Wyo4News Switchbacks: Never saddle a camel

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By Ryan
Wyo4News feature writer

I discovered an interesting piece of information this last week. Camels and horses are not the same. 

I know you are shocked. Aside from saddling a camel, which seems to be a larger undertaking than I care to tackle. (Pun intended.) Camels apparently have a weakness that can cause a traveler real trouble.

Horses tire gradually. The state of a horse is apparent. You can see that they are getting into trouble and making adjustments. However, with camels, not only do they spit, which seems rude, but they also give no warning when they are beyond their limits. They can travel for extended periods. But, when they are finally exhausted, they stop without warning. They are just done. Even if you are only a short distance from relief or success.

People are a lot like camels, and I don’t mean they spit.

We tend to keep going. We face each new problem in stride. Our life becomes a rhythm of the next thing. The next hill, job, valley, discouragement, disappointment, and setback, become our life. And we believe we are fine. After all, it’s just one more thing. But…

One final straw, it could be the slightest thing, and BAM, we are done. We break down, walk out, quit, or just snap.

I’m telling you this for a reason. I believe we are all much closer to “done” than we realize.

There are many signs of trauma that lead to a diagnosis of PTSD. Fatigue, edginess, insomnia, changed sleeping patterns, vague body aches, overwhelming fear, detachment, and depression are a few.

These are my thoughts on our current state as a community. We spent our years prior to 2020 running ourselves to exhaustion. Then, in 2020 and 2021, we endured an abusive relationship. We suffered rough treatment from our jobs, our government, our friends, and even our families. Everyone was upset, and we didn’t handle it well. Then in 2023, we got a little bit of breathing room. We tried to pretend like everything was okay, but we weren’t okay. You don’t walk out of abuse and pretend as if nothing happened without repercussions.

So now, we are all living with varying degrees of post-traumatic stress. (Please don’t misunderstand. I am in no way trying to minimize the PTSD suffered by so many. Our soldiers, first responders, domestic abuse survivors, and many others need our help.) 

I believe we are in survival mode but don’t realize it. We need help. If you have often felt like you are close to your breaking point, it’s because you are. What can you do?

When we are in survival mode, it is often referred to as “fight or flight.” We keep doing the next thing, and when we catch a break, we escape. We NetFlix and chill, or game, and usually hide from the world and call it “rest” or “vegging.” But it is not rest; it is anesthesia. It doesn’t give us life; it just lets us stop fighting.

The things that do heal and nurture us are things that we invest in. For example, exercise gives us life. A simple walk or a power workout at the gym gives us life and fuels us. A gathering with friends, playing games, laughing, and enjoying company energizes us. Learning something new and enjoyable. Take up a hobby, gardening, or a foreign language to strengthen your inner world. Practice your faith, go to church, sing, and serve others. These are all ways we reinforce our hearts. 

But, more and more, we do not have the energy for these things. Because we have suffered trauma, and we must acknowledge that. We need to give ourselves permission to admit that we are not okay. Then we can begin the slow and steady trudge toward being okay. That journey is one step at a time, making better choices. Choose life-giving activities over mind-numbing nothingness, and you will start to feel better.

No More Camels for Me,

Ryan.