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GUEST POST: The Healing Power of Hiking by Kieran James Cunningham

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Rachel Carson
I made a promise to myself: to give life one year to prove it could be something other than the s**tshow that had led me to my current whereabouts.
“I made a promise to myself: to give life one year to prove it could be something other than the s**tshow that had led me to my current whereabouts.”

Kieran James Cunningham is a climber, mountaineer and writer for My Open Country based in the Italian Alps. He’s climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness. He climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, has fun always. As someone living with bipolar disorder, he is passionate about the mental health benefits of time spent in nature.


September 2006

I was home visiting my parents in Scotland and due to return to work the next day after a month of sick leave.

I’d gotten out of my second self-induced coma in as many years a few days previously. All signs seemed to point towards the fact that my suitability for existence on this earth had run its course.

That night I made my way to the shed at the bottom of my parents’ garden, my grandfather’s Smith and Wesson revolver in hand, resolved to finish off the job I hadn’t quite been able to accomplish with a cocktail of pharmaceuticals.  

The world, however, looks a whole lot different with a gun in your mouth.