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Social anxiety, depression and my bikes

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Social anxiety, depression and my bikes

Old 02-27-08, 10:16 PM
  #1  
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Social anxiety, depression and my bikes

I have a severe form of social phobia, and Agoraphobia. I have been suffering for 14 years so bad that I cannot go farther than 1/2 mile away from my house on a good day. I love to ride my bikes and would go for rides for hours on end until this disease has clamped down on me so hard now that I barely function. I go to work and I come home. I go out for a ride here and there but it is just around the parking lot of the local shopping center across the street. My life sucks. I need to find some kind of help. Thank GOD my girlfriend is supportive of me. If not for her I might not have been able to stay alive this long. Does anyone else suffer from this? There are nights I cannot even sleep. Actually most every night is like that for fear of waking up with an anxiety attack and ending up in the ER. I would much rather go to the hospital with bumps and bruises from crashing than from anxiety. I wish I knew what to do. I wish I had the strength to fight this mental disease but I am worn out. My '97 Trek Y3 mountain bike is my biggest crutch. We go everywhere together. Now she is beyond reasonable repair. I think it is time for her to go to the big bike rack in the sky but I shall miss her. I have several other bikes to help me now but a true friend is gone. Thank you for listening, I just need to vent before I break down.

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Old 02-27-08, 10:40 PM
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I would say see a doctor but I'm sure if you have been dealing with this for 14 years then you have been there done that. I'm also going to consider you have done counseling and/or medication. I'm not a doctor and may not have a clue what I'm talking about but you already admit that there is nothing really wrong and all of the bad things are in your head only. So with that in mind I would say pick the farthest point that you can go away from your home and ride/walk to that limit every day for a week (or how ever long you think is best, but once you decide on a time frame stick to it). After a week when you get to that limit choose a point; the next block, road sign, tree, what ever and go to that point for the next week, then move to a farther point. Have your girlfriend go with you if that would help for support.

I might be way off; I don't know I'm not a doctor, but if you where looking for a doctor you probably wouldn't be posting this on a cycling forum.

Good luck with your fight and don't give up.

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Old 02-27-08, 11:20 PM
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This might seem an odd question, but do you tend to hyperventilate?
If so, have you tried breathing control techniques?
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Old 02-28-08, 12:06 AM
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I've been afraid of a lot of stuff. Anyone that tells you that they are fearless are lying to you. Courage isn't the absence of fear. Courage is not letting your fears dictate to you how you are going to live.

This might not be too helpful. I know that phobias are irrational fears not controlled by the conscious mind and merely thinking about facing those fears can create sever reactions. You don't chose to have those reactions its a subconscious whammy. What you need is a way to make your subconscious feel safe. A Shaman would make you a fetish, a Magickian would give you a talisman, and a Witch would give you a charm but outside of any Magick their real power would be your belief in them.

Perhaps you have something in your life that makes you feel safe. Maybe it is your Trek. Find your talisman. Don't think of it as a crutch. Think of it as a life saver.
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Old 02-28-08, 12:23 AM
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Trying riding listening to music and focuing only on the road. If that doesn't work---beer, pot, and/or any type of drug ending in --"pam" should help.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by white_feather View Post
I have a severe form of social phobia, and Agoraphobia. I have been suffering for 14 years so bad that I cannot go farther than 1/2 mile away from my house on a good day. I love to ride my bikes and would go for rides for hours on end until this disease has clamped down on me so hard now that I barely function. I go to work and I come home. I go out for a ride here and there but it is just around the parking lot of the local shopping center across the street. My life sucks. I need to find some kind of help. Thank GOD my girlfriend is supportive of me. If not for her I might not have been able to stay alive this long. Does anyone else suffer from this? There are nights I cannot even sleep. Actually most every night is like that for fear of waking up with an anxiety attack and ending up in the ER. I would much rather go to the hospital with bumps and bruises from crashing than from anxiety. I wish I knew what to do. I wish I had the strength to fight this mental disease but I am worn out. My '97 Trek Y3 mountain bike is my biggest crutch. We go everywhere together. Now she is beyond reasonable repair. I think it is time for her to go to the big bike rack in the sky but I shall miss her. I have several other bikes to help me now but a true friend is gone. Thank you for listening, I just need to vent before I break down.
White feather, I am guessing that you have tried medication and cognitive therapy? What you have can be ameliorated, but it is tough.

PM me if you need to talk, please.

