Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

Depression is sometimes akin to having spaghetti strands chucked into one’s mind. Focus, even for long enough to listen to a short conversation escapes me. Lethargy presses on my shoulders like a lead cloak. The ability to recall even simple things or remember stuff – even if it was a case of life or death – is gone. Working with this mindset – a mind that once carried myriad facts, dates, amounts over days with instant recall in pressured situations has long since departed – probably on a train it nearly missed…

I sleep…poorly yet for hours and feel shattered even once awake. Slovenlyness – or at least not bothering about simple tasks and appearance creeps back up. The bad thoughts and fragments of things that hurt permeate one’s dreams which become much more vivid when the darkness has caught up again.

Cycling has helped, but it seems that it only temporarily supplants the more destructive ways of coping like hiding for hours on the PC or eating badly and often – the chocolate consumption has gone way up lately. When I can’t cycle, I soon slip back into the bad habits. Fair enough,cycling is a much better addiction than chocolate or the far worse substances a lot of people succumb to when they can’t cope and I’m grateful I haven’t but – there has to be more than this. Something permanent.

I had been much more productive for a while, cycling regularly, even socially with people I had not before met, fighting my inhibitions and shyness to get out there. I was convinced my improving fitness levels were improving my mental health for good, yet a few days of enforced non-cycling and I feel back where I started.

I’m now almost forced to watch favourite shows that I used to adore, the kindle is gathering dust despite it proving much easier for my fickle, diverted mind to cope with than a book. I have a near mental block on watching movies and relaxing – preferring a bout of mental self-flagellation. Other hobbies or interests have long been abandoned.

I need more than this yet I couldn’t face the latest psych appointment – it simply stirs everything up and is not a help at all – I understand the issues, the guilt complex, the chemical imbalances. I can fix stuff but I can’t, even armed with that knowledge and insight, fix myself. The frustration is huge.

A sage person told me that a key is simply replacing any unwanted, negative or hurtful thoughts with good ones. Good times seem so transitory, so in the past and I feel past it. I used to have so much vigor, energy, appetite for life. Concerts, cinema, camping, adventures – there was no stopping me. Now, well I don’t think I even have a favourite band anymore which is criminal for someone who begged his Dad for the first walkman he brought back from abroad when they were ultra new (yeah he gave me it even though he would have been looking forward to killing hours and hours on his return flights – he’s that kind of Dad) and was buying records at 8 years old. Watching nostalgic youtube videos of favourite bands long past their best is just another form of wallowing – like the future can’t and won’t have anything worthwhile in it, such a silly way to think. I cannot afford to give up, not just for my own sake but it feels like I have sometimes.

Dammit – I’m better at helping others but why can’t I accept my own advice or get better? I’ve worked all my life and have a lot to offer, but here I am stuck, useless, festering, succumbing, sinking, drowning, hiding.

So I need a plan or a long-term goal. Something. Anything. Otherwise I’m either going to become so lethargic I fail to get out of bed one day, or alternatively get on the bike and just cycle as fast as possible in a forlorn attempt to escape myself.


“Pull yourself together, man”. “Leave your problems at home. I look forward to leaving mine and getting into work”. “Tablets only change people, I didn’t recognize my friend when he took them”.

And so on. It’s amazing how many people become experts when they learn that you are suffering from clinical depression.

I suffer. Badly.

Tablets help but don’t cure. Some days are better than others. Some days I don’t want to get up for fear of how low my mood is. Other days I berate myself for being so self-indulgent and how it’s always about ‘me’. I hate myself most of the time. My psychiatrist cancelled my third appointment due to illness and hasn’t arranged another one.

But, there just might be a smidgeon of hope at the end of the tunnel that just maybe, just maybe isn’t an express train.


Cycling’s easy. You just jump on, keep the bars true and push one crank down and sure enough, the other foot will push the other crank down and you’re off. And that’s it, by and large.

Cycling’s hard. That hill seems to get steeper the further you climb. And all you have to rely on to fight gravity and a lifetime of destructive comfort eating is your two legs, and lungs that never seem to grab enough of a share of the atmosphere to keep your legs oxygenated. But you make it. And as you coast the hill, the view floods into your renewed senses, your heartbeat slows and then…the descent.

Woo-hoo! Is it really safe to go this fast with only an inch and a bit of contact with the road from each tyre? Ah sod it. Wheeee!

It’s called cycling presumably as it describes the cycle of the cranks from 12 o’clock back to 12 o’clock. That simple, effective method of self-propulsion actually demands that both sides of your brain are in perfect harmony, each hemisphere controlling the opposite side of the body. You zone out as your mind settles into this calming, rhythmic state. For once no damaging thoughts, the only baggage with you is physical not mental. No one can hurt me out here yet I’m not in a car which always goes and comes back as quickly as possible. I can go..anywhere. Faster than walking..slow enough to enjoy the scenery. One day I might not go home and just keep cycling and see where I end up.

“It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to”.

Cycling helps.