August 18, 2020 Storytelling 0
View of Whiteface Mountain from Henry's Woods in Lake Placid, NY

And My Journey Toward Mental Health and Happiness

There’s nothing more beautiful than an Adirondack Summer.

I grew up in the Adirondacks. I was born at the hospital in Saranac Lake during Winter Carnival. My parents took me home to their house in Wilmington. I grew up and went to Lake Placid High school. I’m an Adirondack girl through and through.

That being said, I’ve been living in Florida for the last four and a half years. It’s hot. Not just hot, but melt the makeup off your face and forget about trying to straighten your curly hair because it’s a lost cause, kind of hot.

hair humidity Florida
What Florida summer heat does to straightened hair. AKA not impressed.

When everything started to lock down because of the covid-19 pandemic it was just too hot. I wasn’t leaving my house. I didn’t want to open the door to my small condo and walk the dog. You walked outside and lost half your body weight because you were instantly sweating. And with no reason to sweat like that, like brunch with friends or dates at the dog park, I just stayed inside. It started to eat away at me, impacting my mental health. I drew inward into a self hating depression.

I am insanely lucky. I have a wonderful, caring family. As soon as they realized that I was drowning in loneliness and isolation they told me to come home.

I managed to convince my company to let me work from New York and leave Florida (that’s a story for another day.) So I packed up my dog and my cat and all my equipment and hit the road.

cat harness car driving
Arya ready to hit the road. Have you ever traveled with a cat? I would not recommend it.

When I finally arrived at my parents house in the Adirondacks, I felt a weight off my shoulders. The air is so clean. All the trees are green and lush. Driving by the lakes and rivers, you can see just how clear they are. And the mountains. I had missed the mountains. Seeing the sharp peaks pierce the sky is a sight for sore eyes.

I realized I had somehow forgotten my roots. I had forgotten how amazing this place is. How healing it can be. The water is so cool on your skin and CLEAN. I have been in a lake or river almost every day since I have been here. You can’t take me near a body of water without me jumping in it.

girl dogs lake boat summer
Just chilling on the pontoon boat with the pups

We started going on Adventures. Dad got a Bennington Pontoon boat from Fogarty’s Lake Flower Marina this year. That’s easy access to get right out on the water. The fact that it’s in the same parking lot as Mountain Mist where you can get a soft serve twist with rainbow sprinkles is not something to scoff about. I started feeling more like myself.

I’ve managed to be here now for 7 weeks. It’s incredible. And it’s changed my perspective on what makes me happy. I realized I NEED to be outside.

View from Baker Mountain

I have started meeting a friend once a week to walk around Moody Pond before work. My dad and I hiked Baker Mountain the next day and then this weekend we went on a 7 mile paddle on Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam. Dad arranged it so I was able to borrow a single Hornbeck canoe from one of his friends. It’s like being in a kayak! So stable and beautiful.

Paddle on Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam

I have been seeing a counselor. I am working with a doctor to find the right medication. This pandemic made me confront the things I had been suppressing for YEARS. One thing after another that had been piling up until the weight of it was crushing me.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. My confidence has returned. My inner hustler is fired up. I’m ready to confront anything head on.

Here’s to those that feel like they are drowning. I’m here for you. I understand. Just know you are not alone and you can get through this. You are the most important thing. Take care of yourself.

P.S. For those wondering, yes I did quarantine myself as soon as I got to New York. For two weeks I lived upstairs and wore a mask in the house so as not to expose my parents or those in the community. I had a Covid and antibody test done. Both were negative.

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