Graeme Obree speaks about depression and suicide in wake of Gary Speed's death

Record-breaking cyclist who twice tried to take own life explains what pushed him to the brink

by Simon_MacMichael   December 2, 2011  

Graeme Obree hour record 1993

In the wake of the death last weekend of Wales manager Gary Speed, the often taboo topics of depression and suicide within professional sport as well as in society in general have been in the spotlight. One man whose views on the issue perhaps count more than most is record-breaking world champion cyclist Graeme Obree, who twice attempted to take his own life.

Yesterday evening, speaking on the STV programme Scotland Tonight, the 46-year-old said that he had agreed to appear on the show in part to speak for those who had ended their own lives, leaving loved ones behind. 

"I think I was incredibly lucky,” explained Obree. “Part of the reason I'm here - it's not an easy thing to come and talk about suicide - is because people like Gary Speed are not here to say 'I wish I hadn't done that'.”

Obree’s second suicide attempt was in late 2001, a year after he had been plunged back into depression following the death of his brother Gordon in a car crash. He had attempted to hang himself in a barn at the farm a few miles from his home where his family kept a horse, and was found by chance by the farmer’s daughter.

"I was the guy who kicked the chair away, with two kids and a wife who I dearly love,” he reflected last night.

Speed, found dead at his home near Chester on Sunday morning in what police are treating as suicide, was also a father of two. While Obree had a known history of depression, the death of the 42-year-old former footballer was reported to have come as a huge shock to friends and family.

The previous day, the former Leeds and Newcastle star had appeared in good spirits on the BBC’s Saturday lunchtime show, Football Focus. Obree acknowledged that those left behind after the suicide of someone close to them can find it impossible to come to terms with what had led that person to take their own life.

"People, survivors of depression and suicide, where people in the family have committed suicide, they struggle to understand the reasons,” he explained.

“There's resentment, there's a lot of anger. There is a lot of feeling that they did it because that person didn't love them enough.

"There are all these resentments and feelings left over and I feel they need to hear it from someone who has actually done that and survived and lived to regret it."

In June, Obree told road.cc during a candid, two-part interview that he himself had finally found inner peace after coming out publicly as gay earlier this year.

He also revealed that most of the correspondence he received nowadays was not from fans wanting to ask him about his famous exploits on the track, but from people struggling with depression who were looking for help.

In yesterday’s programme, Obree was himself asked what it was that had driven him to attempt to take the final, irreversible step of ending his life.

Initially he replied, "It's too short a programme to get into all that,” before outlining the factors behind his decision.

“One was a feeling of isolation,” he said. “Even in company I felt that there was a bell jar around me and I wasn't part of the world, I was observing it but I wasn't part of this world whatsoever, I wasn't connected.

"I felt disconnected and purposeless, you could have given me a million pounds and I would have said 'oh, that's great' but it would have been pointless."

"People cannot understand that,” he continued. “They can't understand this. To give you an analogy, to nail it for ordinary people that might struggle to understand.

“Suppose you went to a party and you really, really didn't want to be at that party and thought 'I really want to go home' because your tired or you really hate the company, but you keep happy and smiley and chatty, clock watching knowing that it will be over soon.

"Imagine you woke up and every day was like that, and it took ten times the energy to deal with every person, being happy and smiley and life went on like that. And you want to do is to go to sleep but there is no sleep so it seems like the only option is to not be there any more.

"Also that state of mind is proper mental illness. It changes your perspective of reality and I actually believed that I was a terrible person and my kids would be so much better off if I wasn't here. It wasn't that I didn't love them. I'm sure with Gary Speed that wasn't the case.

"The main thing I want to say to people is that if someone has left you through suicide it wasn't that they didn't love you, and that's important to say that,” he went on.

"The big message I can give to anybody tonight - obviously accessing help - but my personal message is that I lived to realise how wrong I was, but other people didn't live to regret it.

"If someone is up there, and I'm not saying if I'm religious or not religious, but if Gary Speed's up there he might be saying 'I wish I hadn't done that.’ But he doesn't have a voice.

"I'm voicing that feeling: Don't you be that person that could have regretted it.

"The whole situation is like one of those slot machines where you put the coin in for charity and the coin goes round and round and down and down.

"You've got to break that spiral. Talk to somebody, do something about it. Something has to change."

STV highlighted than suicide is the principal cause of death for men under the age of 35 in the UK.