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Old 02-28-08, 05:38 AM
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I don't have any advice for you but I wanted to say that I wish you luck in finding a treatment that works.
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Old 02-28-08, 06:41 AM
  #8  
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Morning White Feather,

Sorry to hear about your beloved Trek going upstairs. It's a shame when that happens. They say it happens for a reason though, so that a new bike can find it's way into your heart and home. Bikes are kind of like cats that way, except they don't meow and they don't have to have a nasty litter box
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Old 02-28-08, 06:44 AM
  #9  
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Cycling. Much more effective, less expensive than prozac. Plus, its side effect. It makes you healthier.
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Old 02-28-08, 09:31 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by white_feather View Post
My '97 Trek Y3 mountain bike is my biggest crutch. We go everywhere together. Now she is beyond reasonable repair. I think it is time for her to go to the big bike rack in the sky but I shall miss her. I have several other bikes to help me now but a true friend is gone.
Pshaw! That's not a very old bike. Unless the frame is rusted through from being neglected outdoors for extended periods, it's repairable.

My son owns a dog that he rescued from the pound. She's a nice dog. Over the past few years the dog has required two significant surgeries. My son now has $5,000 invested in a dog that he rescued from the pound. He feels that the money has been well spent because he has a strong emotional attachment to the dog. I think he's right. You can always make more money but love only comes when it comes.

If I were you, I'd get the bike fixed. Sell one of the others if you have to.
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Old 02-28-08, 10:33 AM
  #11  
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In the late 90s, my Social Phobia got way out of hand, keeping me trapped in my apartment for over six months. It wasn't the fear of other people, but rather, the fear of what other people thought about me. All I wanted to to be completely invisible. It they couldn't see me, they couldn't think bad things about me.

Even after I started getting better, I'd have panic attacks in the grocery store, abandon my cart and flee the store.

These days, I think nothing of locking my bike outside the grocery store and waltzing in wearing full cycling regalia (tights or shorts, hi-viz jacket or jersey, SPD clipless shoes), strapping my helmet to the cart and doing my shopping.

I can't tell you how to get over it since I can't tell you how I got over it. I do know that therapy and meds were much less effective than they're cracked up to be--not a complete waste of time, but nearly so. Living life and recovering from minor problems and failures seems to have worked best.

Oh, and joining a bike club so I could ride with other people was the hardest thing I did, given the reputation for snobbery and cliquishness that bike clubs tend to have. It all worked-out just fine. Shop rides and club rides are the highlight of my week and people actually miss me when I can't make a regular ride.
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Old 02-28-08, 04:06 PM
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I too, have Social Anxiety in certain situations. I have tried a few different methods to try to eliminate the fear. Here is one method I have tried. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradoxical_intention It's intent is to go and do the things that you fear most, and eventually your symptoms will abate or disappear. I need to practice it more. I get comfortable and don't do the work. Good luck.
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Old 02-28-08, 08:03 PM
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Today I started having a panic attack so I went for a ride. I felt better the more I rode. I ended up stopping at work and serving for four hours. I made some money so I went shopping and bought a bike helmet. I finally decided to start wearing one.
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Old 02-28-08, 08:11 PM
  #14  
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Today I started having a panic attack so I went for a ride. I felt better the more I rode. I ended up stopping at work and serving for four hours. I made some money so I went shopping and bought a bike helmet. I finally decided to start wearing one.
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Old 02-28-08, 08:23 PM
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Excellent! Keep us updated, perhaps we can help keep you focused.

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Old 02-28-08, 10:14 PM
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A velodrome would be nice. You could put on serious miles without venturing out and getting a panic attack.
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Old 02-29-08, 01:38 AM
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The mind is a crazy thing. When your body just reacts, and the times I experienced it, my conscious mind wasn't even aware at first of the trigger! Mine was minor compared to what you're living with. Yes, keep us posted, and HURRAY for your ride!
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Old 02-29-08, 07:00 AM
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Has there been a traumatic experience in the past 14 years that may have triggered your condition?
Or since the last 14 years, has there been an open-ended situation you aren't happy with but feel have no control over? (ie. an illness, a chronically sick parent, a death of a loved one, a traumatic divorce, or bankruptcy)
These usually manifest themselves into all sorts of crippling phobias, from my observation.

Riding a bike is good threrapy. It helped me a lot when I my company went under, and weeks later, discovered my wife was having an affair and wanted a divorce. I had a nasty fight on my hands. Depression was very bad. But jumping on my old bike was what changed everything. Better health, better emotional state, better self-esteem, and gave me the will to fight on. Those who know you and love you, will always be there, and love you for who you are. Once you learn to love yourself again, the world is less scary place and it begins to look fun again. And that's what happens.

Don't look at the demise of your Trek with anxiety. Take the initiative and focus on its refurbishment or replacement. Put your energies into it and you'll feel great about the results. Feel a sense of control, and pride. When you're out for a ride, remember it's you and your friend, the bike out together. When you discover there are others who feel this connection, the world is a friendlier place because you're not alone.

