I was sitting in my truck, suffering an intense amount of anxiety. PTSD strikes again. My friend Lou had said to sit in my truck with some climbing gear and fiddle with it to help get over the anxiety. I had brought the heavy blue nylon North Face bag that contained the sport climbing gear that Lou himself had given me out to my truck with me. I sat in the driver’s seat, heartbeat racing, breathing heavily, but found myself still refusing to give up. I rolled down the truck windows to get some fresh air. Opening the bag of gear, I pulled out a Metolius sling and three carabiners, each a different brand, and all locking, but with three different types of locking mechanisms. A distinct smell came from the bag of gear–the smell of a hard day of climbing and many ascents, of sweat and dirt and grit… I commenced making a toprope anchor. First, I tied an overhand knot with a loop in one end of the sling, then did the same with the other end of the sling. Next, I put an auto-locking carabiner through each of the loops I had created at the ends, opposite and opposed to one another. Last, I twisted loop in one of the two strands in the middle section of the sling and attached my third carabiner–a screw-lock–through the sling’s middle section so that it was self-equalizing. I held it up, proud of my work, and noticed that my pulse had come down significantly and that I was no longer breathing hard at all. I had successfully calmed my anxiety by fiddling with my climbing gear. Lou was right–it works!
My mom came and got in the front passenger seat so that we could go for a drive. I showed her my anchor and explained it to her. She was somewhat impressed, although I don’t know how much she actually understood about what I told her of it. I put my climbing gear away and Mom and I went for a drive around the neighborhood. It was a successful drive and made me feel more confident about driving again. I gave her a hug, told her to drive safely and that I love her, and bade her farewell until tomorrow. I brought my special blue bag of climbing gear inside and sat down in the dark kitchen after getting a drink of water. For the first time in a week, I experienced some peace.