This past weekend I did something new: I went snowshoeing with my best friend, Simon.
If you’re familiar with my story, you understand that I slipped on a patch of ice on an inclined driveway, landing directly on my skull. Needless to say, I have some PTSD and emotional trauma that I am still working through in regards to snow/ice and inclined surfaces (even dry, or inside).
Simon called and asked if I would go with him and some friends to the trails at a local state park. It was a gorgeous day and I knew it would be beautiful and perfect, but I was SO nervous. He knew this and coaxed me a little bit, telling me I needed to get out of the house (which was true!)
When we first got there, one of the friends suggested we put our snowshoes on at the bottom of the this small hill….. why they thought that would be a good idea I have no clue. As we walked down this hill my feet kept slipping and sliding underneath me and I could feel panic setting in. I hate having anxiety in public and do my best to keep it in check.
Simon immediately knew my slipping and sliding was going to be an issue and told me to stop and stand by the tree while he put the snowshoes on me (in the middle of the hill). Once he had secured the shoes on me, he assured me I would no longer slip or slide.
I was skeptical, but took a few baby steps testing them out. and…. it was AMAZING! I felt completely safe and secure with these snowshoes strapped to my boots!
We walked for about two hours (and about 7000 steps!) and had an wonderful time! The weather was perfect, the sky was bright blue against the white snow, and we could walk in solitude with nature… the only sound was the whooshing of our snowshoes and the birds ca-cawing.
This little adventure was a HUGE milestone for me. Not only did I get out of the house and walk down some slippery, snowy inclines, but it was also one of my first real physical activities. Sure i’ve been doing yoga and weight lifting, but this was good ol’ fashioned cardio work! And it felt GREAT!
I’m sure I am not completely over my fears and anxieties, but it sure did feel good to face them, and get some quality time with friends while I was at it!
Amy Zellmer is an advocate for TBI awareness and recently published her first book “Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal“. She currently has a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to speak in Washington DC for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.