I sometimes have to deal with Windows networking issues in my job. It's very depressing.
I feel your pain.
In my case it wasn't depression so much as anxiety. After a couple of serious bike accidents I had a terrible time just "climbing back onto the horse". On more than one occasion Mrs. Grouch and I drove down to the Katy Trail, assembled our recumbent tandem to ride - then disassembled it and loaded everything back into the car because I couldn't bear the thought of riding. Therapy with a psychologist didn't seem to help. Gradually, my anxiety would start to fade only to have another setback.
That's been for about 4 years. I'm hoping this year will be a breakthrough for me. My cinfidence is definitely building so that's a good sign. We'll see.
The body is stronger than the mind - at least in my case.
A couple of things to add. I'll put the clinical thing aside and assume that's not the problem.
I've been through a couple of depressive times. What I learned is that the urge to go on comes from positive reinforcement. When you took your first steps as a baby, you were giggling your head off. The more you walked, the better you felt. That's positive reinforcement.
Now and again you may encounter a hard task that you really don't want to take on. It looms over you and pushes you down. Inaction is your enemy. The more you don't act, the more it looms. The cure is to act. Always act, never react. Move forward. The only way to get positive reinforcement is to move forward. These first steps are the hardest. You have to gut it out and move forward enough to have positive things happen for you. There will also be negative things. Ignore them, or if you can't do that, find a way around them. Heal yourself. As you get stronger, you'll have plenty of positive reinforcement, which in common parlance is called "joy."
In this case, I think you should trust your cardiologist enough to follow their recommendations. Do they want you to be more active, to ride, work out, etc? With what limitations, if any? The suggestion to ride where you have cell phone coverage or to ride with others is a good idea, at least to start with.
Every year for the past 35 years, my wife and I go off into the mountains on a 10 day or so backpack or climbing trip, just the two of us. We will be out of cell phone range, we may not see other people for days, and we rely entirely on our own resources. We haven't died yet or been badly injured, but we know we could be. The positive reinforcement for doing this is so great that we will not stop until we can't do it anymore. We're the same on our tandem bike. We know the risks and we accept them. The price for not accepting them is, to us, to die the little death.
Your second comment sounds to me as if what you really need is to talk to a cardiologist who can answer they questions you posed there. A second opinion is something you should actively seek. Not all doctors are open to your fears, some are just doing a job to treat your heart, staying unengaged to the your emotional/psychological needs. While a cardiologist can't be expected to also be a therapist, she/he should be able to explain your condition to you to clarify your thoughts so that you can seek help to give you strength to make changes. And while exercise can be positive in many post-attack cases, you should undertake an exercise regimen only under explicit instructions.
If your heart problems were not caused by unfavorable lifestyle but rather from a structural defect, a doctor can determine and clarify this. If you need to change your diet and lose weight, make a plan to do it. If you need help to realize your plan, seek that help here and with a good therapist. Many people have overcome poor lifestyle choices by taking control of the choices they make - but this must be done under the care of competent specialists.
If you and a physician arrive at a solution which includes antidepressants, be aware than most prescribing doctors are unwilling to EVER take you off (they don't want to be liable to lawsuits if a patient has an adverse outcome after stopping a drug), and many don't even know how to determine whether your prescribed medication is the right one. Some docs simply try increasing doses. I am not saying that you should stay away from antidepressants - they can be lifesavers. IMHO, if taking this type of drug, one would be best advised to also partake talk therapy from a cognitive therapist. This type of therapy allows one to challenge thought patterns so that the patient can determine which negative or depressive thoughts are objectively false. If one simply believes every thought without critical questioning, depressive spirals can deepen rather than abate.
Please let us know how you make out! And good luck!
For me, the best answer has been meditation. It helps me slip from depression's snot-like grip, and gives me answers with which to rebut depression's arguments. Pedaling gets me outside and out of my cubbyhole. Riding demands awareness beyond myself and being centered in the moment. Sights that I see grab my attention away from my depression. And then there's work, doing something to distract myself and possibly accomplishing something in the meanwhile. All help me.
One of the most important things I've learned about depression is that it is not constant. Even at its darkest, there may be lighter moments in the day and you need to seize them and acknowledge the elevation you have achieved off the bottom. And you have to acknowledge that this is every bit as real as the depths you have felt earlier.
And depression, not being constant, becomes a "temporary" thing in Buddhist terms. Depression never feels temporary, but that's part of its lie and in the blackest times, you have to acknowledge that it is a temporary state and look towards your awareness, which is not.
Meditation is exercise for your mind, in the same way that cycling is exercise for your body.
Lots of good advice.
Lots of not so good advice.
