Mount Everest, Nepal

Who is your human anchor?

I am at home, and today is my last day of quarantine. All my Covid tests have been negative. I am still feeling tired – sleeping during the day comes easily these days, as if my body wants to shut off my brain, as it drifts to the “what if’s. Not being able to leave the house also has taken a toll in my self-esteem and mental health. I feel like I am a criminal.

I consulted with my family Dr and the question was raised if I had been suffering from altitude sickness, and no one caught it. But I can’t live in the “what if”.

My stomach still hurts when I eat, so not completely healed. I have slowly introduced it to coffee again – even though I can’t finish a full cup. I had taken so many of the Starbucks instant coffee because I thought I would drink it in Everest. I did leave it for the rest of the team though!

Since I left Everest one other team member was evacuated from camp 2, because of altitude sickness. He too has returned home to the US.

It has been reported that Nepal has issued 408 climbing permits this season, which is a record high number of permits since permits have been issued to climb Everest, I need to believe that my getting sick was a blessing. We had opted to switch to the South side because this season originally promised to be one of the lowest number of people climbing and it would afford us the luxury of enjoying the mountain. Crowds in 2019 lead to fatalities and the now famous photos of the line up to the summit of hundreds of climbers – all on oxygen.

The Power of Nature

Climbing mountains, or even hills, is therapeutic, liberating, does wonders for your mental health and its great exercise. Reaching the Summit of any peak is breath-taking. The views it can afford you are for ever sketched in your mind. But climbing to reach the summit in a line-up around the ‘block’ loses its appeal, its purpose. In my humble opinion. After so much waiting in line, when you reach the top, will you think it was worth it? I know that when I climbed Elbrus in Russian, the high winds and the crowds made it anti-climactic for me. I barely had time to take a photo, when I had to leave the summit space. I still want to climb Everest – on the North side of course!

But all these questions play on my mind.

But for now, I am trying to deal with being tired, sick and springing out of house jail from the Public Health wardens! LOL

Being alone when you are sick, sad, and hurt is scary. Even when one commits a crime, our society does not isolate us. Covid has brought such an enormous harm on our mental health, that I wonder if we can recuperate one day. Those of us that already suffer from a Mental Health disorder, are more than ever neglected. May is #MentalHealth month, and it’s ironic how even now that we are so #CaseNumbers focused, we cannot start showing all the numbers of all of us affected by this disease.

If we had those numbers as well, how staggering would they be? What would be the daily death toll of those of us that have decided to give up? And would we rally as a human race to do everything in our power to work around the clock for an antidote?

When we are left alone to think about all the ‘what if’s’, our demons come to torture us.

They torture me.

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