I was finally diagnosed about three years ago with depression. It was triggered by an injury about 7 years ago that changed my body and consequently my life.
The medication trial and error took around 2 years to finally sort type and dosage.
I am very lucky to have an extremely understanding, forgiving and loving partner and family.
One thing I have found that really helps me kick the dog into it's kennel where it belongs, is riding. I used to just ride locally when I got the chance, now I try to ride every day, including a 30k+ daily return commute during the week, Hawthorndene-City-return.
The problem I have recognised recently is due to my physical susceptibility to weather changes - I am an asthmatic, and every time I get a cold I end up in bed for a week with infected bronchials and sinuses. The volume of snot involved is really quite disgusting; the headache from the sinuses, the throat that feels like there's a bastard file lodged in there that starts rasping whenever the temperature of the air drops, the hacking dry cough, it all adds up to "no riding".
An ex-workmate used to tell me "Paul, if you were a horse, we would have sent you to the glue factory long ago, my friend!"
The problem I have is that after about four days of no riding, the dog starts to make its way out of the kennel. One thing which I thought would help me keep my head straight was doing some work on my bikes - I rebuilt one just a week ago, but the buildup of fumes from using turps probably added to the severity of my latest lurgi - my sinuses and chest seem to be really sensitive to that sort of thing.
Today, I had had enough. It had been ten days out of the saddle. I got on my MTB and coughed and spluttered my way around Belair National Park for an hour in beautiful, clear clean air. Roos and emus sighted from the newly resurfaced Queens Jubilee track. Feel a heap better for it already, and am really glad to have such a simple and accessible solution - if I rely on the drugs alone, they are not nearly as effective as they are when combined with regular riding.
I guess I should be lucky to recognise all this, however I still struggle with those intermediate days when I am bedridden or house bound, I feel myself getting on edge and my family can see me start to get anxious. I have tried wathing TV, dvds, etc and they can help for a little while, but often lead to bad sleep patterns - something else that regular cycling helps with.
So I'm wondering, do others get the same mental benefits from riding, and if you are in a position where you are itching to ride but cant, what "tools" do you use to keep your dog kennel-bound?
Glad it's working for you Paul. Exercise is a well known method of handling depression. The things to look out for are the negative thoughts and the 'should' style thinking that can come into play - I should be able to climb this hill, I should ride every day, I should wear lycra, etc - all these are actually symptoms of depression and will rapidly drag you down. It's a complicated bloody disease.
I'm a little different in that my canine of choice is bi-polar. It's being handled with medication and monthly meetings with my doctor (which sometimes have surprising outcomes ... like suddenly realising it's not just depression I'm fighting). I'm not sure my depression reacts in the same way as yours might, but I do know that the old cognitive therapy training (how to nail the negative thinking) is the biggest thing to keep me on the trail.
Now, when it comes to working on your bike, don't use turps, it obviously disagrees with you. Shellite works, so does diesel fuel. Modern kero is rubbish so don't bother. Of these, Shellite has the lowest pong factor. Even RP7 can be used to clean things. On the other hand, most times you don't need any more than a rag to do bearings and any chain needing solvents can be tossed and the new one treated with clean rags (for wiping) and wax lubes - you'll never have a chainring tattoo again.
But back to riding - ride how, when and where you want to. About the only time you need to consider changing this plan is when you're half way up a sod of a hill and the only place you'll get picked up by the sag wagon is at the top. I have had times where I'm literally too tired to ride - my depression can be very physical - so I've learned not to be shy about ringing my son for a lift home or to leave the bike home and take the car.
Its a very individual thing isnt it. What works for one doesnt necessarily work for others. Doesnt surprise that it took you a while to work out your medication.
Cycling helps a lot, and not just the riding, but the whole lot like looking for stuff, tinkering with bits and pieces, building a bike, reading and posting blogs, meeting other riders etc.
I help my moods by using my cycling to help raise funds and awareness for cancer research. It tends to put even more meaning into my cycling. Been lucky enough to have been made a Cancer Council Abassador which was a great boost.
It can be very very difficult at times. I suffer from chronic headaches and have had a very bad few weeks. Only managed a few short rides. The black dog barks very loudly when I have periods of bad headaches.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Yes, it is something that seems to be quite unique for everyone! I agree, just getting onto this website helps too, I am really glad I found it, and glad that this group exists too. I like the approach of fund and awareness raising, I think that is something that I would like to look into.
I hope your headaches ease off, my partner suffers from migraines which see her end up vomiting and bed ridden, and I have seen how that can impact mentally as well - my bd was borne out of chronic pain, which I guess is similar in a way.
Thanks for responding, and good luck with the headaches.
yeah I have done some cognitive stuff with direction from my headshrinker, which was really good, thanks for the reminder! She is big on mindfulness, and I certainly found that it helped me. I have heard about the wax lubes, and will seek them out at LBS, thanks. I think the thing with the turps is just not having had the shed open enough due to the cold weather, and accumulated fumes getting to me, but I will source and try Shellite. I tend to ride within my limits at the moment as most of my riding is commuting, and I am well used to it; I think you're right though: I will keep in mind that when I'm not feeling up to it, there is a train I can catch with my bike.
Thanks for your response!