Men generally are reportedly almost three times more likely than women to commit suicide, with those 35-44 years most at risk – the age group that Speed fell into and, ten years ago when he tried to hang himself, Obree too.

Professional athletes, including those who have retired from competition, are believed to be a group with higher than average exposure to risk of suicide.

The day after Speed’s death was announced, Ronald Reng won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011, for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke, his autobiography of the German goalkeeper who took his own life at the age of 32 two years ago.

People suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts can contact the Samaritans anonymously on 08457 909090.

33 user comments

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Good for Obree to speak about it in that way, and also to focus on the people left behind.

That was my first reaction when I saw the story about Speed's death... how awful it must be for his wife and children.

A close friend of my wife threw herself in front of a train last year, leaving a husband and two children - perfectly normal middle-class family. She'd been due to have lunch with her the next day.

Initially they didn't reveal it was suicide, but said she had been hit by a car. My wife was upset enough when she first heard but once she knew it suicide all those thoughts started going around in her head - had she missed some 'cry for help', was there anything that might have changed the situation.

I realise people suffering depression are mentally in a completely different place, but it has always seemed a very selfish act to me. No doubt that doesn't seem the case to someone seriously contemplating it - I guess one just can't understand it unless you've been there.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [517 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 11:28

11 Likes

abudhabiChris wrote:
I realise people suffering depression are mentally in a completely different place, but it has always seemed a very selfish act to me.

Honestly Chris, it's A LOT worse than you might imagine. If someone is in a dark enough place to seriously consider or attempt suicide their life is a hundred times worse than yours and mine.

Obree's book apparently gives more of a handle on it than most (while giving us some great athletic performances), which is why I have a copy waiting to be read over the christmas break.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1947 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 13:20

8 Likes

I have a similar experience to Gkam, and am pleased to hear the Obree interview. Talking about it is essential to everybody involved. Obviously most importantly the person who is suffering, but on a larger scale as a society as well. Hopefully it will in time become easier to discuss

It's important to point out that everyone is capable of creating their own personal and unique Hell from which there will seem to be only one way out. Most people will not have discussed it with anyone. It's a very good description from Obree but the isolation is hard to express in words. I cannot stress enough there is always someone on the end of a phone or internet forum

The news of Gary Speeds suicide has for me been the most distressing news of the year but as Obree points out I am very luck to be in a position to regret my previous actions.

I can only echo what Gkam said earlier you are never alone. GP, mental health services, phone, the net all help but get in touch with someone

posted by lazyusername [140 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 13:38

11 Likes

Some links that a couple of friends and I have used in the past to speak to someone

http://www.depression-chat-rooms.org/
http://www.depression-understood.org/
http://www.survivingdepression.net/mainmenu/depression.html

Then finally a charity which i support, they are based in America, but will respond to email's almost 24/7

http://www.twloha.com/index.php

with this page full of helpful links and places to seek help

http://www.twloha.com/find-help/

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 13:57

10 Likes

I find myself wanting to say, "It's comforting to know that I am not alone." But it is also sad that I am having that thought in the first place.

Thanks for the honesty.

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [177 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 17:17

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Paradoxically depression isn't that uncommon amongst high achievers. From the outside Gary Speed was very successful, but from what I gather was suffering from depression. (Although I wouldn't want to get ahead of the inquest, which might find other reasons for his death).

This is nothing new. In the biblical story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel after God answered his prayers with fire (oh to be able to pray like that!) Elijah went into a very deep depression. If he were alive today he would probably be diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder (what used to be called Manic Depression - in which a person alternates between extreme states). Bipolar is treatable with medication however the side-effects affect sporting performance (which is why I refuse to take mine!).

Unfortunately our so called civilised society doesn't take account of mental health problems. I have been advised to remove my diagnosis of Asperger's from my CV (which is worse than Bipolar as there's no medication for it).

I would hope that Gary Speed's apparent suicide might make people realise that mental health problems need to be taken account of. Unfortunately media portrayals of mental health problems are usually negative, for example labelling people according to their conditions.

With that said, please be aware that the signature below is meant to be humorous not offensive!

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 19:18

11 Likes

Speaking as someone who has had to battle mental health issues I'm pleased to see the solidarity and support here. Can I also suggest

http://www.mind.org.uk/

In response to the earlier comments about suicide by train etc. I worked for many years in the railway industry and it was my experience that ironically the people who truly wanted to kill themselves rarely managed it whilst idiotic people mucking about / drunk almost invariably did.