Physically, humans are incredibly complex.
Psychosociospiritually, humans are beyond complex. One might say that fear of our own ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.
Medications can be life-saving adjuncts. If I forget mine, I've been known to double back to the house on the way to work.
Anyway, thanks to the OP for his courage. I think it's easier these days to talk about ED than depression.
I'm going to throw a couple of things out to you Pirate, first, notice how many members here have put in their concerns for you and offered some kind of advice, maybe right maybe not, not for me to judge, but just how many people in this disparate group care about your well being. That is amazing to me, the support the members here offer helped me tremendously with my health issues and yes, depression from not being able to do things I used to do. Take this for your corner stone or support group if that works better for you.
Next, you seem concerned about another attack when you are out fishing or riding or just not close to help, if needed. Take some steps to bolster your confidence about this, I use a RoadID wrist band with the interactive feature so the doctors can access my important medical information very quickly and accurately (I have no relation or benefit from this product, it is just something I believe in,) you can keep your cell phone with GPS capability for when you are in range of the coverage areas. When you aren't see about one of the many alert devices that send an emergency signal via satellite communications to alert rescue units. A simple push of a "Panic Button" is all these take, some even have motion sensors and accelerometers to send the signal if you fall and stay down. Put things in your favor so you feel better about doing what you love to do.
Always tell someone, anyone where you are going and when to expect you to return, if it changes call them, or another person, so they know you are very reliable about your comings and going. Don't put yourself in a really risky location, put the odds in your favor. And, think positively about not having another episode or attack, if you have planned for the bad things let the good things dominate your thoughts. This is as much for your loved ones as for yourself, I always let Monica know where I am riding, how long to expect me to be out, I call her if I want to go longer so she knows what is happening, she feels better and I feel better knowing she is relaxed.
I raced motocross and XC for a really long time, started in 1973, I can't risk that anymore, it took me deep into depression, I got worse in my overall health. I can ride a bicycle so I got back into this sport that I got away from in the mid 90's and let it take the place of the missing activity and excitement. Try to think of what you can do, not what you cannot do. Get with a physician or psychlogist to get action going, not necessarily medication(s), they are not always the answer or even appropriate for many of us. If it turns out you do need something to beat this, get with a doctor that works to minimize this but doesn't push you aside or just write a script to write one and wants to keep you in zombieland. Avoid this like the plague, I left a physician last year because his total answer to anything was to pull out the pad and put me on a new Rx. That enede and I got a new, caring, listening physician and got off the Rx train and take only the couple I really need, only one mild for anxiety that is necessary, not stupefying or narcotic.
Sorry for reposting and for the length, I just want you to do something positive to help yourself. Let these replies inspire and reinforce your mindset, use them to move forward, it the spiritual helps you use it, I certainly do, that one is completely private, though.
Best of luck,
I can't really tell you what will help you, but I can offer my approach:
I don't know if I suffer from depression because I don't know what to compare it against. I am aging. I can not do what I used to do. I have an irregular heartbeat that worries me slightly. If(when) I can no longer ride, I plan to walk regularly. Walking can be an amazingly useful exercise (others have told me) for conditioning, weight loss, and stress relief. I almost feel a relief that walking might still be my savior when riding is no longer possible.
Regarding worrying about keeling over in a bad spot, I try to just do the things I enjoy. If my time comes, I would prefer to be doing what I love. I know that sounds shallow, but I don't know how else to approach my own vulnerabilities.
I really do not worry about it. Maybe that is how I stay sane and keep my depression at bay. In 2004 a brother died of a very aggressive cancer of the pancreas. Six weeks from diagnosis to the grave. Many other friends and relatives have died, or are fighting for their lives. I will die. Worrying about it will not change it. I may last another twenty to thirty years. I may have a fatal heart attack, or be right crossed by a bus this afternoon. I live very comfortably accepting what ever happens.
One thing to look into, as a possible thing to do instead of drugs is fish oil. There have been lots of studies which have said that taking fish oil everyday can have as good as results as the drugs - without the side effects. Do your own research on this, and make your own decision.
My wife takes fish oil, and has been for more than 10 years, she used to have seasonal depression, now she doesn't. Of course, moving to the tropics helped too... but when she goes off fish oil, she can tell.
I have recently started taking fish oil, and it is making a difference.
So, exercise, fish oil - and forget your past achievements and what you once were able to do. You can seriously hurt yourself trying to be 20 again. :rolleyes: One of the greatest things of being over 50 is no one in their right mind should be expecting us to be breaking records - except us of course. :twitchy:
I just turned 55 and the gift from my family was a ban on all large projects. :lol: They said I have accomplished all I need to in my life, and still have good health, now it is time to enjoy what I have done, instead of thinking I have yet one more big hill in me.
