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Just venting out..feeling down

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Just venting out..feeling down

Old 08-11-16, 01:54 AM
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Just venting out..feeling down

Hello, just to let you know...If you don't like too much personal information, don't read...
I don't remember who told me here once that I should wait to see if I am still riding my bike a couple of years from now before saying that cycling changed my life. Yes, I get it, that's true too, and everything else he/she mentioned in that post was very good and one of the best replies I got to my question which I really appreciated it. However, even though I don't know if cycling changed my life in the long run, I know it did changed my life now, my present. I've been through some loses in my life during the last eight years and I haven't been able to cope with it in a healthy way. Grieving turned into depression and when you are depressed you don't find joy in anything. All you want to do is just sleep and forget about life. 10 months ago I hit the bottom and for a while all I wanted was to just die. That's when I saw only two options in front of me: get better or end it. Since then I've been really pushing myself to get better. I went to the doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, counseling, bereavement support groups, etc etc. It is a struggle sometimes to just get out of the room because I just want to sleep and not deal with reality, but I do want to see the sunlight, to walk, to breath, to enjoy something about life, anything, I want to be okay but it's hard sometimes. In the middle of my struggles I prayed and I said, God, if there's a God listening anyway, help me to find joy in life. Little after that, for whatever reason I ended up trying out my bicycle that had been there sitting for 8 years. It changed my life. It makes me so happy to go out riding. It gives me something to look forward to. It motivates me so much. it's so exciting and I hadn't been excited about anything in a long time. I am motivated to eating healthier, to do more exercises, to go out, to even socialize all because of my bike. I even applied back to school for next semester after a year of not being able to study for my emotional and mental state. I don't know exactly why I like it so much, I just really enjoy riding. It's my therapy, my walking meditation, my comfort zone, I don't know...it's hard to explain it, but I'm happy and glad that I got on my bike that July 3, 2016 and that I found this forum that has been so helpful in learning about cycling. I start to see little by little my old personality and self again. Tonight I am feeling down though. Sometimes I just have to let it in and feel whatever I need to feel and not fight it. I'm so scared about life and stuff I have to face...So many of you are a lot older. I wish you could tell me it's going to be okay...ok sorry, too much thinking out loud...back to the point...I think I'm feeling down tonight because even though I've been really wanting to ride, I haven't been able to ride in a week or so, and for the past 21 days or so I've been only able to go out for a little bit just two times. Life happens...I was traveling, then I got sick, etc and I had to give riding a break. Now I won't have the time I needed to train for that century ride in October because I have to take it easy for health reasons. but that's ok...I wish tonight was my last sad night though. I really want to be happy again just as much as I wish I could ride all I want, but that's life and we can only just try our best one day at a time and be thankful for what we have even if it's not everything we would like. Tomorrow I have the chance to go out again and I look forward to it and all the good feelings that comes with riding my bike. I don't know if anyone else out there struggles with depression and if cycling changed your life in this regard. I can't be the only one in 7 billion people lol I just hope that two years down the road I can look back and still say that indeed cycling helped me to changed my life.
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Old 08-11-16, 02:22 AM
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Been down in deep depression and survived .... and even if sometimes things get a little tough, if I really think about it, never nearly as bad as the worst days.

I understand the riding part---cracked my collarbone, had to work, had some health issues, then I didn't want to ride in the rain with my shoulder only half healed .... and that bike ride, which makes so many other things better, is always "tomorrow."

it will be okay.

I have been through enough cycles of this crap to know that. Unless we completely, deliberately, actively act to surrender, we come through ... and because you have some faith, and some confidence, and some experience of success, you will come through better.

The biggest change between now and when I started fighting my way up ... now when I go through longer down periods I am okay with that (just as you said ... can't fight it all the time, some days just have to accept and acknowledge to overcome.) I tend to get less stressed when things take longer to resolve, because I have been through it so many times, and I Know they will get better, and that the general trend is always better and better.

You are on the right path and doing fine. Accept that life can be frustrating and complicated and scary sometimes, and soon you will start to regain your positive attitude and things will seem a lot less severe.

Because this is a public forum I won't get too deep into the faith angle, but that is one place you can always find strength, if you let yourself. How you do it doesn't matter ... I don't care if you seek support from an old pizza box or a burned out television, or a book or an idea or a group ... let it work for you in the way it works best for you.

Glad to know you will be back on the bike soon.
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Old 08-11-16, 02:31 AM
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Depression sucks. Its all too common in modern society. I think there is too much emphasis on always trying to be happy though, its not natural. There is nothing wrong with having a positive attitude most of the time, lots of people need to find a safe outlet to wash away negativity.