It is very hard for the people left behind in such circumstances, they are seeking for reason, for meaning, and there may be no relief for them, depression holds people in thrall and they do not feel that they can open up to family, often because of a misguided wish to avoid burdening family / friends. It's no one's fault, it's just bloody cruel.

Shut up legs

slow-cyclo's picture

posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 19:48

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Thank you Graeme for speaking!

I love riding because when my legs are turning, I'm so much less likely to get caught up in depressive thought loops.

But then again, could I be cycleholic?

dontcoast's picture

posted by dontcoast [21 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 21:24

12 Likes

Great read, thanks for sharing that. I have a friend that suffers depression and I never really understood it, but reading the above has made it clearer for me! Thanks again.

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
3rd December 2011 - 10:39

10 Likes

If you've been there it's very clear. If you haven't it's hard to understand, and easy to make it worse for the sufferer near you. It takes more than words of encouragement, even if they're not "pull yourself together".

The sufferer has to learn to recognise the downward spiral as early as possible. They then need to learn thinking patterns that reverse the decline. I believe that otherwise the decline will always ultimately end in the same place, with the ultimate price. It may take much longer for some than others but depression feeds on itself, and without intervention from the sufferer or those around them can only go one way.

This isn't meant to be fatalistic or doom-mongering, but realistic. Drugs can help, but they're only a sticking plaster that buys time to address the underlying problem.

If you go through depression and come out the other side once, although it may return you are better placed to deal with it in the future. There is hope, always, but ignoring the issue won't make it go away.

posted by mbrads72 [121 posts]
3rd December 2011 - 13:12

10 Likes

I have to agree that difficult as it is, actually acknowledging you have depression is the key.

I'm just getting back to some normality after my second prolonged episode of depression. My wife caught me looking up depression on the web and I'm glad she did. She pursuaded me to go the doctor and get help and I now know that I was at breaking point.

I have two kids, a wife and other family who I love dearly, but I had reached a point where I had no self confidence, I felt hopeless and I was in a trance like state.

All I did was work and try to sleep, however when I closed my eyes I couldn't get rid of the vivid horrific images in head.

I couldn't see a way out before getting help, but unlike some, I never really contemplated suicide, although I thought that if I got knocked off my bike and seriously injured at least I could spend some time in hospital and get off the mad merry-go-round.

Since being diagnosed with depression I now take medication and I've had CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy.) Only a few of my close friends and family know about my depression as I still feel that it still not that well accepted by those who have not experienced it. As could be the case with Gary Speed, nobody at my work knew how much I had been suffering for the last 18 months.

My final thoughts are if you are reading this and it describes how you are feeling, swallow your pride and get some help.

RIP GRAY SPEED

Benny

posted by Bennyboy [30 posts]
3rd December 2011 - 14:39

9 Likes

I couldn't agree more with you mBrads. It is not something you recover from it is something you live with it is in my case part of me and my personality.

I don't want that comment to be interpreted as trivialising it. I know that if I don't take certain courses of action (mainly cycling trying to make myself sick, there is something about the pain which helps me) then I will die prematurely.

The drugs buy you time, the rest has to come from you

posted by lazyusername [140 posts]
3rd December 2011 - 20:30

9 Likes

Obree is proving to have the same strength of character off track that he had on. The posts above are also a remarkable contribution, both brave and supportive.

posted by FMOAB [230 posts]
3rd December 2011 - 21:54

11 Likes

Hairyairey... just interested as to why you would put Asperger's on your CV ?

Is it relevant to your potential work, in the sense that you would expect an employer to make some adjustment or take account of it ? If not then why mention it.

As far as I'm aware Asperger's (and for all I know, other mental illnesses) are not considered disabilities in the context of employment and anti-discrimination law. Maybe they should be, but that's another discussion.

Genuine question, not trying to criticise. I have two sons with Asperger's (still at school) and I would strongly advise them against mentioning it when the time comes.
One has Tourette's as well, which may well require some employer consideration or awareness, but I would still be very cautious of putting it on a CV.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [517 posts]
4th December 2011 - 8:56

10 Likes

Have started a thread in the Tea Stop forum if for anyone who wants to discuss mental health and cycling

posted by lazyusername [140 posts]
4th December 2011 - 10:40

9 Likes

abudhabiChris - both Asperger's Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder are considered disabilities under the Equality Act and the preceding Disability Discrimination Act. I am however having a battle with the Court Service which thinks I do not have a disability. I am hoping to get the EHRC to back me and I met with them last Friday. I'm about to email them about this.

