.
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Birdman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #27 on: 17:00:29, 25/08/20 »
So many people, when faced with 'their issues' just sit around and descend into ever-decreasing mind circles, that doesn't help I'm sure. Better in my view to feel bad, sad and be sorry for oneself 'up a mountain' than to do it indoors!


In both depression and anxiety there are often positive feedback loops (self-enforcing mechanisms) in play. And breaking that destructive loop is really part of the solution. Even when the "rootcause" is still there (there may be genuine reasons for being sad or anxious), the problem is not being sad of worried (these are normal emotions) but that it's blown out of proportion by this self-enforcing death spiral. That is the part where your mind goes wrong.


Depressed people often lack the energy to do or enjoy anything, which makes them even more depressed. It's self-enforcing. Walking de-clutters the head, so this is a good experience. Also, they can feel good about the achievement of having walked a certain distance, climbed a hill, etc, and they experience that they can actually have a nice day in the here and now. Energy and some positivism comes back, which lowers the threshold to do another good positive, etc. This helps to break the destructive spiral, even though the "seed" of their depression still exists.


In anxiety there is the dreaded  "fear of fear" cycle in play. Because it is such a horrible experience, you start fearing the fear itself and before you know it, it gets triggered almost at random. But if you learn how to control these panic attacks, you don't need to fear the fear anymore and the whole thing melts away. I don't see walking to have any specific advantage in this case (it's a different beast), other than perhaps distracting your mind.
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Sarah Pitht

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #28 on: 09:20:20, 26/08/20 »
I think there is something about the way terminology is banded about. People may say they are depressed to mean a bit low - but not actually have a formal diagnosis. Similarly with anxiety - people usually mean worried. I have a friend who has been physically crippled by anxiety - unable to get out of bed, move, go to work, function etc. Several years on from the first acute episode it is still a fteaure of her life and although much more under control, can rear up/take over at any time.


The comment about having a bad leg got me thinking. My achilles has been [censored]/playing up since before Christmas and has worsened over the year such that running, even walking (hiking) were out of the window. When I realised it wasn't just 'going away' COVID struck and access to physios was off the menu. I found that the lack of ability to do the things I like, plus the fear that this was it - old age, physical infirmity were here to stay, fear that any activity was making it worse - and the frequent pain were the things that got me down. I wouldn't say I was depressed but my mood was definitely low. Had things continued - who knows where it might have led?


I'm seeing a physio and things have improved. I have been reassured that my achilles has got something amiss - it's not just in my head/inevitable due to ageing; I have been told I need to exercise sensibly to make my achilles heal - rest was not good for it. I still hobble first thing in the morning, but I can get out walking , if not yet the very high fell days. To be told I'm not on the scrapheap yet and I can do something has been lifting and then to get out walking has helped. Next back to the running....slowly!

gunwharfman

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Re: Mental Health and Hiking
« Reply #29 on: 10:55:54, 26/08/20 »
I started to read the papers online this morning and I easily counted 5 articles from journalists offering their advice about good mental health and how our mental health is deteriorating and how mental health problems are affecting our children. I'm sure if I made the effort I could add others and I haven't even made it to the Sun and Express yet! Not one article seems to be scoffing but I'll take a look at the Mail shortly.

I'm not suggesting the information therein is false or bad but it seems to tell me that 'mental health problems' are definately 'in' at the moment? Even one about Britney Spears! I assume that the editors must think that the subject has a 'pull' and will attract their readers and possibly bring in new ones as well?