Some people have pets, other people have great family support, and I think many people here have discovered cycling keeps their mind clear.

Get outside, even if it is just for a walk, nature has a unique calming effect.

A good book, or an enjoyable indoor hobby can also be helpful.

Set a few goals, and make sure you have a backup plan if you can't reach those goals.

Life can and does get in the way, mental and physical health should be the top priority.
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Old 08-11-16, 03:36 AM
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Been there too. The worst was about 15 years ago after a car wreck when I was t-boned by a driver who ran a light. That followed a job loss and divorce, and deaths of two close family members. And the accident was followed by yet another death in the family, and permanent disability of another family member, and extreme stresses on family bonds.

It took years to begin to recover, emotionally and physically. I saw counselors for a couple of years and it helped. I explored more creative pursuits but was physically limited for a decade by the injuries. Just a few years ago I still needed a cane for long walks. I was finally able to do without the cane 2013.

I resumed bicycling a year ago this month, after a 30 break from having been an avid cyclist. It was slow going and hard, often painful work, getting back into shape. Rides longer than 20 miles kick my butt and require a couple of recovery days. I do it anyway.

And it's totally worth it.

Best thing I've done for my overall well being. I feel better overall, even on days I can't ride.

Do whatever it takes to help yourself. Be prepared for the roller coaster ride. Sometimes it will feel like one step forward and two steps backward -- not quite like the cliches promise. I find it helps to be involved in each moment of doing and being, and not in setting goals. But other folks seem to benefit from goals and written plans or dreams.
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Old 08-11-16, 08:49 AM
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While I have not been down that road, I can certainly agree that cycling makes me feel better about life in general. I'm typing this as I am getting ready to go for another ride this morning - one that I have been looking forward to for two days as things came up that prevented my rides the last three days.
Wish you, and others in your position, the best and hope you continue to find outlets and reasons for enjoyment and happiness.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 08-11-16, 10:00 AM
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I have never put my thoughts on paper before on this aspect of bike riding, but there is a magical quality to riding that produces happiness. Many times I have seen this joy in others but the ones that stick out in my mind are the children I have taught to ride and the feeling of accomplishment and pure joy I see in their eyes the first time you let go of the back of their saddle and they ride off. The other times I remember so well is gifting an older person a bike that haven’t rode in many years and they don’t know if they will be able to. Watching them recapture the skills they forgot they had within a few minutes and amaze themselves that they still have it takes years off their faces in minutes.

There are not a lot of things like that in life and I rank the bicycle in my list of the top ten inventions of all time. It is just a mechanical device but it improves the human device without taking its power from any outside source. It allows us to travel so much faster and cover so much distance with so much less effort. Most people don’t know what there is in biking that that brings the joy but for me it is the efficiency it provides us over our bodies. The only thing I think that would be more joyful would be if it allowed us to take flight.

Whatever the reason there is something about the feeling. I remember a night ride I took alone in the country and only my lights and the moon to show my way. I had a feeling of never getting tired and the ride was effortless like I could have lasted forever. When you are in that zone on a bike it is a wonderful feeling.
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Old 08-11-16, 10:24 AM
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Cycling has changed my life in just the past year. I'm the type who absolutely hates to exercise. I don't mind hard work, I just hate the idea of running down the street just to be running. But last year I noticed my T-shirts were getting tight. I dug the bathroom scale out of the closet, stepped on it, and didn't like what I saw. Plus the fact that my dad died of heart disease 15 years earlier told me that I needed to do something.

So I dug my old mountain bike out of the garage, cleaned it up and started riding. It was hard at first, was about all I could do to go 3 miles, but I kept at it and kept improving my endurance. Now with a bike which actually fits me and is easier to ride, I do at least 10 miles around town every morning and then enjoy going on longer trips out of town on the weekends. This, along with a firm resolve to eat healthier, has helped me lose 30 lbs. Plus I feel a lot healthier by getting regular exercise, of which cycling is the only kind of regular exercise I care to do.

I don't know if I'll ever do any long distance cross country rides, but for now I enjoy seeing how many miles I can put behind me. I plan to make an appointment with the local doctor to get a complete checkup along with bloodwork just to make sure I'm as healthy as I feel. I'm sure I will be.
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Old 08-11-16, 11:10 AM
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Very glad your are finding your way back from life's speed bumps. That takes courage.
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Old 08-11-16, 11:16 AM
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"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming".

