Whilst I enjoy some music that is considered less than cool (I will not call them guilty pleasures as I’m not ashamed in my musical choices), I have never been particularly moved to listen to Miley Cyrus. Probably three and half years working at Claire’s Accessories in my late teenage years is partly to blame for this as Hannah Montana music and merchandise featured during every shift (and I did not find this the best of both worlds!) and yet, given the daily prompt today, I felt my memory tugging me back to that little jewellery shop and one song that used to irk me – The Climb by Miley Cyrus.
Having had a listen with fresh, twenty seven-year-old ears I feel more of an affinity with the lyrics. Here’s why:
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
You’ll never reach it
I often feel this way. To be promoted. To be successful. To be loved. It always seems like a dream, either that I’ve dreamt or I feel has been dreamt for me, and there is always that anxious voice in my brain telling me I won’t get there. I have been promoted at work, starting in September, and I constantly question whether or not I will get there or be vaguely successful at the role. I can envisage the future I want but the little pain in my chest questions my ability at every turn and whispers you’ll never reach it because you’re not normal, you can’t handle the pressure, you’re not good enough.
Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
And I often feel this way. Despite feeling very fortunate to have found someone who loves and supports me, despite having a successful career that I enjoy, despite having a wonderful family who listens and helps in every way they can, despite having friends who enjoy my company and want to spend time time with me…I often do feel lost. Unlike Miley, I don’t feel lost with no direction. I know the direction my life is moving in, it just move so quickly in that direction that I can’t catch my breath and this shakes the faith in myself. Can I cope with everything?
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
However, just as Miley’s song changes to a more positive note, my mind always resolves to focus on the good and feel thankful for the journey. Despite issues with depression and anxiety, I keep trying. I visit the doctor and discuss my mental health, I try new endeavours to help myself (this blog being one of those things), I busy myself to quiet my mind, I exercise to fill myself with happy hormones, I talk to friends and family…I push on.
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve conquered the mountain. I feel as if I am in charge and have reached the top – no more climbing. That little pain in my chest hasn’t bothered me for weeks on end and I can feel outside of myself again. I feel like me again, not constantly clutching my chest or randomly falling silent during conversation, or bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. I can breathe freely; I feel triumphant and happy.
But, there is always another mountain as I’m walking, like everyone, through the mountain range of life. Seeing the next mountain makes that little pain in my chest reappear. All those tips and techniques I’ve learnt to cope have to become a regular part of my day again. Like climbing a mountain, I must ensure my pack is filled with everything I need and life becomes about survival again. I force myself up the steep incline, every muscle hurting and my brain moaning to just stop, sit on the sofa under a blanket and call in sick. But I don’t. Sometimes the mountain is easier than others I’ve climbed or will climb. Sometimes the incline of the mountain levels out quickly and I’m relieved to have moved so quickly to safety. And sometimes the mountain takes much longer to climb. It is a sheer cliff covered in slick rocks that I can’t grip and make me fall back. Sometimes there are new obstacles on the mountain that I haven’t faced before that cause me to experience my anxiety in a new physical symptom.
Eventually, I make it. The climb is always worth it as the sense of accomplishment and knowledge gained helps during the next climb. But, what makes the uphill battle manageable is not just my resolve that I will be okay, but the knowledge that despite everything, my loved ones will be there to encourage me to keep climbing upwards.