Mental Health Awareness week-How cycling has helped a friend

My mental health & cycling.

Not sure how to explain my relationship between me & my bike. I first discovered it just over five years ago.

I’d just about survived the previous 4 years, a big breakdown at work in 2011 saw me in hospital, suicidal , empty, lost. I also have epilepsy & my seizures did not help my mental health or my physical health . By the end of 2014 my weight was such I couldn’t get up the stairs at home without being out of breath & I was still without a driving license because of my last seizure. I still don’t really know why, perhaps I was tired of public transport, but I bought a hybrid bike to try to get around. I rode about 4 miles on that first day & I was knackered but what a sense of achievement. It went from there, further & further, 10 miles, 15 miles & nobody else in my head. On the bike you can’t totally switch off , the roads require concentration, but the solitude is such an escape. I can’t cope with a lot of life issues, I lean on my wife for so much, I haven’t worked full time now for nine years, not sure I ever will again. The bike allows me to the freedom to discover so much & recover from my worries. Depression, anxiety, fear, mental health, call it what you will, is a difficult condition to live with, everyday is a battle. Cycling is one of my escapes, it gives me total switch off from the world. As I got better I joined cycling clubs, I’ve cycled in Europe, taken part in events I had no idea even existed & discovered that I can, I am somebody, because I didn’t give up on the bike, I shouldn’t give up in life.

So that’s me, surviving life & riding my bike.

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