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Cycling and Depression

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Cycling and Depression

Old 11-23-12, 04:36 PM
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ThinLine
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Cycling and Depression

First of all I am not writting this for a pity party, but does any one here have clinical depression handed down via parents and the good ole gene gang?

I suffer from it and find cycling to be very beneficial for my head. Most people don't understand, others look at me and can't imagine I have it.....I get this alot; "No f#@ckin way, you have a great job, 4 cars, 10 bikes, handsome and good looking, physicaly fit, beautiful house, etc. etc. They don't understand! Your mind plays the dark games of helpless-ness, hopeless-ness, dark hole perceptions and of course the end it all scenario.
I'm taking Cymbalta and it isn't working.

Riding clears my head and organizes my thoughts. Once again, not out for sympathy.
90% of people don't care, the other 10% are glad you have the problem.

Any insight would be helpful
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Old 11-23-12, 04:41 PM
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You're not the only one. There are certainly pros that have talked about cycling helping various things. LeMond with ADHD, I believe Tyler Hamilton talks about the bike helping his depression.

I'd be lying if I didn't think some of my cycling is just a substitute for some form of self harm.

No one has ever accused me of having a good job, 4 cars, 10 bikes, being handsome, or having a nice house though.
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Old 11-23-12, 04:43 PM
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I feel your pain, and agree that cycling is the best medicine. My problem is more anxiety than depression, but riding frequently keeps my head clear, and I feel much better than any medication can give me. Just keep riding!
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Old 11-23-12, 04:52 PM
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I've never been diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure I suffer from depression.

Riding definitely helps a lot and I slip into the dark place more the less I ride.
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Old 11-23-12, 04:53 PM
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Right with you bro, for me a combo of Wellbutrin, Lexapro and major doses of cycling. People are interesting, they understand insulin and diabetes, nitro and heart disease, tamoxifen and breast cancer but among many the most complex organ system in the body should be immune from disease requiring meds. No shame, no pity just an acknowledgment that depression, like many diseases, has a genetic component and medications are sometimes needed. That being said it is no secret amongst mental health professionals that the single, most effective and most important treatment is exercise. Like I have said in other threads, cycling is my psychiatrist's couch.
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Old 11-23-12, 04:53 PM
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I think I have genetic depression (sometimes I am just down or in a bad mood for no apparent reason... although I think this is also just part of being a mammal...). I manage it largely by trying to do things I enjoy... Cycling has become one of those things. Getting fit is also really rewarding just when you see your times improving or see differences in the mirror. There is no way cycling could hurt. Go for it.
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Old 11-23-12, 05:01 PM
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All i can say is you enjoy what you have.Be kind and be charitable,but don't let anyone put a guilt trip on you.Keep cycling and seeking.Not sure about the drug but maybe you would do better without it.Hope this helps someway.
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Old 11-23-12, 05:09 PM
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Cycling improves mental health, I have no doubt.

It is not possible to have a fully healthy mind when the body is unfit.
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Old 11-23-12, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Cycling improves mental health, I have no doubt.

It is not possible to have a healthy mind, when the body is not fit.
Mens sanu et corpus sanus
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Old 11-23-12, 05:42 PM
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I manage it with exercise and by reducing stress. Tried meds but that was a short term fix that (for me) felt worse than the disease. Hang in there - you can beat it.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:00 PM
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I find that cycling has completely eradicated any need for therapy. Give me a couple of hours on the bike, and the negative thoughts get ridden out of my system. Now I'm to the point where, if I'm feeling bad, I can think constructively about my problems even if I'm not on the bike.

Depression isn't about the lack of external comforts (though I'd be pretty happy if I had 10 bikes - can do without the cars LOL!). It's an internal issue. Studies do show that more active people are less likely to suffer from it, so keep up the riding - it's cheaper (and more fun) than therapy.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:15 PM
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For those of you on meds, I would caution you from just stopping them suddenly without professional advice. Many need them long term, exercise or not.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ThinLine View Post
I'm taking Cymbalta and it isn't working.

Riding clears my head and organizes my thoughts. Once again, not out for sympathy.
90% of people don't care, the other 10% are glad you have the problem.

Any insight would be helpful
Depression may be caused by genetics and/or environmental stress. Like diabetes, epilepsy, and hypertension, depression can be debilitating or fatal. Cycling, or other fitness activities, may be beneficial as it reduces tension, releases feel-good hormones, etc. Not all medications are suited to all persons. If the antidepressant (insulin, blood pressure medicate, anti fungal cream, etc.) is not working for you, then you should speak with the prescribing physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or psychologist (yes - they can prescribe in a couple of states). If the resolution is not satisfactory, then seek a second opinion - soon.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:41 PM
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I battled what I think was undiagnosed depression for many years. Tried - in this order - booze, hash, pot, mushrooms, acid, extasy, cocaine, GHB, therapy, food, more therapy, cycling, wife and kids. I'm not sure if I'm cured but between the cycling and the wife and kids, I don't really have much time to think about it anymore so I don't. Now I'm generally a pretty happy guy.

