I #hikeOctober because the outdoors is my happy place. I discovered in my early 20s that staying in one place was, at once; uncomfortable , yet what most of society expected – settling down. Add to that a multi-focal mental illness diagnosis and it spelled disaster.
From and even earlier age, I’ve always felt more calm outdoors. Nature has that healing quality that seems to be neglected as technology moves us indoors. It slows me. I thinking of hiking as a medicine. Forget to take it and my system is thrown into a dysfunctional state.
I connected with HFMH in 2013 and began planning my first hike with them, Mt Washington in 2014. How perfect! My two greatest needs met at one time. What I hadn’t expected to find was so many people deeply caring about this cause. I gained dear lifelong friends, who still knew nothing about my struggles, but accepted me.
Awareness and fund raising aside, the HFMH website is on my reading list. Educating yourself on an illness brings strength. Understanding is needed, especially when you “don’t look sick”. That is what the push to eliminate the stigma means to me.
Time restraints or financial issues may make it hard to join up with a big HFMH event. If they didn’t, I’d be at each event myself! Here’s the chance. Get out and #hikeOctober. Even if it’s a short walk to admire the changes in nature and take in the fresh air. It motivates me to keep thriving and I hope it inspires you to enjoy as well.
– Ally Lang
This article is part of our #hikeOctober campaign to shed light on the stigma of mental illness and to promote the benefits of hiking. 100% of the funds raised from this campaign will be dedicated to alleviating the suffering of mental illness and to wilderness trail conservancy. If you would like to learn more or add you voice to our I #hikeOctober… series, please contact us.