An alpinist generally spends anywhere from one to five weeks on the physical and psychological acclimatization process before climbing. After climbing, the tendency is to return home quickly. You reenter normal society within one to five days and are quickly immersed in a totally different environment and value system. You are exposed to the close scrutiny of your loved ones and may even return to your job almost immediately.

The dramatic change in surroundings may not match an equal shift in your own consciousness. It takes time and effort to readjust. The process will be more difficult after a high-stress trip involving an accident or death. Those who did not participate in the experience cannot truly understand what you have been through, and you will find it difficult to communicate. You may miss the life-and-death decision-making of the climb, the genuine consequence of your actions.

The problem is internal, and you must learn to handle it. You need to educate your loved ones about this process and allow them to help you through it. Recognizing the problem is the first step. Giving yourself time to acclimatize to society and to the consciousness of lower altitudes is the best gift you can offer yourself. Try not to return to your job right away. T&ke it easy. Rest. Relax. See some movies. Ride the bus. Get trivial.

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