Banner Photo: Mike Bachman
I met Idaho guide Patrick Condon last year when he helped organize a Riggins Guide Night. The Redside Foundation guide helpline is confidential and when Patrick approached me to offer a testimony, I'll admit I was surprised. This gregarious, well-liked guide had used Redside's guide helpline? Then I remembered - that is the point. My subconscious bias is the exact reason the Redside Foundation guide helpline exists. 1 in 5 Americans in a given year struggles with a mental health issue and Idaho guides are no exception. Being guides, we are great at putting our service to others first and our own needs second - but that's not always the best way to truly serve our co-workers, guests and community.
I hope you enjoy Patrick's words below. I know they made me proud to be an Idaho guide.
A few years ago I wasn't in a very healthy mental state.
Just writing those words, knowing that the public is going to see this causes some anxiety. Being the person I am and looking back on the assistance that I received and the support that I felt, I have to ask myself why I would be anxious to write a testimonial for the Redside Foundation. The answer that is right there immediately is the stigma associated with mental health. That and the perceived fragility there is in admitting that help is needed. There is a spirit of self-sustenance and independence that prevails in the guiding and outfitting community. It seems that the only time some of us accept help is when we are in a position that there is no other alternative. Being somewhat stubborn I didn't seek help until I had no other healthy choice.
Many loved ones and co-workers, some of those being one and the same, had hinted at it over the years but I was too proud, stubborn and fully in denial to listen or even hear what they were saying. It was ultimately the thought of those people and Telly Evans that brought me back from a place where the only feasible way out while retaining that pride and denial was suicide. After a year of working with a counselor, I feel much better. I have been given the tools for a much happier and healthier existence. It still has it's ebbs and flows as life does but I wouldn't have been able to seek that help financially without the support of the Redside Foundation.
I'm a guide. I've been one for twenty-one years and it has made for a challenging but rewarding life. I have seen and felt things out there that have nestled my spirit into tranquillity and lit a fire of passion that burns bright and hot. I am able to share that tranquillity and passion with our guests and everyone in my life because of the work that the Redside Foundation does. I support the foundation in every way I can because I know that they are doing the same for those I love, admire, work with, see in passing or may never know.
A healthier guide makes for a healthier community and a healthy community is able to deliver a message to those that are looking to escape the ever-quickening pace of the world around us. We are the invitation to a stillness and a beauty that can be ever present in their lives and ours once we experience, practice and live in its majesty.
- Patrick Condon, Idaho River Guide
This holiday season, the Redside Foundation is hoping to give Idaho guides like Patrick the gift of $10,000 toward physical and mental health services, scholarships and community building. Will you help us reach our goal?