Sometimes a thing can just be the thing. You enjoy it, you spend some time with it, you know some other people enjoy the thing. Maybe you enjoy the thing together. Not everything needs to be a Hallmark greeting card motivational story. The thing....is the thing. Just be. If you try to hard to make everything profound and with meaning...well..it all gets a little cheapened.

Keep yer head abouthca! Ride more, think about it less.

Just be.
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Old 08-11-16, 11:43 AM
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Love your post, Liz33, and I'm glad to hear that you've found something so helpful in bicycling!

Not sure if it's up your alley or not, but I took this MOOC (free, online course) and liked it a lot: https://www.edx.org/course/science-h...eleyx-gg101x-3

Anyhoo, riding a bike always gives me a happiness boost too, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because any sort of exercise tends to create positive emotions. Maybe it's the wind on my face and a "connection" to the environment and community that comes with cruising along in the open air like that.

Maybe it's because I used to ride my bike all the time when I was young, and riding now as an adult sort of sends me back in time, turning me into a giddy kid again. Freedom meets play. Tough to beat that combination!
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Old 08-11-16, 12:40 PM
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Cycling can change someones life and give someone a reason to live but what happens if they are injured or the situation changes and they can't cycle any longer? Boom, there goes your life down the toilet again.

I'm not a cyclist. I'm just a guy who cycles. My identity and purpose are not based on what I do because those things can change, but on God who never ever changes.

Not trying to proselytize. To each his own. I don't care what anyone believes. Glad the OP feels better through riding but just asking the question - what happens if they can't ride any more?


Last edited by TimothyH; 08-11-16 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-11-16, 12:55 PM
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I can certainly relate to the OP being that I have had my downs as well, I never saw anyone for it, but do believe that I have gone through a depression as well and can list a variety of reasons for.

Biking has greatly helped, not so much for the actual ride, but because it gets me out of a confinement of sorts and helps me to feel free. Driving a car does not help, or sitting in a cubicle or a small room at home. Doing things like walking a long ways away, jogging, swimming and biking seems to help people whom are depressed to get things off their mind and to relax.

Mine is riding on a trail where I can stop and watch some wildlife, hear a rooster crowing, watch a fox, and even a Coyote (yikes) run by. But I absolutely love being outside and out of a box.
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Old 08-11-16, 04:05 PM
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I've been in a very similar spot. I was spiraling downward and thought biking would help, so I started riding July 5th of last year; I commuted every day until November when I got the flu.

Just as I was recovering from the flu, I had a secondary temporary nerve damage issue that really sapped my ability to think and move. It took me a month and a half to recover from the flu. I was 25.

Then, the very day I strode out to demand to see life's manager, the ground was icy and I bit it while rolling downhill at 15 mph. My accident was so bad I ended up needing therapy for the PTSD it caused, even after my face and shoulder had healed.

Biking was supposed to be my ticket. It was supposed to make everything better. But it didn't; not on its own. Bicycling, I discovered, was really a symptom of my inner desire to feel better. In the end, I think that's what worked for me. I recognized that part of me wants so badly to feel better that I'm willing to go out and ride my bike all over the place. If I'm willing to do that for myself, then, I guess I'm not a total write off.

After 12 years of being depressed, 10 months ago I went to see a therapist for the first time. I still see my therapist every week and it's easily the best money I spend. Probably the only advice I can freely give is that you should find a rock-solid therapist. I am constantly learning about myself through probing of corners of my mind that I've always taken for granted.
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Old 08-11-16, 04:25 PM
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It can change your life right away for some people. Hobbies are like NASA, a bit of a waste of money but some of the stuff you find along the way can be neat or useful in unexpected ways like Teflon.
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Old 08-11-16, 04:25 PM
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Sorry to hear about your travails rhrgrt---but OP says specifically that biking does help her, and apparently she does it well enough that it doesn't hurt her.

Biking is Not a symptom. Biking is a treatment. it gets the rider out of doors, often in the sun, and out of the same stale environment. it forces the brain to deal with immediate situations, giving less time and space to devote to depressing thoughts and feelings, and can stimulate the release of endorphins.

Plenty of folks have found that exercise, even just a stroll around the neighborhood, can be therapeutic, and more vigorous exercise, more so. And plenty of people really like riding bikes.

I'd say OP doesnt;'t need scare stories right now ... maybe we should get over ourselves and focus on her needs, and try to help her in this tough time for her, eh?

And TimothyH---I agree faith is the highest thing ... but saying "What happens if you are crippled" is really selfish and pushy and negative. It is not at all supportive. I cannot imagine a wise or holy man, or any one with love in his or her heart, saying that to someone in this situation.

Maybe this is all message-board BS and none of it matters. Maybe OP is a troll, who knows?

