Amy Rose: Rip 'N' Run

Through a new content series called RIP ‘N’ RUN, Amy Rose shares her story of how she surrounds herself in nature to nurture her mental health — with words and images that describe her 72 hour nano trips through some of our country’s most beautiful landscapes and national parks. It’s a story of observing the power we have within ourselves to get better.

I started going to the trails to alleviate the static inside my brain in 2017. I had tried many things to calm the anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations I’ve lived with most of my life, but it’s when I’m surrounded by nature that I feel most calm, even during the times I am fearful, I feel there is hope.

Running through the trees, in the high desert, through the valleys and up the mountains brings a sense of relief that no pharmaceutical has ever granted me. It alleviates the pressure that builds inside my head and my heart. It releases the pain and confusion that is left behind in the wake of everyday life.

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Since I started running I’ve learned this is a common thread. It’s the story of many, yet not many tell it.

Running helps provide me with the space and clarity to process thoughts, information and come to a place of self-realization. Running trails allows me a safe place to release negativity, hurt, grief and confusion so that it will be absorbed into the earth and be transmuted into something beautiful, something of worth, something that will hopefully benefit others and help them to learn and grow too.

Any day I wake up and feel anxiety creep in before my feet hit the floor, I know it’s a run day. Running among the trees has become my salvation and my inspiration. The running goals I’ve set and achieved have given me the confidence to explore more, start my own business, and have inspired me to take more responsibility for caring for these places that have given me so much hope and joy.

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Submerging myself in nature reminds me that I can stay firmly planted while continuing to grow and change, to nurture myself and that which is around me, to persevere, adapt, and to be more forgiving and accepting of what comes my way.

I may not run the longest distances, the fastest paces or reach the highest peaks, but I do find a place of calm in the storm that’s inside my brain. I may not be the best running partner, as sometimes I like to stop and press my spine against a tree to feel the grief and negativity drain out of me and be replaced with the energetic flow only the trees and earth seem to provide me. I stop and listen to the birds sing, the trees sway and water move. Sometimes I shout “THANK YOU!” again and again, but that could also just be inside my head.

I persevere to save my life, to understand nature, the universe and myself better, to pause and listen, to leave tears and worries behind. I have learned to trust the trees, and in turn, myself.

The photos I take are in an effort to soothe my soul on the days I can’t run, the days I search inside myself for beauty and have trouble finding it. They act as gentle reminders of the freedom nature provides and offer a reprieve from the mental trappings I struggle with when stuck behind mental and physical walls. It’s all still right there, waiting until the next time I get to lace up my shoes and feel the earth beneath my feet again.

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Amy Rose is a hair stylist, trail runner, photographer, writer and mental health advocate. She has been using trail running and hiking as a tool to help battle depression and anxiety for over 5 years. Amy credits running and her discovery of nature as a muse as critical to assisting in her recovery and transformation. Her unique perspective is apparent in her writing and photography and shines a light on the pursuit of seeking alternative mental health and lifestyle choices. This year Amy’s run goal is to surpass the 1,075 miles she ran last year. Let’s see if she can do it!

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