Rope climbing certification day at Steepworld Climbing and Fitness


Well, it’s here.  Certification day for rope climbing at the new climbing gym, Steepworld Climbing and Fitness, for Founding Members only.  That’s to try to thin out the traffic as far as rope certifications go as they open in the next few days.  Maybe I’m just not awake enough to be anxious right now at 0539 hrs, but I’m not.  I’m calm and have a sense of resolution to the problem of test anxiety, which plagued me hard-core all day yesterday.  Maybe I’m just tired?  Stress is a huge consumer of energy, so maybe fatigue has set in and I’m worn out!  I don’t feel sick this morning, whereas I had GI distress all day yesterday from the anxiety.  I don’t feel…anything.  For a person with PTSD like mine, that numbness can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.  The pros of being numb and unable to feel are that you are, well, unable to feel.  That means that you can deal with the crisis at hand and think about it and feel it if you must later, after the fact.  The cons of this type of numbness are the same – you can’t feel anything.  Sometimes you need to feel (despite the pain, I’d rather feel than be numb, but I’m not in control of that), but for me, with my PTSD, it serves a purpose for me to be able to be numb and get the job done, then feel later.  It kept me alive as a machine-gunner in Kuwait.  Now that I’m not suicidal every day of my life anymore, I’m thankful for that – that I’m alive, I mean.

It’s funny to me when people ask me in a shocked semi-panic, “You CLIMB to relax?!”  Yes.  Climbing is so relaxing compared to the stress I normally feel from the PTSD.  Climbing is my go-to, number-one act of choice for relieving stress, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.  As long as I can climb, I can feel happiness, joy, and purpose in my life – a life I used to desperately want to end.  That pesky test anxiety dogs me, though.  I need these rope climbing certifications for several reasons – route setting, climbing in general, a shot at a paid membership (through route setting), a USA Climbing Level 1 Route Setting Certification opportunity down the road, getting in shape, expanding my skill set – and the test anxiety was threatening to ruin all that yesterday.  This morning, I’m feeling the effects of the numbness.  It’s not that I don’t care – I do, very much so.  I can’t feel that, though, or anything else, for that matter.  It’s going to take climbing to restore the emotional feeling ability to my system.  I get to climb today, even though it’s for these certifications.  It’s climbing.  Climbing.  Yes, that one thing I need in my life to feel joy and happiness and purpose.  There are no exclamation points because I can’t feel these things right now.  I can only remember and intellectually tell myself that climbing results in joy, happiness, and purpose, and that I love it.  This gym transition period has been a tough one.  Not being able to climb because of the weather outside stopped me cold as far as maintaining what was left of my routine and has really affected me heavily.

If the test anxiety wants to resurface later today when it gets closer to time to get these certifications done, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with because it’s going to have to overcome the numbness.  If it can do that, then I’m not even going to be able to tell anybody my name, much less go inside and be around people or put my harness on.  This is where the panic attack is a real possibility.  I don’t foresee that right now, but who does???  Nobody plans these things.  I’m going to have to trust that I know what I’m doing and just do it.  It’ll go how it goes, and if I have to get certified another day, then that’s what will have to happen.  I can’t control these things.  I’m getting better at managing my PTSD, but as you can see, it gets very complex in a hurry, and overwhelming in a heartbeat.  I got these certifications at the climbing gym in Bozeman, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to get these certifications here at the climbing gym that I hail from.  Let’s see what happens.  I’ll be wearing my helmet.  Updates pending…

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