Whatever you think is helping is probably helping. If the meds don't work, try new ones. If cycling seems to help, keep doing it. Just don't give up and let the darkness overwhelm you - keep fighting it.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:45 PM
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Interesting thread ThinLine...thanks for starting
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Old 11-23-12, 06:47 PM
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I think the professional consensus is that a good anti-depressant combined with counseling is the most effective treatment. Many people respond well to Wellbutrin, so if the Cymbalta isn't effective ask for a switch, try something different.

Surely cycling will help, but don't do what many males tend to do and shy away from counseling. It is very important and very effective to be able to talk to somebody.
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Old 11-23-12, 06:57 PM
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Exercise can definitely help with depression; I'd be a little bit surprised if your psychiatrist or a therapist hadn't mentioned effects of diet and exercise for your condition.

That said, if your medication or other treatment(s) aren't helping, you absolutely need to discuss it with your doctor, as well as be clear how exercise improves your mood. There are numerous medications and therapies that can help.
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Old 11-23-12, 07:01 PM
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drink booze too? dont! once i quit for good my head and digestive tract got way better. took a few months to clean the pipes out but best choice i ever made. dropped 20 pounds and did some of the best riding of the decade this summer.
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Old 11-23-12, 07:12 PM
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I am a diagnosed clinical depression survivor. Take my meds as prescribed and they moderate the dark moods. Cycling helps clear my head and I feel much better when I am riding regularly like I try and do, and have been able to so far this year. Probably genetic, I remember my father could become very "dark" and then would snap at the least thing and it was Katy bar the door for my brother and I, the beatings would now begin (to paraphrase Bill Crosby.) My numerous prescription pain killers aggravated everything badly, these are gone now.

The numerous health problems I had from 2000 through 2010 could bring me down so fast when each of the 18 surgeries came to pass. Now I am doing very well, my wife and children know what I deal with and see me through each day, thankfully, and my health has stabilised very well. The doctors agree my riding has been very beneficial. It is working and I don't try to fix what isn't broken. I don't want to go back to the mid 90's again.

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Old 11-23-12, 07:23 PM
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Exercise is supposed to help with clinical depression though the exact reason why hasn't been totally elucidated.

However, I would caution against exercise as the sole treatment for depression because one could easily be injured and suffer a period of time where exercise is not possible. That would be bad...
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Old 11-23-12, 08:04 PM
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I used to suffer from anxiety rather than depression - caused by childhood sexual abuse at home. Cycling and running probably kept me from serious harm or maybe death.
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Old 11-23-12, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
Right with you bro, for me a combo of Wellbutrin, Lexapro and major doses of cycling. People are interesting, they understand insulin and diabetes, nitro and heart disease, tamoxifen and breast cancer but among many the most complex organ system in the body should be immune from disease requiring meds. No shame, no pity just an acknowledgment that depression, like many diseases, has a genetic component and medications are sometimes needed. That being said it is no secret amongst mental health professionals that the single, most effective and most important treatment is exercise. Like I have said in other threads, cycling is my psychiatrist's couch.
Actually, many people don't understand diabetes.

Like with depression, diabetics look "fine" on the outside. In the meantime, however, diabetes is eating at our insides, doing damage tthat may not become apparent for years (much like termites...in a manner of speaking).

To the OP...I don't have any magical words of advice. Just keep on riding...at some point or the other most of us here have used our bikes as a escape from the harsh realities of daily life.

Hang in there my friend. (BTW, I do admire your courage for posting what you did; most people would never be so frank and open about a situation like depression.)

Last edited by eja_ bottecchia; 11-23-12 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 11-23-12, 08:40 PM
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I'm sure I have clinical depression - been showing signs for the better part of 10 years. From the dark thoughts, to slight suicidal passing thoughts, to burst of anger, I know I probably need meds, but I will not go on them. To many risks and drawbacks. I know of two good friends that have committed suicide once on medication. I feel that I can control my self for the ost part, even though I'll suffer more than if I had taken medication.

Cycling is my means to get away from it all. I leave my problems behind and enjoy the ride.

I'm sure the stressors in life aren't helping either. Kid, big house, 3 businesses and a heavy debt burden.

Keep on, keeping on.
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Old 11-23-12, 09:12 PM
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I have been diagnosed with clinical depression, and take generic effexor. Cycling covers the rest that the effexor doesn't. My dad is likely clinically depressed, but unlike me, doesn't think he can be helped because he is too old (64)...my brother is also depressed, so I do believe I have inherited my depression.
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Old 11-23-12, 09:20 PM
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ThinLine, exercise is a great component of a solution; beating stress, keeping you healthy, and giving you satisfaction in achievements you control. Work to find a med that works...take good care of yourself. When you're the engine and the driver, you deserve no less.
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