Friday 17 January 2020

Depression, how I cope

I have written a few posts about why I cycle. At first it was to get fit for some charity rides I'd commited to.

Looking after my wife is a big part of my world, and being healthy allows me to be there for her.

Cycling to a pub, or a cafe with friends also helps me cope. For a short time, I'm leading a normal life.

At times it feels like I'm on pause, waiting for the next task. I can't commit to anything, or relax.

So when I do get some time for myself I need to make it count. But then: it rains, I am unwell, joint plans are changed, or a bike lets me down.

I'm left with a hole I can't fill, and reality comes back into focus.

It's nobody's fault, plans change, the British weather is unpredictable. Maybe I can do something about the bikes, clean them more often, let Ross check them over regularly.

I don't think people realise the self induced stress I feel. How could they? I don't say anything.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfullness sessions have helped. They gave me a perspective that I had lost.

It was exhausting; depression caused me to be angry most of the time. Insomnia made it worse; I still don't get enough sleep. But at least I don't loose a whole night. When I started cycling regularly my sleeping improved. From the moment I get up though; I look forward to going back to bed. I never remember dreams; so for me, sleep is a time when I'm not depressed.

It was also a personal interpretation of a prayer I had read many times that saw me turn a corner. I'm not a religious person, for me it says I don't need to fix or resolve every problem. And not to worry about problems that can't be resolved straight away, or ever.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

It goes on:

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

I don't believe He will make things better, it's my life; only I can can do that.

Social media isn't helpful, there is so much negativity. I rarely get involved in commenting about posts. And if people or groups I follow become part of the problem, then it's goodbye to them.
It's very easy to become overwhelmed, I still am at times. But now I take one day at a time, and prioritise what I deal with.

I have started to conquered my depression.

The best lesson I have learnt. Take control: make decisions, even little ones. It will mean you have made a change, and know more about a situation or problem than you did.

Another is to talk, I'm no good at this one. The therapy sessions are over; who do I speak to? I don't want to be a burden, or worry people. I'm not even sure why I'm writing this.

The good thing is that I have family and friends whom I know are there for me.

Maybe if it helps someone else, that will have been reason enough.