"Mental health is a tough subject for anyone to wrap their head around." - Fireside with Emily
My name is Emily Romero and I am 25 years old. I love to adventure and I have a passion for exploring the outdoors, mostly through hiking, running, and riding dirt bikes. I am a very soulful person and I love to help others build their dreams and passions. My dog Bear and I hit the trails almost daily, and do our best to explore this big world as much as we can. I love to share our adventures through photos on social media and I want to show others it is possible to get outside and experience no matter the situation. Sometimes getting over fear, or struggle takes one simple first step - getting outside into the fresh air.
Q.) How has mental health/illness impacted your life? I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time and I never knew how to handle it, so it led me down a very negative path. My family didn't quite understand how to handle it either, so I felt lost without support, leading me to dig an even bigger hole. Mental health is a tough subject for anyone to wrap their head around so I don't blame them, but it was through platforms like Endure, and some amazing understanding friends, that helped me find my way. I learned how to spot triggers, and what would make me feel better on a deeper level, rather than sticking a band-aid on the issue with bad habits or addictions. I was able to learn how to allow myself to feel all my emotions and understand them to help heal. I was also able to realize I didn't need to fit a certain image that social media and others made me think I had to in order to fit in. My journey with mental illness has led me to a life of adventure, understanding, and an even greater compassion for others. It has also introduced me to some truly amazing communities and friends. Q.) What are your positive outlets and how did you discover them?
My main outlets are running and riding dirt bikes. I started riding dirt bikes when I was 18. It took a lot to do that because it isn't really a "norm" for a girl to ride a motorcycle and I had to overcome a lot of fear to do so. But because I broke through that barrier I feel free, and wild, when I ride. A lot of times when you say you feel " wild" people take it it in a negative way, because wild means without control. But to me, being wild means to follow my gut, to feel free and not tied down anything negative. I am able to appreciate and feel the beautiful world around me, and appreciate the chaos in life. The only consistent thing in life is change, and when I can feel comfortable with that, everything feels balanced. I started running because I had an injury from riding my dirt bike and had to take a break. I could hit the same trails, solo, and control my speed like I can on a dirt bike. It just took a lot more effort. Q.) Do you think nature plays an important part in recovering from mental illnesses?
Yes!! I think nature plays a HUGE role in helping manage mental illness. It provides so much clarity, and a fresh perspective. It takes the chaos of life away and brings you back to the basics, showing you the beauty and simplicity of life, even when things change a lot. For me sometimes, things seem so overwhelming, but when I step outside I see this busy busy world in nature, but without the judgments, the expectations, the rules. It makes me realize that those things are just created by our society and don't truly have an impact on my life. Q.) If you had to create a "self care box" for yourself, what would be 3 things you'd put in it?
My running shoes - So I can hit the trails to maintain my health, my happiness, and enjoy the great big world around us. Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato - My go to "feel better" treat! Sometimes a little bit of a treat goes a long way. A cozy blanket - I'm a sucker for all things cozy. I love to snuggle up in a warm, oversized blanket!
Q.) How do you feel that social media is impacting people’s mental health? I think there are two sides. Personally, when I first started using social media it was super negative for my mental health because of the accounts I chose to follow. I compared myself to these "perfect lives" that I felt I couldn't live up to. I was frustrated at myself for not doing as good as others and not fitting in. But then I started to follow positive accounts, where people were honest and real and shared their struggles just as much as their successes. Since then it has had a positive impact because I feel supported, motivated, and connected. I also have been able to create connections with people similar to me. I think you just really need to make yourself aware of what accounts you are following and engaging in, and ask your self why and how they make you feel. That can help filter and keep social platforms as a positive tool. Q.) What is something that someone has said to you that has always stuck with you when overcoming hard times? Two quotes come to mind: "The only consistent thing in life is change so embrace it." "Turn your pain into purpose." Q.) What advice would you give someone that is struggling?
Make small goals. Get through the day and start over tomorrow. Time will always go on, which means one moment won't last forever. Also understand that it's ok to feel bad. We get mad at ourselves for being sad, or taking time to deal with emotion. But really its ok to have emotion. If you feel sad, tell yourself its ok to feel sad, its ok to feel that emotion, and its ok to be honest with the people around you.