Climbers Like Me: Chelle

Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?

Hi, I'm Chelle, 40 and proud mum to a beautiful teenage daughter. I love music, dancing, being

outside, big dreams and of course, climbing. I always say, I didn't choose climbing, climbing chose me.


I was diagnosed with depression in 2009, my mental health has seen some very dark days over

the years. I have always done my best to try and be strong and overcome my own obstacles, but it

wasn't until I found climbing that I started to really make progress that was lasting and didn't feel

like a mask for my issues, but more of a tool box that gave me what I needed to better understand

myself.


Finding climbing, as it has for many, has changed my life in so many ways and all for the positive.

It changed my perception of myself and what I was capable of. Helped me become fitter and

healthier, I even managed to reverse my type 2 diabetes. Becoming part of such a kick ass

community and meeting so many inspiring people all facing their own challenges and journeys has been mind blowing. I have made so many wonderful friends and met many strong amazing

women.


Climbing really took me by surprise because it was some of my absolute worst fears realised,

falling, heights, brutal injury, risk of death, haha, you know, the usual. But despite feeling the

fear, and understanding the consequences of these actions. I was drawn to it, to me it was a force

of nature I couldn't refuse. Once I felt that wall, not climbing wasn't an option, it went against

every fibre of my being, and still I really needed and wanted to do it, and be the best I could be. As

my climbing journey grows so do the life lessons and my passion for the sport. Even though I

severely question my choices regularly. Haha.


Since finding climbing I have been drawn to the big walls, I'm not sure why, but it's definitely the kind of climbing I naturally seem to be gravitating to. I have SO much to learn, and really hope

that in the next few years, I can get these skills down and spend some time on some big walls with

friends and have some real adventures.

Give us three words that you identify with most?

Resilient, Hippie, Dreamer


What brings you the most joy outdoors?

Just being there :) reconnecting with nature in some way. I find that no matter where you are

there is always natural beauty to be found. I don't spend nearly enough time in the wild and I

want to actively change that.


What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Tough question, I think managing my mental and physical health has been my biggest challenge

to date and I think it will continue to be, but every day changes and progress is made and it gets a

bit better and a little easier. I'm not a small woman, I'm curvy and pretty heavy. I have a mummy

tummy from a c-section. I have been suffering with chronic pain now for a good few years. It

started with tendonitis in my hands and arms, and now, well, everywhere hurts and takes its turn

in the spotlight. I have had treatments with physiotherapy, I have had CBT therapy and have

regular osteopathy sessions. Living with chronic pain has been hard, sometimes it feels scary to

move for fear of further injury, I can sleep and wake up and not be able to walk for 2 days.

Sometimes my ankle will swell in the evening for no reason at all, or I might twist my finger, or

wrist by picking up a glass or moving a chair. My body feels very sensitive and prone to pain. I

have no doubt that years of stress and anxiety have also contributed. So now as well as a journey

to try and climb big walls I am learning how to manage the pain and keep myself on the walls. It is

definitely a huge challenge, and now that I can accept it as something I have to live with, I'm

enjoying the education it is providing me and trying to not view it as a negative thing, but rather

an experience that will help me learn to get the best of what my body can do.


If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?

Never stop trying. There will always be obstacles, problems, life never seems to stop challenging

us. Some days we succeed, some we fail, failure is necessary and still teaches us something. Don't

let the times you fail be the reason you stop trying to succeed. Every step forward, no matter how

small, counts!


Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?

I think continuing to ask questions about what we can do and how we can better understand and

support each other as a community is really important. For as long as that willingness to listen

and understand each other is there, growth will follow.


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