I tend to think there are times and situations where wee need to put ourselves aside and focus on others, when our compassion should override our selfishness and our desires to make our own points.

Let's wait until the OP is on her feet, in the groove, and loving life, with all its hardships, before we tell her all our horror stories or try to force our beliefs on her, perhaps?
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Old 08-11-16, 04:31 PM
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I wish I could tell you that it'll get better, and i guess I could just to do so. But nobody know what the future holds. OTOH - whatever comes your way, you'll probably be able to cope or overcome, because all that adversity has made you stronger, and you'll continue to grow stronger every day (with some reversals here and there).

In some ways life is like riding a bike, with easy days, and harder days of rain, headwinds or big climbs. You get stronger on a bike by riding more and the best hill climbers are those who have to climb them the most. Likewise with life, adversity makes you stronger, and you get better managing life by living more.

As for riding less, and any disappointment about your hopes to ride the century, that'll pass, and the century doesn't matter. Riding joy isn't measured in miles. I've ridden many centuries, done some ultra distance rides, toured extensively and can assure that there's absolutely no relationship between distance and enjoyment or satisfaction. So, don't give up on the century, because it'll give you a nice feeling of accomplishment, but don't be unhappy if it doesn't happen, as long as you're enjoyed the riding you did hoping to do it.

One of the most memorable bike moments for me was seeing a hawk swoop down over my shoulder and snag a squirrel crossing the road about 25' in front of me. That happened 50 yards from my front door, and I might have missed it if I were focussed only on pounding some miles.

So, my dvice is very simple, ride when you can, and make time for it if you can, but don't be frustrated if it doesn't happen. Every morning you get a fresh start, so consider parking your bike near your bed so it's the first thing you see in the morning, and gives you the nudge to go.
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Old 08-11-16, 07:30 PM
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Liz33 one out of five people will experience mental illness in their lives, so you are certainly not alone. I have worked in a psychiatric hospital for the last twenty years and I have heard a lot of stories and I have seen lots of people get better. Sometimes they have setbacks but at least they have experienced times when they weren't so sad. I am glad you have found cycling and if by chance you have a winter where you live try to find some other activity that can bring you the same joy that cycling does.

I come from a whatever it takes model to get better. It may mean medication, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, recreational therapy, art therapy, music therapy, religion or a combination of some or all. In most cases life will get better. I can't guarantee that but I know for those who do nothing, they typically don't improve. You are certainly moving in the right direction.

I have dedicated my life to mental health and I am in the process of getting my MSW (career change) to help those who have mental health issues. Your story is inspiring and I glad you took the time to share it with us here on BF. Keep going, you are doing well.
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Old 08-11-16, 10:25 PM
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When a painful injury kept me off my bike for a year just as cancer finished torturing a good friend to death, I discovered a improv comedy workshop. I then joined an improv troupe. The team storytelling and team role playing taught me a lot about finding and contributing to a positive narrative in life. And I take vitamin D. I still do the improv, and have been riding for the last 5 years. I now face new challenges in life including more sickness and suffering by loved ones. But despite this and other downers, the riding and improv and vitamin D have kept me sane and mostly positive. O still have a down day or two, but I no longer feel depression's soul sucking despair as openly as I did during that terrible year, and at other times before.
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Old 08-12-16, 12:25 AM
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I'm not trying to play doctor but I have some experience with your situation. Severe, chronic depression, as you describe is a medical condition. A doctor may be able to prescribe an anti depressant that will greatly improve your quality of life. No guarantees, but I resisted for many years but finally was persuaded to seek help. An inexpensive pill, once a day has helped me immeasurably.

See your medical doctor who may be able to prescribe something for you or refer you to a psychiatrist who can evaluate your situation and make you aware of your options. If the first thing you try doesn't work for you, try something else, don't give up. There are several different approaches that may not be right for you but its likely one will work.

Good luck.
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Old 08-12-16, 01:51 AM
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Thank you everyone
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Old 08-12-16, 02:41 AM
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Iv struggled with depression (MDD) for nearly 15 years now, and addiction for 11 of those years. I found joy in absolutely nothing, other than my drugs. When i finally got into recovery, it became worse. I felt i had nothing left and thinking that just getting clean was going to fix everything, well that was a huge mistake. But I actually did try to find something after awhile. I went through so many things, only sticking with them for a week or two. I was also going through a separation with my husband, so I was trying to find myself again.

