This post have been a while in the making and is frankly one which I hesitated in writing, but ultimately it is about something which needs to be discussed in a more open forum.
In the early part of this year I lost my motivation and confidence to pretty much do anything. To start with I found some real life reasons to hide behind and call them the reasons but when I was honest with myself, yes these are possibly contributing factors but they weren’t the cause.
I don’t know if I was properly depressed, yes I was down and started to show the signs of depression, but I don’t believe I ever fully reached into the partnership with the black dog, instead I felt like I was led to cliff, walked to the edge and told to look over, and down the other side was the darkness and I was left to work out how to get back to where I wanted to be.
The way it manifested itself for me was firstly to not want to exercise, where as often exercise is a good way to improve mental health for me it was the opposite I found it a pressure and something I wanted to get away from. I pulled out of races and generally found reasons not to do anything. Yes I had days when I was able to get out, and in particular singlespeed mountain biking has helped as it was new and reintroduced me to the joys of mountain biking. Secondly I found I could have a public persona of everything is alright, I went to work did my job, and never told anyone how I felt.
How did I feel? Well basically, I just didn’t want to do anything, I felt like I couldn’t achieve, that failure was going to be the outcome no matter what I did.
To start with I thought it would pass, and then as time went on it got worse but I still felt it would pass, however, I didn’t do anything to and reverse the situation I just let it grow.
So what changed? Well I finally mentioned it to my wife, how I felt, and I know nothing revolutionary there, but just talking about it put it into some kind of perspective. The things I was hiding behind as excuses, work, deaths in the family and talking about it meant I was able to see that whilst these are things that do impact life they weren’t the actual causes.
In my life I am lucky, I have everything I need and more and so admitting that something is putting you into a depression is difficult because you can’t understand what it is. As I come to understand it doesn’t matter what you have, what you need depression can come to everyone, it seems simple to slip into it.
What have I learnt from this experience, well, that talking about it helps and there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need some help or that everything is not alright as unsurprisingly people will help you and the sooner the ask for help the sooner it can be given.
Now, I know I was lucky in that at worst I had a very mild or small level of depression but it certainly impacted my life, and having read of those who go very deep to the point of wanting to take their life it seems that if you don’t talk about it, it will escalate very quickly.
I am not sure I have managed to properly put into words my experience but just getting some down is enough as I now only want to look forward and not back at this, so if you are feeling down then talk to someone no matter how difficult it might be you have to start somewhere and once you take the first step in the right direction the rest will hopefully follow.