It festered, as a horrible lie, feasting on my brain, telling me there was no hope and no purpose, convincing me that I had little, if anything, to offer. After spending a number of years working towards my goal of making a career out of being a cyclist, I lost total motivation and developed a paralysing anxiety. I’d roll out the door and spend the next three hours mustering with each second only the guts for the next pedal stroke.
On some days the darkness was so consuming that I’d pull over to the side of the road periodically, just wanting to cry, but with no ability for tears. I’d grab my helmet, wishing to shake the messiness out of my head. The feeling didn’t stop when I got home, rather, it consumed my every waking moment. So, I left the sport and tried to find life and hope elsewhere. I thought that the bike was causing my burden, I walked away with only bitterness and despair. I had no appreciation of what I had achieved and no real knowledge of what to do next.
Over time it became apparent that it wasn’t the sport that had held me captive and brought an incessant conflict to my soul but that my black dog was an illness that spread its fear-filled fingers across all aspects of my life. I realised that there was no quick fix, no magic cure.
Learning to manage It has been a process, one that has over time involved the assistance of psychologists, doctors and support from those who have believed in my future of hope even when I haven’t been able to see it for myself. Through this process I have found that my thoughts and feelings can sometimes betray me and paint an untrue picture of my world, filling my heart and mind with doubt and fear where it doesn’t belong.