The Enthusiastically Depressed Cyclist

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A couple weeks ago, I bared my soul and talked about feeling like a fake.  It was all about how I’ve felt bummed out and a bit of a downer lately.  I received some great comments and words of encouragement, and I appreciate all you had to say.

But there was more to the story, and something I didn’t include in that other article.  If you know me, or have followed things over here at Loving the Bike you’d have a hard time believing that I suffer on and off with depression.  Yeah, been this way for at least the past 15 years.  Most of the time it’s not a big deal…but it always seems to be lingering.  For the past couple months it’s reared its ugly head and has been pretty full on.

If you know anything about depression, you’ll know it’s not at all like being sad or down.  It’s a disease, and not something you can just tell yourself to get over.  It’s like if you had the chicken pox and someone told you to just put a smile on your face and it would go away.

So how can a guy who generally comes across as being enthusiastic and full of life be this way?  Not sure really…..but I’d much rather be that happy go lucky dude than who I’ve been lately.

Luckily, I’m not a severe case….but it’s enough to be causing some issues in my life.  If it were just simply being a little sad, my bike rides would definitely help snap me out of it.  But because it’s a disease, they unfortunately haven’t been able to knock me back to happy.

Okay, with this little piece of personal information being put out there….I’d like you all to know that I’m still going to do all I can to promote positivity in our Make it Happen Monday posts, and will bring out as much of my wacky personality as I can in all other posts.

If you or someone you know suffers from this type of mental illness, be sure to get help or give them help.  I’d like to personally thank my friend Ann for her help and support as I make my way through this….and to my Family for dealing with me during this time.

  • Asher Taylor

    Like so many others have already said, thank you for stepping up to talk about this.

    My better half wrestles with a similar thing (in his case, dysthymia; Wikipedia actually has a pretty good article on it, if you’re interested). I suspect “milder” depressions may be harder for the people around us to understand, which in turn can make them harder to talk about and explain.

    I’m glad Ann and your Family have your back. That’s one of the most important things in the long run.

    I notice that this was written a while ago. I hope things are looking up for you. Take care of yourself!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Asher. I’m going to go have a look at Dysthymia right now as I don’t know anything about that. Yeah, it’s been a little while since I posted this. I feel better, but am still not where I should be. There are two things I’ve realized over the past few months….one is that I’m lived with depression for as long as I can remember. The other is that a whole lot of people have at least mild depression and don’t even know it.

  • Alexander Gaber

    Hi Darryl, it’s impressive that you moved to Grenada! Do you ever try mixing in running or yoga with your cycling? I was an avid cyclist for years, and switched to trail running and yoga to exercise the entire body and soul

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Alexander. I really don’t like running, but yoga is something I can do. I actually taught some basic yoga when I was younger and do a little of it here and there, but not enough. More connection with my soul is a good thing right now.

      • Alexander Gaber

        HI Darryl, running is indeed tough on the body. yoga sounds best, namaste!

  • Jay

    There are great discussions on Road Bike Review and Bike Forum on this-Google depression and road bike. I’ve found those helpful for my own… Or, as Padraig says, “there will be chaos”
    Hang tough-and keep pedaling.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      I’ll go check those out…thanks, Jay.

  • Tim Starry

    During today’s bike ride (which had nothing to do with lycra, racing or training) my iTunes served up some lyrics that might help. In the words of Jimmy F-ing Buffett:

    We’ve gotta roll with the punches
    Learn to play all of our hunches
    Makin’ the best of whatever comes your way
    Forget that blind ambition
    And learn to trust your intuition
    Plowin’ straight ahead come what may
    And there’s a cowboy in the jungle

    And then there was Widespread Panic:

    May your family share laughter
    Your songs always play
    May your wishes come true
    Even those left unprayed
    Hand on my shoulder
    Gentle cloud on the hill
    May your heart’s doors be open
    Forever and ever, may your glass be it filled

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      As a fellow lover of the great Jimmy F-ing Buffett, I say thank you. I don’t think there’s anything that his music cannot do.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

    Thank you for having the courage to share this, and thank you for constantly inspiring us in many different ways.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks James, that’s a very nice comment. To be honest, I’m not sure why people have trouble telling others they have depression. If anything, I hope this post helps other people realize it’s not a big deal to let others know.

      • Scott White

        Perhaps because people don’t get the way depression can grab hold of you… They think you can take a pill or two and shake it off like it was a cold or something. They don’t understand, so sometimes it’s easier to pretend it’s not there, or that you aren’t suffering. I try to hide it away, pretend it’s not there, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other – but sometimes I just feel the like I have to hide from the world, because I don’t know what else to do, and social interaction is the last thing I want, lest someone say “cheer up, it’ll get better.” If only it were so easy. Thank goodness for my friends and my bike – they just let me be who I am, and little by little the cloud lifts…

        I can’t speak to the way others deal with it, I have just have come to accept it as part of who I am… Sort of like my allergies, my bum knee, and all the other things that pester me from time to time. Sorry, not really a great analogy, but my choice has been to learn to live with these things, and find ways to mitigate their effects as best as I can – and how to endure them when they’re at their worst.

        Thank you for sharing, and letting me share this as well…

        • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

          Thanks for taking me up on my offer for others to post their story as well. It’s great to hear from you, Scott and if you’d like to expand on this and talk about how it’s affected your cycling life at all, we can put it up on the site.
          Depression is so much tougher than other illnesses because many people don’t even recognize they have it, and if they do it’s hard to get others to understand what it is.

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    This is sooo very important to discuss, thank you for stepping up and sharing Darryl.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      You know it, Joel. I don’t really have a problem sharing what’s going on with me….and this time it just happens to be something most people don’t share. It’s good to have people like you on my side.

  • AmandaGaleKotyk

    I’m so proud of you for putting yourself out there….for talking about this subject, that often seems so taboo for some reason.

    I’m also so proud that you were able to recognize what was going on, and seek out help. I’d also like to thank Ann for being there for you.

    I Love You.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man and starting early. Yeah, I really hope to get over this and not have it ever come back. Thanks for dealing with me, sweetie.

      • AmandaGaleKotyk

        hahaha….lets hope not. :) I know I don’t always deal with things the way I should, but I’m trying my best.

  • Sergej

    Damn, depression really suck. I’ve been there few times (not severe also, luckily). I personally didn’t find anything that would helped me then, there by I don’t have any helpful advice.

    Stay cool :)

    Sergej

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Segej……I’m not one for medication so I’ve been trying to avoid it. I am taking a couple natural remedies and hope it helps.

  • Scott White

    I understand all to well what you could be dealing with. Just know that your friends, family and bike are there for you. Sometimes that hardest part is getting out the door…

    On those certain days, I can’t even make myself even get near the door, someone or something has to be there to help pull me through… Your bike is always ready for a ride (even a short one).

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Scott…I appreciate it, man. My bike helps me in so many ways for sure…..and it’s one thing in my day to day that allows me to free my mind a little.