Been reading up on such things.
Seems depression is an effect of cardiac events.
Not that this helps much...
Hang in there.
I'll second the fish oil recommendations. I use high dose and it helps with mood, though mostly because it helps with soreness from working out and keeps me off statins.
I had a heart attack while riding at the tender age of 46 YO. It motivated me as I had to climb up that damned steep hill where it happened ASAP. While I was slower after the heart attack, I started doing silly things like a century every month and some double centuries.
Before that I came down with gout which I always considered an "old man's" disease. It got me on a healthier diet.
I have arthritis in my right hip and was told that I'd probably need a hip replacement when I'm around 70 YO which is 10 years from now. However last week it started hurting BAD as the weather got better and I picked up my riding plus training for a half marathon in a couple of weeks. Looks like I'll be loosing my entry money on the half marathon and miss the hilly Vino Fondo next month if things don't improve soon. I have an appointment with my doctor on April 1st and fear the worst in that I may have a more serious hip problem. The thought about buying a hand cycle floated through my mind. I WON'T be stopped!
Professional counseling can help. I had it decades ago as a child. Drugs as a near last resort if that's what it takes.
Again thanks. I posted here intentionally because I saw the response to other people's health issues and how many had shown they care. This has helped some to see these posts. I happen to be one of those people who is very spiritual, brought up in a southern Baptist church so I have some spiritual background. The good thing is my doctors have released me to do anything I want to do. Of course they also tell me that my cholesterol issues are inherited and there is no guarantee that even with the meds that I won't suffer another attack. They also say that activity will certainly help with the chances I won't. In fact when I have had times when I felt it was my heart again, they have assured me it is not my heart or I would not be able to ride 20 miles each day. (I normally ride 20 miles after work if I do not ride to work' which is 20 miles also). Again while my heart issues do come to mind it is more about just getting old and not being able to do what I used to do. No I never was a diehard cyclist. I rode as a child and only got back on the bike after my heart attack in 2009. I figured that is a great way to exercise. This recent depression really came about from a fishing trip to the Keys. Before I went and the whole time I was there, I had a real issue dealing with being in the middle of nowhere and having an issue. Yes I was with others if something had happened. It didn't and for that I am thankful. But still I did not enjoy the trip as much as I should due to that feeling. Maybe the more I do it the more comfortable I will get. Thanks again for all the suggestions and caring words. Hopefully soon I will just learn to live and accept getting old.
I have suffered with depression for many years... I can say that it actually led to my brother's death (long story) and the death of my brother-in-law (another long story).
At some point I just hated not really feeling good or not enjoying myself. One of the toughest things I've ever done was to "push" myself out of my depression and get on with living life. I choose to be "happy" (not sloppy happy but truly grateful and content with my life). I count my blessings, I don't dwell on the negative and especially my past (had an extremely horrible childhood, abusive relationship etc) but instead wake up each day thinking about al the things I want to do, not what I have to do.
This is the hard thing about happiness... you have to eliminate all the negatives out of life - negative friends, negative relationships, negative jobs, whatever... you have to choose to be with people who are good for you and good to be around. You have to choose to want to be happy in your job. I don't particularly like the job I am doing, but I just try and not dwell on the negative aspects and look for the fun things to do.
Another thing that was helpful was finding a good therapist. Didn't go for long but did go long enough to know I wanted to do something more with my life. Another thing... try and stay away from medication. If its necessary, fine, but it only masked symptoms - you never get better, in fact, I believe makes things worse because you are veiled from what makes you sad and don't have the energy to do anything about it.
And find friends to talk to. Talk, talk, talk... talk it out... get out, be out, enjoy your life. Ride a bike (boy has that saved my life!) Seek help... ACT... single hardest thing to do is act but act you must. Take care and PM me if you need to talk...
also want to add, I am 63... had cancer surgery and chemo, had multiple fractures and other serious injuries, including a permanent brain injury (caused by a cycling accident). I will never be the person I once was but darn it, I still get - all old and slow - and enjoy riding. I don't care if I can't ride a steady 18 miles an hour or do centuries every weekend, but I still get out and ride, way better than probably 90% of everyone else. I look at what I can do and then do it. Just enjoy the ride no matter how slow or short it is...
Statin drugs had lowered my cholesterol somewhat. Even though I was watching the quantities of what I ate, the quality sometimes took a back seat. I still ate things like hot dogs and foods with moderate amounts of hydrogenated oils. I am convinced that people in our boat really need to avoid saturated animal fats and hydrogenated oils. Things I no longer eat are sausage of any kind, including McNuggets (yes, they are basically a chicken sausage), packaged cookies, even the girl scout kind. Hostess pies and Twinkies and stuff like that. Cool whip-real whipped cream is OK in very small amounts. Non-dairy coffee creamers. when eating out, most places will give you 2% for your coffee if you ask. I will use (sparingly) whole milk, or real cream if there is no 2%.
