I have a strong connection to Nepal because to me, it represents who I was pre diagnoses and who I am after, a mental health advocate, an inspirational speaker and a PTSD survivor.
The first time I undertook the awesome Nepalese trek, the Annapurna Circuit was in 2012. I was undiagnosed, naïve to mental health and a few months away from being having a catastrophic loss of self.
Despite being surrounded by the majestic Himalayas, powerful raging rivers and incredible people, I suffered my first massive anxiety attack where I thought I was going to die. I immediately ceased the trek at Yak Kharka and returned home.
I failed to achieve what I set out to do.
Seven years later, I returned to Nepal, diagnosed, educated, determined and I took in the Himalayas, the rivers, the streams, the waterfalls, the smells, the sights, the food and the people. I practiced mindfulness and meditated my way to successfully completing the circuit.
On this occasion, the rivers were not raging as they were in 2012 due to the ice melting prior to my arrival. It was calmer, like me and I was able to lay my 2012 demons to bed.