I live next to a 22 mile bike path that runs along one of our highways that i drive nearly everyday. I loved watching everyone on their bikes. I kept thinking i should try cycling, but never got around to it until it was time for my then 3yr old to get his first bike. I went and bought a $10 bike off CL that was horrible, didnt even have brakes lol But i loved it. I found myself riding everyday my son wasnt there, and riding the days he was there with him. I love trying to work on them now too. Its been a year and im still loving it so much...

There are still days, sometimes weeks, that I find myself locked in my room (when i can be) with my phone turned off. But theyre not as often. Like you said, sometimes you just have to let yourself feel what you need to feel. And its totally fine, important even...as long as you dont stay there forever.
I think its wonderful that youve found joy in something again. Even just getting out and riding a mile at least, is something. And youll still have the next ride to look forward to and be excited about.
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Old 08-12-16, 04:21 AM
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Biking is good for the mind and soul. Your brain and body needs those naturally released chemicals that happen when we exercise.
I believe that biking (exercise) doesn't just make us feel better, not like a pill that wears off, it actually makes us better!
The human race is finding itself in a place where, our minds and bodies, in an evolutionary way, are still "hunter gatherers". Yet, now, we find ourselves in this modern world, many stuck behind a computer screen and living a sedentary existence. Less activity, but more stress. Our more recent ancestors had to work hard, whether on the farm or in a factory. They burned calories all day long. We, today, as a society, aren't like that much anymore.

I had a high tech job, and spent 10 to 12 hours in front of multiple screens. Ate more & more, due to stress, gained weight. Ended up seeing people all around me developing health problems. Everyone was on heart pills, BP pills, you name it, they had prescriptions for everything. They would slave away at their computers, and they too, would drink coffee, sodas, eat fast food, snacks, candy bars all day long. Stress=eat, More stress= More eat!

I knew I had to do something. Had to make a change.
I biked as a kid in our neighborhood, so did all the other kids. We took bikes apart, put some of them back together, even! Every time I bike I remember being a kid, wind in my face, biking around, care free.
Great feeling. Evey time I clean a bike chain, i think of being a kid, with our bikes turned upside down, pedaling the crank around, oiling the chain with whatever our dad's had on the shelf.

Biking helps us all mentally and physically. it's a WIN-WIN. The best way to work off stress, depression, and other ills is within us. Our own bodies. We just have to activate it.

Hardrock made a good point, we always have the next ride to look forward too!
It's really hot and humid in the DC area, so I am taking a breather after a few long rides, at same time avoiding the oppressive humidity and poor air quality. But, am looking forward to the next ride, whether it be tomorrow, or even a few days from now.

AND, lastly, we do need to take breaks here and there. Let your body heal and normalize.
So, taking some time off comes with the territory. But, there is always that next ride.
I see some nicer weather in the forecast early next week, so, I am already planning my next series of rides.

Looking forward to that next ride.
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Old 08-12-16, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH
Cycling can change someones life and give someone a reason to live but what happens if they are injured or the situation changes and they can't cycle any longer? Boom, there goes your life down the toilet again.

I'm not a cyclist. I'm just a guy who cycles. My identity and purpose are not based on what I do because those things can change, but on God who never ever changes.

Not trying to proselytize. To each his own. I don't care what anyone believes. Glad the OP feels better through riding but just asking the question - what happens if they can't ride any more?

I think, having found cycling, one can find something else, too. Once you know you can, you can't be stopped.

Don't bother with the old pizza box, though. Nothing but lies and pepperoni grease.
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Old 08-12-16, 07:02 AM
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simple truth is you are coping... your post is coping...this is just another way of dealing with your circumstances...congrats on what you are doing and keep doing it. ride when you can, post when you can not, both are tools that are working for you...
In my darkest hour I found that keeping a journal helped me... I made notes everyday...about the days I felt good and what I did, about the days I did not feel good and what I did...that was a way of coping for me....sometimes in the days I did not feel good, when I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep, reading through those notes helped me, I would read about the good days and that alone would improve my mood, give me energy to get up and do something...it is the not doing anything that is destructive...what ever gets you in the mood to move is beneficial...
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Old 08-12-16, 08:35 AM
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Liz33 (and others), I would still be married if it wasn't for depression. My ex wife got a dose of it from menopause. No amount of begging could get her to seek help came, and I am happy that you found some, an outlet and some good people here to lean on. The support I just read was heartwarming and genuine, a great combination.
Continue your journey with a clear head and when dark moments come up, shut them out or contact some good friends until it goes away.
Someone once said that the happiest people are often sad inside, but knowing yourself and dealing with it is a good way to move past those feelings.
I wish you nothing but success and glad to know that you are trying, that's more than my ex wife did.
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