I acquired the set of quickdraws that I used for my first lead climb from my friend and climbing buddy AJ yesterday.  I paid him for them, of course, and we talked for a while to catch up since it had been so long since we’d had time to do that.

These quickdraws have sentimental as well as utilitarian value to me.  AJ taught me how to climb outdoors.  I did my first lead climb with these quickdraws, as stated above, and subsequently had my first inverted lead fall.  Yes, all the same climb…  Those quickdraws hold memories for me, and right now, I need those great memories.  I just got my cast off yesterday and am in a splint trying to regain some mobility in my hand and wrist so that I can eventually return to climbing.  I need things like that to remind me that, yes, things go wrong, but I can pick myself up and dust myself off, laugh about it if appropriate, and keep climbing.

That is key – KEEP CLIMBING!  Sometimes we need help after a setback.  I know I do.  This injury has been a major setback in my climbing.  First of all, I haven’t been able to climb in two and a half months, whereas I was climbing every day before that and had been for almost three years!  Going from 100 mph to a complete and jolting halt in a split second on that front was incredibly difficult for me.  Not only was I physically injured, but I was and am mentally injured from it.  I ended up in the psych ward for the first time in over three years because I couldn’t do my therapy, which is climbing.  Two admissions to the psych ward in the same week, and a total of seven days inside the psych ward.  My life was over – what a failure, I thought.  But I didn’t quit.  I told my psychiatrist what was going on and I didn’t quit by committing suicide or harming myself or anything like that.  I sought help, as hard as that was, and yes, it landed me the last place I wanted to be.  There were some unique difficulties with that, even, that made it that much worse in my mind.  I still didn’t quit.  And yesterday made me glad that I hadn’t.

Yesterday was one of the best days ever!  I got my cast off, found out that a true miracle of healing had occurred in my wrist against all odds and hope itself, got to tell my psychiatrist that it had healed, got to tell my climbing challenge team that I won’t have to have surgery, bought the quickdraws that hold so many memories from my friend, and then my doctor called me to tell me that another dear friend of mine who was on the brink of death and extremely ill is now home!  What a day, and it was the shortest day of the year – the Winter Solstice!  Wow.

This morning, I woke up reeling from what had happened yesterday, and the hope that all of that promises me for my climbing future and my management of the PTSD that rages in my head constantly.  Climbing takes that rage and calms it.  I pick up the quickdraws and remember the great times in 2017 – my summer of outdoor climbing galore – with my climbing buddies.  Where are we now?  We’ve all got challenges we’re facing right now, and they’re hard ones.  We’ll all climb together again, though.

The moral of the story here is JUST KEEP CLIMBING!  I’ve been going to the climbing gym and visualizing myself climbing the problems and routes.  I’m climbing, even though I’m unable to physically at the moment.  It’s not quite as good as actually climbing the walls, but it will have me all practiced up for when I CAN climb again.  And I WILL CLIMB AGAIN!  GUARANTEED!  So, no matter what you passion and what challenges you’re facing in life right now, keep working the problem.  Don’t give up.  You have so much potential.  You’re a human being, after all, and the possibilities for you are endless!

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