I’ve been doing an extensive amount of psychology work recently researching the varying perspectives on debates from aggression to gender. It sparked a thought when I realized me and a new friend of mine, Katelyn, both place mental health and illness meanings to mountains. It made me consider the vast amount of people that exist in this world and how every single person sees something different even when looking at the same thing.
How our past, our mood, and our knowledge shapes how we see the things around us and what meanings we attach to them.
It was at that moment this blog post was born, a collaboration exploring the meanings two people attach to six words. It’s gonna get deep.
But first, a little bit about Kate…
I’m a sophomore at James Madison University studying writing, rhetoric and technical communication. I first started my blog in hopes of having a space for my writing. This lead to finding my niche and audience. I have slowly built up my website and now run three! I frequently post about college life, lifestyle topics, and mainly mental health.
My mission is to eliminate the loneliness associated with mental illness because no matter how your brain may work, no one should feel alone.
Katelyn and I decided to start with the two words, ‘mountains’ and ‘tomorrow’. Words that go beyond concepts and things for us and have become our brands, even our identity to some people.
Kate: This is my absolute favorite word, I even have a mountain tattoo on my right wrist. Mountains have always meant obstacles or unchangeable circumstances. Moving mountains is doing the impossible, changing your situation to fit what you want in life.
Me: Mountains to me are infinite, they are reflective of life, filled with peaks and troughs, and multiple summits with equally wonderful views. I think life is a process of a lot of mountain climbing. Tiring, but beautiful. A mountain range is what our lives look like to me, with completely different views depending on where you stood and where you are looking.
Kate: Every day is a new day. Tomorrow holds new opportunities and can change your life. It’s a word of hope.
Me: Today Tomorrow Forever Ella was a late-night thought, but tomorrow has grown to mean so much to me. It is as kate said a word of hope. However, not only that it signifies that the sun shall rise again and that no matter how bad your day may feel there is always tomorrow. Each day shall only ever have 24 hours.
Kate: Illness makes it seem as if it’s like the flu. I think there needs to be a new word, like a mental specialty. So when I talk about it I will be able to tell others I specialize in anxiety mentally. Doesn’t that sound better?
Me: Mental Illness to me is a word that’s understanding still lacks and that stigma is still attached to. We have mostly adapted to mental health as a universal factor of being human, however, mental illness hasn’t had such success just yet. Mental illness to me is a part of me, I suffer from anxiety, and it is an illness. It is a part of me just like diabetes is others, something I must treat and adapt my lifestyle around to remain healthy. And quite frankly I don’t think it needs the ‘mental’, it’s just an illness?
Kate: I used to HATE the word anxiety, but now it’s almost like a friend to me. That seems so weird to say. It’s a permanent part of who I am and I’m learning to love myself. I need to love all parts of myself and that means the anxious parts. If I didn’t have anxiety I probably wouldn’t be half as cool as I am now.
Me: Anxiety is a spectrum to me, this has become evidently clear as I have lived on many parts of the spectrum some functional, others not. Anxiety to me means many things, it is a part of my identity, but what it truly is for me right now, is sadly home. Anxiety is where I exist right now, very little Ella is getting through. It is my monster and sometimes it is huge, sometimes it fits in my pocket, but no matter what it looks like, it is always with me, somewhere.
Kate: Recovery is a sense of false hope. My mental illnesses are permanent. I can use coping skills and use tools to help myself, but they will always be there. I will never recover from this, I just learned to live with it.
Me: Recovery was a hard thing for me to process once I began therapy, I realized I would never truly recover and let go of my mental illness. But I also realized that I wouldn’t always be at war with it, that with therapy and with work I could become the dictator of my life and that then, even if I wasn’t recovered, it wouldn’t matter. I don’t need to recover, I don’t want recovery, I want choice and control, and I can still have that with anxiety in my pocket.
Kate: Happiness is the end goal right? That’s what I used to think, but it actually is a part of the journey. It’s not the destination. Realizing that I am able to be happy every day with the help of medication and therapy was revolutionary for me. Happiness is attainable no matter how hard it may seem.
Me: Kate picked this word, and I didn’t know what to say at first. Happiness to me is those moments when you know you are doing what you should be doing. Those moments of purity, when you cannot fault a single thing. Which brings me to say happiness is not a constant, we will never always be happy, nor always be sad. Happiness like the moments of peace and calm when you meditate is a passing emotion. A feeling to be enjoyed and treasured but not to expect constantly. I believe that happiness is always attainable, but it is not attainable always… figure that one out.
That is 2 girls, 6 words, and 12 meanings.
What meanings do you attach to one or all of these words?
Do we have any similar meanings?
What word means the most to you in your life?
AND… Before you go make sure to check out Katelyn’s post with me by clicking here and all of her socials linked below too. Her blog post discusses social media and mental health…
Instagram – @katesmovingmountains
Twitter – @shesmvingmtns
Facebook – @ShesMovingMountainsBlog
Today Tomorrow Forever,