The fact is if I have the condition there is no reason not to mention it. If an employer won't take me on because I have this condition (and I suspect two sister companies earlier this year did not because of this) then I don't want to work for them. If you are going to work for someone a condition as serious as Asperger's will become obvious and if you don't tell them they can't make allowances for you. (One solicitor once suggested to me that if I mentiong it then they wouldn't dare not employ me but I wouldn't want it to be like that). In fact if everyone was upfront about disabilities employers would realise how difficult it would be to discriminate. Last week I was at an event where a manager from CancerResearch UK (whom I believe plotted to have me sacked) claimed they found it difficult to get skilled staff so I challenged him whether they had sacked their first Systems Administrator (ie me) for his disability. He denied this, but I pointed out that it was hard to understand how a company that claimed to be a diverse employer could sack someone because they "would not fit in" (the actual words used at tribunal).

Employers aren't allowed to ask if you have a condition under the Equality Act however this does mean that some employers try to ignore issues of mental health. They take a "head in the sand" approach which helps no-one.

Getting back to the point of this article I don't normally watch Football Focus but I watched it yesterday to see how they handled Gary's death. I thought they did really well and they were definitely upset by what had happened.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
4th December 2011 - 19:59

8 Likes

The real problem is that in this country it's very hard to get proper help until you are already suicidal and even then it's not great. If you are a drug addict or a alcoholic or anorexic you may be able to get some help, but if you're depressed, you're out of luck.

We have a very poor attitude to mental health in general and apart from a few charities there is no consistent, national support service you can go to that is properly funded. If you go to your GP you may, if you're lucky get 6 sessions with a partly qualified or trainee counselor working for free on placement or similar because the Gov doesn't provide proper funding for mental health problems like depression; even though, as much as 25% of the population have either ongoing problems or will experience a period of depression in the life.

So, hats off to people like Graeme Obree for standing up and taking about his experience, the more depression is put out there as a real problem that shouldn't be swept under the carpet or muttered about in hushed voices, the sooner it might get taken seriously.

posted by jbp [15 posts]
4th December 2011 - 22:45

10 Likes

Thanks to everyone for some great posts. I reckon depression is quite common among cyclists, maybe for some of us it is a reason why we NEED to turn those pedals. Sometimes I have no energy at all, and even wonder if its CFS or ME but then I have a spin on the rollers, or a turbo session or occasionally venture outside! Then I always feel better, shows it's a chemical imbalance thing that I can right best with pedal spinning endorphins.

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [62 posts]
5th December 2011 - 0:43

9 Likes

Like some annoying wheel sucker I have been following this articles posts since it came out. It is refreshing to see so much sense and wisdom written about something so complex and emotive.

I have never experienced depression so admit I do not know what it is like to live with. As a cyclist I sometimes try to imagine depression as being forever stuck alone on the hill from hell on my nightmare day. The incline never relents my: heart, lungs, legs and head just want to burst but they won't. I know it is a hopeless struggle. I want to climb off and cry, but somehow my cleats are welded to the pedals. There is no option but to go on. So with every pedal stroke the ever deepening abyss at my side becomes ever more inviting. I know this is a simplistic analogy but it works for me even if it doesn't get even close to the true misery that is depression.

There is so much in these posts that talks about the reality of living with depression particularly that lonely isolation that can never be experienced by others. Yet the cruelly ironic and sad fact is that it is a loneliness experienced by many others. Suicide is the largest single cause of death for the 5 to 35 year old age bracket and males are about 3.8 times more likely to take their own lives than females, I do not claim that either genders journey with depression is any worse than the others but there would appear to be a response differences based on gender.

As some contributors points out exercise does help but research is indicating that this is only true for males, for women cycling seems to be of neutral impact on the condition. But hey it's all distribution curves so if it works for you it works.

Everyone acknowledges that the most important step towards recovery is admitting you need help and that help will be different for different people. Accessing the help that you need/want maybe a different matter, indeed a battle in its own right. A battle that is made all the harder when the depression is telling you that you that it is all hopeless and anyway you are not worthy of help, just please keep asking. Once accessed do not expect a magic tablet or therapy (to be honest they do not exist) all treatments (if you want to call them that) take time. So give your treatment time remember In some cases you will feel worse before you feel better, and protect yourself, be honest about what is happening to you and how you feel.

