Tag Archives: Depression

And then…

I took Juno to the dentist this morning for a check-up, just like I did six months ago.

It’s not significant or important (except to find out how Juno’s teeth are) but it means that it’s been six months since I quit my job.

I don’t regret quitting. I do wish it had played out differently and that I was still there, getting the experience I need to get a job in a Melbourne-based newsroom.


I have some objectivity now and I can say I really didn’t like the person I was in those two months and I certainly didn’t like what it did to Juno. She was so unhappy and confused the whole time which, in turn, made everyone else unhappy. I accept that I should’ve been smarter about it and thought a good deal more before taking the job.

But I was so excited about getting a journalist job. Finally! My dream of being a journo and a writer was going to be fulfilled.

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes you really shouldn’t get the things you believe you want, especially in today’s world where journos are treated no more than assets to sell advertising and there is little regard in senior management for the skill required to craft news articles.

Eh hem…

So, it’s been six months.

The day I quit, I told myself (and everyone else) that I’d have a few weeks off to rejuvenate myself and then I would go out to conquer the world!

Except that didn’t happen. The weeks have turned into months and I found myself incapable of doing anything. I simply couldn’t motivate myself to get moving or to make any big decisions at all. The only significant decision I made was to go back to uni to do a Masters.

Essentially I fell in a heap.

I didn’t even really want to ride my bike and that’s usually something I always want to do. It took me quite a while to admit to myself that I was depressed, exhausted, physically and mentally tapped-out. I had nothing left to give and no way to make myself do anything.

Unlike my other experiences of depression, I didn’t feel like all the colour had been sucked out of the world. This time, it’s more about being unable to find the spark to motivate me, to get me moving. I couldn’t summon up the energy to do anything except what I absolutely needed to do. I have never felt so apathetic before.

Of course, one of the hardest things about depression is admitting that’s where you’re at. It’s an insidious disease that traps you in a cycle of feeling unmotivated, sad and unable to move or do anything.

After three months, I finally took myself to see my GP who gave me a script for anti-depressants and a mental health plan so I could see a therapist.

I went into therapy with the approach of being determined to sort it out within the six sessions. This depression has felt different from my prior experiences so I figured maybe a more aggressive approach would work.

And I guess it did.

In one session I brought up the concept of the waiting place which is mentioned in Dr. Seuss’ The Places You’ll Go. In the book, it’s not necessarily a good place to be. My interpretation is that it’s a useless space where nothing happens. I felt like I was well and truly stuck in the waiting place and I, at the time, could only see it as a negative thing.

However, my therapist (who is a Gestalt practitioner) told me about a similar concept called the fertile void. It’s also a place of waiting and even nothingness. The difference with this interpretation is that it takes on a positive spin. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have time to do nothing. It can be a time to restore your energy and get ready for the next big thing that’s coming along. It’s a small thing but it helped me.

I also came to realise that a lot has happened to me in my 40s. I’ve done things that most people would take 10 to 15 years to do but I’ve done them all in about six. It does feel like my life has been progressing in fast-forward. I guess I haven’t really stopped to take stock because I haven’t had the time. The best way to describe is that it feels like my life has been one great big constant Andthen.Andthen.Andthen.Andthen.Andthen.Andthen…

When you throw a small child into the mix whose demands have gone from being very physically based to way more emotionally based, it gets even more complicated. I found myself in a place where I had very little to give and it was all going to Juno.

I still feel like I’m in the waiting place but these days I feel more positive about it. At some point, things will improve and start to go my way. Things have been a bit shit but with some help, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Everyone deserves a break right?

I have been lazy. So very lazy.

My last non-commute ride was last Sunday. I haven’t been on my bike for longer than 20 minutes in a whole week. The week before I was sick so no bike riding there either. My riding partner had his tonsils out recently so he isn’t riding anywhere which has left me to my own devices. And apparently those devices are very, very lazy.

In my defence (you knew it was coming!) I did do a group training session last Saturday that included about 80 squats and 60 lunges. That left my legs feeling like jelly. I hurt a little on Saturday but I still got up Sunday morning to bang out 40km on the bike. Perhaps not the best idea because by Sunday afternoon I was struggling to get up or down the stairs. So, according to this experience, my quaddies don’t like doing that many squats and lunges.

I am hoping that doing this sort of physical training will stop me from plateauing on the bike as well as increasing my all over body strength. If my upper body is stronger, it will help me sit better on the bike which in turn means I’ll be able to ride for longer.

Because you know, it’s all about the bike these days.

It has become one of two major focuses in my life (the other still being comic books and everything that goes along with that). It feels like I’ve rediscovered a part of myself that I lost a long time ago. When I was 18 I used to ride 30km every day. I didn’t realise it then but the time I spent on a bike gave shape and purpose to my days and provided me with a sense of discipline that I lost later on. If I’d had any sense at all, I would’ve listened to the few people who told me I should’ve taken my riding more seriously. I had potential at that age but I couldn’t see it. Looking back now, I can see that, maybe just maybe, I could’ve done something with it. But no, I was young and stupid. I wasted a brief moment of opportunity. Still, there’s not much I can do about it now so there’s no point dwelling on what could’ve been. You have to focus on what is.

The last few years have taught me that only you can be responsible for your happiness. Right now, cycling makes me happy. Some people think I’m childish and reckless for doing it but I don’t care. Being on the bike is when I’m at my happiest. The last few months have been a huge struggle for me. I once again fell into the enormous pit that is depression and I sincerely believe the only reason I’m still here is my cycling. Being on my bike, achieving small goals, feeling a sense of freedom that I can’t get any other way has saved me.

I found it very hard to acknowledge what was happening to me. I couldn’t tell anyone that I needed help, that I was slowly drowning. Every day was an uphill battle to keep going. I’m certain the only reason I managed to get out of bed each day was so I could ride my bike to work. I must’ve gotten very good at hiding how lost I was because no one really seemed to notice. And to be honest, I was hiding it from myself. I refused to acknowledge how I felt.

When you’re down in the dark places, it’s the little things that end up saving you. All you need is one little glimmer of happiness and hope, something that can cast a light in the darkness. For me, it ended up being cycling. It reminds me of that 18 year old girl who had her whole life in front of her. Sure, she was stupid and naive but she had everything to look forward to. Because of it, I have purpose and shape to my life. Cycling is good for the soul. There’s no other sport quite like it. I feel like I’m part of this rather weird tribe and it’s nice to have a sense of belonging.

I know I look stupid in my cycling gear. There’s no hiding your flab when you’re in it but my love of cycling has actually managed to override my normal self consciousness about my appearance. If I can be comfortable dressed in lyrca, I should feel more comfortable in my normal clothing. Yeah, still working on that…

There are so many things I feel are wrong with me but somehow cycling cuts through it all. Put me on my bike and I’m a different person. I have direction, control, ambitions, desires, goals, fulfillment, success – so many of the things that I feel are missing in my life. The trick is working out how to translate how I am on the bike into the rest of my life. And that’s proving to be a little problematic. But what’s life without challenges?

Anyhoo… that’s enough of the long dark teatime of the soul.