The climb | Radio-Canada News

When Sean Decaire clings to the side of a cliff, he thinks of nothing but his next move.

He does not remember the fight that sent him to the hospital with multiple stab wounds. He doesn’t remember the physical recovery or the sleepless, drunken nights that followed.

When Decaire grabs that rock with all his might, his mind is in the moment, and that’s exactly where he wants it to be.

Climbing Zone on the Eardley Escarpment in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)”/>

Left to right Carson Sherwood, Sean Decaire and Vince Smith at the Eastern Block Climbing Zone on the Eardley Escarpment in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Left to right Carson Sherwood, Sean Decaire and Vince Smith at the Eastern Block Climbing Zone on the Eardley Escarpment in Luskville, Que.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Left to right Carson Sherwood, Sean Decaire and Vince Smith at the Eastern Block Climbing Zone on the Eardley Escarpment in Luskville, Quebec. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

“To be afraid is better than to be sad. Although it is uncomfortable, it is a better feeling because what makes you sad is not controllable … what scares you [in this case] is completely controllable, ”said the 36-year-old.

For Decaire, rock climbing has become a way of life. He also says that this is how he got his life back.

The knot: the most difficult part of an ascent

In December 2015, Decaire was involved in a fight outside a friend’s apartment on the corner of McLeod and Elgin streets in Ottawa. He ended up in the emergency room with multiple stab wounds to the stomach and back.

The assailant, whom Decaire did not know, was charged with attempted murder.

(SRC)

(SRC)

(SRC)

(SRC)

Decaire’s injuries were serious but he recovered and returned to his job as a sales manager at a car dealership three months later.

Before climbing, Decaire said he suffers from sleepless nights and panic attacks.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Before climbing, Decaire said he suffered from sleepless nights and panic attacks. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Before climbing, Decaire said he suffers from sleepless nights and panic attacks.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Before climbing, Decaire said he suffered from sleepless nights and panic attacks. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

His mental health, however, was deteriorating.

“I just started having these crazy nightmares that would rob me of sleep for days on end,” Decaire said.

“I hit a five day period where I hadn’t slept and was at work and had panic attacks, and I just knew that had to change.”

At the time, Decaire didn’t realize he was suffering from PTSD. He turned to alcohol to try to get out of it.

Submitted by Sean Decaire

Submitted by Sean Decaire

Submitted by Sean Decaire

Submitted by Sean Decaire

In mid-July, Decaire said he could no longer endure the exhaustion and panic attacks. He went on sick leave and started seeing a psychologist who recommended full body exercises.

The first ascent: The first success of a particular route

Decaire decided to give rock climbing a try and headed to an Ottawa gym that catered for beginners.

After his first ascent, Decaire remembers feeling a renewed sense of connection between his body and his mind that lasted long after leaving the gym.

“I used to not drive because I didn’t want to have post-traumatic stress disorder while driving… I just remember coming home that night and thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do this everyday. . “”

That’s exactly what Decaire did, rocking his full-time job.

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

When Decaire climbs up, he says his mind is in the moment and he's not thinking about his past trauma.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

When Decaire climbs up, he says his mind is in the moment and he’s not thinking about his past trauma. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

When Decaire climbs up, he says his mind is in the present moment and he's not thinking about his past trauma.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

When Decaire climbs up, he says his mind is in the moment and he’s not thinking about his past trauma. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

He spent countless hours in the gym or climbing the walls of cliffs and rocks in Calabogie or Luskville, Quebec.

During the winter months, Decaire learned to ice climb to maintain his physical shape and give his mind a break from the hustle and bustle he still experienced on the ground.

(@ SeanDecaire / Instagram)

(@ SeanDecaire / Instagram)

(@ SeanDecaire / Instagram)

(@ SeanDecaire / Instagram)

While the therapy was helpful in putting his mind back in the right place, Decaire says rock climbing has helped relieve physical symptoms associated with his PTSD, such as insomnia, anxious legs, and other bodily contractions.

“When you’re exhausted from rock climbing, your body is at rest,” Decaire said.

Decaire said rock climbing changed everything for him, including his diet.  Since starting the sport, he has lost around 100 pounds.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said rock climbing changed everything for him, including his diet. Since starting the sport, he has lost around 100 pounds. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said rock climbing changed everything for him, including his diet.  Since starting the sport, he has lost around 100 pounds.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said rock climbing changed everything for him, including his diet. Since starting the sport, he has lost around 100 pounds. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

All of this physical activity also helped Decaire lose around 100 pounds.

“Literally calming the loop changed everything for me how i feel the world, how i interact with friends [and] people. It’s a different perspective, ”he said.

Belay: To protect a rope access technician from a fall by controlling the movement of the rope

The escalation even helped Decaire relearn to trust people, after injuries he sustained from an unknown assailant.

“The incident forced me to regain confidence in strangers and interactions with strangers. So my first year of climbing was tough, ”he said, explaining that a big part of the sport is trusting that the person holding your rope won’t let you touch the ground.

Over time, however, Decaire said the confidence had returned.

“Even if I’m having a bad day, I want to climb. Like, it’s a want of me, a desire. I have to trust this person to hold the rope. And when you go to the gym, it can be anyone.

Decaire and his friend Vince Smith tackle a road along the Eastern Bloc in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire and his friend Vince Smith tackle a road along the Eastern Bloc in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire and his friend Vince Smith tackle a road along the Eastern Bloc in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire and his friend Vince Smith tackle a road along the Eastern Bloc in Luskville, Que. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Sight: the ability to see something or to be seen from a particular place

Decaire, who identifies as an Algonquin from the Pikwakanagan First Nation, said rock climbing also gave him a better appreciation of the local landscape.

He grew up hunting and fishing, but said he never took the time to appreciate the land and the water. The escalation allowed him to reconnect and add another dimension to this appreciation.

“The terrain on which we can do this is completely different from that of all other aboriginal people in this country,” he said.

“When I started to find rock climbing I started looking at the scenery and thinking to myself, whoa.”

Sean Decaire monitors Luskville, Que.  at sunset.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Sean Decaire monitors Luskville, Que. at sunset. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Sean Decaire monitors Luskville, Que.  at sunset.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Sean Decaire monitors Luskville, Que. at sunset. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire described himself as a mountaineer in training and eventually wants to travel the country to experience climbs and develop guides for places that have yet to be explored.

It’s a big change for someone who at some point didn’t want to leave their home or be around people in general.

“For a long time in the middle, Sean wasn’t Sean, if that makes sense, just a very lost individual with no goals.”

About a year ago, Decaire decided he was mentally ready to return to work, but decided he wanted something more physical and a way to keep his hands occupied during the hours he was not touching. of stones. He changed careers and became an apprentice carpenter.

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

(Alexander Behne / CBC)

He said he was finally in a place where he trusted not only others but himself to show off and be reliable.

To all this, he attributes escalation.

“It’s more powerful than you think … I mean, it saved me completely.”

Decaire said that fear is better than sadness because in climbing fear can be controlled.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said fear is better than sadness because in climbing fear can be controlled. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said fear is better than sadness because in climbing fear can be controlled.  (Alexander Behne / CBC)

Decaire said fear is better than sadness because in climbing fear can be controlled. (Alexander Behne / CBC)

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