I suspect Ultimately the solution comes from within the person, this shouldn't be surprising you are doing the real work. If I can make another cycling analogy it is like being a sprinter in a grand tour team. There are eight other cyclists in the team each plays a part in ensuring that you get to the finishing straights with the opportunity to sprint. Along the way they will try to protect you, nourish you and help you through the the tough sections. However, at the end of the day you are the one that travels the route and does the sprinting, so it is with depression but with depression anyone who crosses the line is a winner. Unfortunately this perspective does allow some care professionals the get out clause of blaming the patient when things are not going to plan.

I hope this does not come over all doom and gloom or alternatively that what needs to be done is to “pull yourself together” or “leave it to the medics”. These kind of sentiments are far from my perspective there are no such simple certainties, but I sometimes find myself wishing there were. What I do believe is that the true heroine or hero in any depression story is the depressed person.

So to all the contributors to this thread who have given a bit of their story I end with the traditional cyclists pronouncement of respect Chapeau!

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
5th December 2011 - 1:56

7 Likes

whizzkid wrote:
Thanks to everyone for some great posts. I reckon depression is quite common among cyclists, maybe for some of us it is a reason why we NEED to turn those pedals. Sometimes I have no energy at all, and even wonder if its CFS or ME but then I have a spin on the rollers, or a turbo session or occasionally venture outside! Then I always feel better, shows it's a chemical imbalance thing that I can right best with pedal spinning endorphins.

I don't think depression is necessarily more common among cyclists. I believe depression is more widespread than is generally realised. Perhaps the number of contributors with a history of it suggests that cycling is one way some can help with dealing with it (though for many serious sufferers just the thought of getting out of bed is terrifying).

lushmiester wrote:
Like some annoying wheel sucker I have been following this articles posts since it came out.

Nothing wrong with lurking and reading before you chip in. Good post, thanks. As others have already said, wider recognition and understanding will make dealing with depression and similar illnesses that bit easier. If Gary Speed's death prompts more people to discuss depression, suicide and so on more openly then at least some good will come out of it, and maybe it will prevent the same thing happening to someone else.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1947 posts]
5th December 2011 - 12:35

6 Likes

Like the above comments,havin suffered from depression myself for over 15years and lost my brother to suicide,its good to see people coming out and speaking about depression,the only good thing to come out of gary speeds suicide is that people are coming out and speaking about it,for years i had no where to turn,doctors would say here some pills and see how you get on and i aways thought theirs got to be a better way than this,fortunate for me i found tm meditation,all my depression and an anxiety and fears have disappered over the years,it is the best form of stress release any one could do and its so simple to learn and do. Google info at Meditation Trust

robbo764

posted by robbo764 [52 posts]
5th December 2011 - 16:45

5 Likes

Google Meditation Trust,such a simple technique to learn and you will overcome depression and many more benfits

robbo764

posted by robbo764 [52 posts]
5th December 2011 - 16:53

4 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
As much as this is going to sound awful, I'm glad to see interviews like this, I myself have suffered from manic depression for 15 years since the age of 12, I have tried and failed suicide 3 times before i finally started to get proper help from professional's, before i always turned to my friends, whom i knew i was putting a huge amount of stress onto and it was upsetting for them to watch me go through my episode's.

If there is one good thing to come out of Gary Speed's awful death, its that young people who admired him and may have been suffering with depression or feeling low, might seek out some sort of help.

I still have good and bad days, but so does anyone else in normal life, its just my bad days tend to last weeks, sometimes i don't leave the house for several days, but now that my family know i'm dealing with it, its not so much of a concern, I find my happy place when either putting my body through a stupidly long session on the turbo trainer and knacker myself out or going on a long ride out somewhere quiet, where i can be away from everyone and everything.

There are many forms of help out there, I have never personally called the Samaritans, but i'm sure they are useful, as are your own doctor and any mental health clinic near you.

Another way to talk to people i've found is the internet, many depression charities have live online "help" centres a bit like Ebay's live help, if you've ever used that? Or you can text, skype or email many of them aswell, In the age where everything is accessible at the click of a mouse and very anonymous, there should be nothing holding you back from reaching out for some advice or help to others in the know. I'd even invite PM's through here if anyone wants more advice as to where to turn to next? Just remember, no matter how you feel, your NEVER alone and no matter how isolated you feel, the internet is a great place to lose yourself anonymously and get help.


Google Meditation Trust

robbo764

posted by robbo764 [52 posts]
5th December 2011 - 16:54

5 Likes

Do you work for or just like to advertise Meditation trust?

