I recently read an article on why the trail to Mt. Everest gets so crowded. The author,of the BBC News, stated that overcrowding is due to a number of factors: weather, popularity of the climb, limited climbing season, and inexperienced climbers. Many climbers, no matter what their level of experience, pay for the experience with their lives.
When I saw the first photo that accompanied this piece (shown above – AFP PHOTO / PROJECT POSSIBLE), I thought it looked like a line of people rushing to the next fad, the next “summit”. How many times have we rushed to the next “best” thing – the latest diet, the latest parenting book or other “how to” book, the latest fashion, the latest food craze, etc. – only to find that it’s not what we thought it would be. Our friends may swear by Dr. So-and-so’s parenting book, or some beach diet, or a foul-tasting vegetable that’s supposed to be “good for you”. All one needs to do is watch the news to see the number of people jumping on the Whatever bandwagon and crowding the summit.
I am not one to “crowd the summit”. I may try something that’s faddish, but that’s because I’m curious – does this really work like they say it does? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve learned my lesson about investing my time and money in something faddish. I’m not so quick to do it again.
There are many divorce/trauma recovery groups, books and resources, how do you know which one is best?
1. Weather: A climber is looking for no wind, clear skies and plenty of light – ideal conditions. Sometimes, “ideal” is hard to find. However, if one ventures out and finds that conditions are less than ideal, one needs to turn around and go home. The same is true with a recovery group: the ideal recovery group is facilitated by someone who won’t let just one person hog the group’s time, the group is encouraging and not condescending, the group is sensitive to cultural boundaries, the group accepts that everyone is in a different place in their healing journey.
2. Popularity of the Climb: Summitting Mount Everest seems to be the ultimate life challenge for many people and the climb has become quite popular (as the attached photo shows). Be aware of popularity, though. For example, just because a self-help book has been on the New York Times’ Best Seller List for umpteen weeks doesn’t mean it is the right resource for you. Read the book reviews. Amazon lets one read at least the Table of Contents of a book and maybe the first couple of pages before one buys the book. Don’t be so quick to jump on the “This is the best self-help book ever!!” bandwagon. Be discerning. Wait until you can find the book at a used book store.
3. Limited Climbing Season: Climbers know that they only have so much time to reach the summit. The climbing season is not year round due factors like weather, amount of daylight, and surface stability, among others. Resources for your healing journey may only be available for a limited time. Take advantage of them while you can. For example, many employers offer an EAP or Employee Assistance Program. One aspect of the program allows a certain number of free visits to a mental health professional. This is an excellent resource to use if you cannot afford counseling. I have taken advantage of this resource and have found it to be incredibly helpful.
4. Inexperienced Climbers: Many climbers undergo rigorous training and preparation for the climb to the summit. They rely on the experience and knowledge of their expert guides and other more seasoned climbers to be able to summit successfully. Inexperienced climbers face certain death when they are not aware of climbing hazards, are poorly prepared, or have not taken the time to train for such a strenuous activity. Your healing journey can be severely thwarted by relying on an untrained individual to walk you through counseling. Have you experienced trauma or are you experiencing PTSD? Then see a counselor who is trained to deal with trauma and PTSD. Have you experienced sexual assault? Then see someone who is trained in dealing with sexual assault. There are specific resources available from someone who specially trained.
The summit can get crowded when everyone is on board with the latest fad or following the latest “guru”. Be discerning. Rely on experts in your healing journey. What seems right for someone else may not seem right for you. Do your homework. Stay tuned . . .