Since I started doing this after my second MI I feel better. I am sure a big part of this is mental, but my cholesterol numbers have improved so much as a result of these changes that my statin dose has been cut way back.
So, I have had two heart attacks. After the first one, I started exercising more and working less, but there was concern that something might happen while I was fishing, walking, working, or doing almost anything ending in "ing." For a considerable time after the first heart attack I had pain in my left arm and upper chest, right in the heart area. Numerous stress tests showed no cardiac issues -- in retrospect it was probably medication-related or possibly muscle issues related to working out. But, I worried about it. I cut back on working started to exercise more and over a period of time the fear of "is it going to happen when I am out in the middle of nowhere" receded. Exercise helped the most for me: I felt physically stronger and in my mind it seemed if it happened again, then I had a better chance of surviving the second one.
It did happen again and I was in decent shape, eating well, working out regularly, a stress test a short-time before showed I was in excellent cardiac condition, but down I went again. After the surgeon was done with me he commented: "with your arteries, I will be seeing you again, next time for a bypass." Well, he is a surgeon. After that event, some of those initial feelings of vulnerability returned and I increased my workouts, then a friend asked if I was interested in cycling and in 2010 I started a few months after the second event.
it was slow at first and I have had a series of knee and other issues that have kept me off the bike, but my cardiac conditioning has improved significantly. Last year on more a less a whim, I tried climbing Haleakala on Maui because, well my wife and I were there and so was the mountain. Short story, I made it to 8000 feet, a couple thousand feet short of the top. In the last couple of hours of riding I started to beat myself up some with those thoughts of not being able to do it, etc.... And, at some point I just became glad I was there, glad I could do what I could and not sad about what I could not do. "Everybody gets knocked down" as the saying goes and it is getting up and going on that helps to keep going on.
That depression thing after a heart attack is real. I got past it with exercise and just getting on with things, but it was not an easy path. You can do it.
I'm really struggling with some of what I'm reading here. There is growing evidence that both talk therapy and medication/drug therapy are effective. However, it is likely different for each person. Some will respond well to talk therapy and others will not. Same thing with medications. And some folks respond best to a combination of the two. It troubles me to hear folks tell others to avoid drug therapy. If talk therapy has worked for you, I'm glad you found something that was effective. If talk therapy works for others fine, but what if it doesn't? There is no singular root cause of depression and it would be foolish to treat each individual as if there were. It also seems that the first attempt at treatment fails about 40% of the time, regardless of what that treatment is. Medication or Talk Therapy? PET Scans May Personalize Depression Treatment | Psych Central News
So, to the OP, if it doesn't improve soon, seek help. And if when you seek help you don't get results. Try again. Or as Mark Gold would say, "Try another way."
We each have our own path to follow so I try not to decide whats best for other people.
I suffer from depression and I have found that biking relieves that depression.
Good luck on your path in life.
When I had my heart episode at the age of ~42, it was a turning point. Beforehand, I was depressed a lot of the time. Marriage and relationship break-ups, bad financial situation, smoking and drinking. For some reason, the heart episode (it technically wasn't a full-on heart attack as I recently found out), motivated me to start cycling and get my life in shape.
That was over 17 years ago. I've had periods where things haven't been so bright, and I can now sense that alcohol played a role in them. And here is the thing... I feel I can do and am doing things I never thought I could when I was younger. I've had a successful stints in long distance cycling, cycle-touring, going for over a decade without owning a motor vehicle, sailing in various forms including races, hiking, canoeing, and international travel.
I also have had jobs I really liked, with several of them, including my current one, involving extensive outdoor work. And I have a wife who keeps me busy one way or another.
Staying physically active has been and continues to be a lifesaver for me. I can't help with any advice on clinical depression -- that is strictly for the medicos. But if Piratebike is suffering the downer feelings coming from a heart condition, now is the time to set some realistic targets in life and to strive to achieve them.
Incidentally, there are two posters in this thread whom I consider extraordinarily inspirational and whom I admired deeply. qcpmsame, whom I have met personally, is someone who has fought through some awful medical situations, yet has retained his dignity and zest for life. The other is bruce19, who has recovered from a really bad accident that could have left him a paraplegic but for the grace of destiny. I know both have held self-doubts about whether they could get back where they were. I know both persevered, and now are riding and living (almost) as though nothing was amiss.