As others have suggested, seek some professional advice, in case there is a physical reason for your condition.
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Old 03-03-08, 03:30 PM
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These are all great responses. Its difficult to open up this much even though a forum is somewhat anonymous. I have had social anxiety at times (Back in high school I was the runner up to second most quiet in my class back after another student who had a severe speech disability). I'm not sure where yours stems from. As another poster said, mine was worrying what other people think and feelings of inadequacy.

I was a big nerd I guess back in grade school. I had severe allergies that I can recall since the age of 5. I mean really bad. I wasn't that big of a kid. I don't know if it was the allergies but my lung capacity wasn't great so I was never good at athletics. I also moved once and did not transition well.

Solutions:

1. Anyway some solutions to your problem. First off wear sunglasses. Tom Cruise could be going down the street on a bike wearing sunglasses and a hat and me and everyone else would have no idea (unless it was regular paparazzi territory). I found a cheap pair of sunglasses that my family agrees make me look cool and I wear them regularly when I ride.

2. Can your wonderful girlfriend go riding with you?

3. I don't know if your condition is environmental or genetic but either way environment will influence it. My mom has paranoid schizophrenia and will never be normal but we have learned to accept some things and help her out. In my moms case she thinks people are after her like the mafia or the russians. If she orders a salad and points to one in the display case, but they bring her another one, she will not eat it fearing poison. As you can imagine we have learned to kind of laugh about it and try to reassure her nothing is wrong (my dad likes to grab his throat and pretend to be dying of poison, great joke).

If your issue is social in nature maybe you need to work towards defeating the heart of whatever is wrong. In my personal case I took several steps. First I realized that some people are stupid and trashy and I will not care what these people think. I cite my malicious grandma. I have a grandmother who is mean. That is her nature. I sit in my boxers and eat doritos while I watch tv on the rare occasions when she is allowed over to my parents. My parents ask "how can you sit like that in front of grandma?". I explain so honestly that she does not exist in my world. I choose not to let her exist in my world. Not to care what she thinks or what she says. This is how you truly defeat someone who doesn't care about you and shows it. And I still work on this to this day. One thing that comes to mind is "will this person I'm talk to remember this conversation a year from now?". The answer is, they won't! So don't take every word so seriously.

The next step I took was I realized I can be great. I wrote this down: "I am capable of great things." Don't be afraid to give yourself a pep talk. I once asked my dad, a very successful businessman, how do some people have huge amounts of confidence? Basically they fake it until it feels natural. Can I walk into a bar and ask a girl out without copious amounts of alcohol right now? Not unless I fake it. Theres nothing wrong with faking confidence.

So if part of your problem which I am assuming here is confidence, you need to also build real confidence while you give yourself a nice pep talk. In my case I wanted to feel handsome and athletic. I have taken steps to get towards that through working out, weight lifting, knowing how to dress myself, how to style my hair. My last girlfriend said something very classic. I invited her to my parents house to meet them for the first and last time. She saw my high school picture and said "wow, I would have never dated you if you looked like that" HA!
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Old 03-03-08, 05:48 PM
  #20  
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My biggest problem is that just thinking about leaving the house scares me, as a matter of fact I am having a slight panic attack right now thinking about going for a ride.
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Old 03-03-08, 06:08 PM
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Have you ever had cognitive behavioral therapy for your social anxiety? It's incredibly effective.
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Old 03-03-08, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
Have you ever had cognitive behavioral therapy for your social anxiety? It's incredibly effective.
Absolutely.

Even just talking to us here is good for you. A lot of us have been there, in fact, it's amazing how many people will respond to you here and know exactly what you are going through (it's all a matter of degree).

Just talk to us day by day. We're always interested.

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Old 03-03-08, 07:01 PM
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I have been a member of many forums for my hobbies, but this is the only one I have spoken to about my anxiety, it is embarassing for me.
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Old 03-03-08, 07:13 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by white_feather View Post
I have been a member of many forums for my hobbies, but this is the only one I have spoken to about my anxiety, it is embarassing for me.
Don't be embarassed--talking about it helps, and knowing that there are plenty of people who can relate to you is a big plus.

We aren't mean, and we want* you to get out on your bike and enjoy your world .

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Old 03-03-08, 07:23 PM
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White_feather,

You haven't mentioned anything about see a specialist? If you are seeing one, do you feel s/he is helping you? Regardless of how you got into this condition, you can consider it indirect programming. A good specialist should be able to recondition/reprogram you to get over the anxiety gradually.

Take it for what it's worth.
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