Is there a need to say it 3 times in as many posts? Yes it may work, but it certainly didn't for me and i would advise people to get professional help before meditational help anyway, it wouldn't be a first port of call i would give anyone and after my experience's trying various different forms, i wouldn't go near it again

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
5th December 2011 - 18:55

4 Likes

On the subject of getting help, the best place to start is with your friends or family. It's sad that people struggle with depression without sharing it with those closest to them. Usually it's because they don't want to burden them with their problems. Forget about that!

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
7th December 2011 - 22:40

3 Likes

Graham's been an incredibly brave and influential character in sport for talking so candidly about this, and I've found his ability to capture the feelings so clearly in writing very comforting in an odd way in that it shows me other people have felt the same way and lived to say that there's something else to look forward to.

I have tried to express what he has but can never quite articulate it as it seems self-indulgent or weak when I do. Despite writing a blog on here regularly earlier this year I've not been on here in ages because I've been caught in a nosedive following my accident in April. I went from riding my bike every day, feeling fit and positive enough to take on the Etape to being totally crippled by self doubt and unable to look people in the eye and it still feels like I'm just scraping along the bottom of life; even though the physical injuries have gone it's all I can do to force myself out the house and to work in the morning and though I'll lay my gear out and pump the tires on my road bike the night before a planned ride, I wake up and find myself stuck in a mire of despair and can't do it. The accident played a part in that I wasn't able to ride for a couple of months and that, combined with forced inactivity in general was enough to tip the scales and start that long, suffocating descent into darkness.

Once it starts there's very little to do apart from grip the sides tight and pray that you'll come out the other side some day. I don't know how to describe it better than Obree, and I can't offer much advice but for me medication is a very tough call as previously although it helped in the short term, it left me feeling totally alien and devoid of feeling-like I could walk through life and never be touched by anything again, which is incredibly disturbing.

The NHS takes a band-aid approach much like with anything else that is percieved as non-critical-CBT for me is like dog training or something and the doctor himself was almost apologetic in offering it to me, although he was still better than another one that asked me if speaking with a priest might be of interest (I'm not religious and have never expressed any desire to do so...) so all that leaves is paying for very expensive psychotherapy privately. I used to run my way out of depression until my knees went (NHS again not interested in anything other than the most cost-effective remedy, regardless of success) then riding my bike probably saved my life until an idiot driver almost put me out of my misery for good, so now I'm not sure where the answer lies though I'm trying to save up for some time somewhere quiet and warm to ride myself up and down a hill until I feel better again.

...  Soyez Realiste-Demandez L'impossible ...

posted by Gregoire500 [138 posts]
8th December 2011 - 18:56

3 Likes

hairyairey wrote:
On the subject of getting help, the best place to start is with your friends or family. It's sad that people struggle with depression without sharing it with those closest to them. Usually it's because they don't want to burden them with their problems. Forget about that!

Absolutely, because particularly if they live with you they will certainly know about it!

Greg, it is saddening to hear you've been (or are going) through the mill in such a way. After looking you up I remember the long post about your crash. I don't recall any self-indulgence, I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. I liked your blog entries.

Would a change of meds help? I know all these SSRIs are different (e.g. Fluoxetine AKA Prozac, Sertraline, Citalopram etc) and work in different ways. On that front a reasonably well-informed and interested GP can make a big difference. But suggesting a priest...? Words fail me!

Would any of the links further up this thread be of use? Don't dismiss them if you haven't tried them.

As for getting out on the bike, is there any way you can start small? Or perhaps someone you could ride with who could prompt/nudge you into slinging a leg over the horse? Perhaps making an arrangement to ride, even if it was just a brief ride or a regular spin just once a fortnight, would work to dispel those feelings that stop you going when on your own.

If you are able, and you appear to be considering it, I'd recommend exploring the 'biking holiday' angle. I've not done that myself (but would love to) so can't recommend anyone, but I've read of people going to places like Corsica or the Canaries for a winter biking break and Vitamin D top-up.

I get the impression that CBT can be of long term assistance to those stuck in a negative mindset but otherwise in fair fettle. However, the patient would have to be well enough to actually take on board the changes. Those with 'proper' depression are sadly scraping along the bottom, as you put it (horribly accurate, I'm sure) and in no fit state to really put CBT into action.

Hope you find something to help get you back on your feet (and your bike) again.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1947 posts]
8th December 2011 - 23:51

3 Likes

Simon E wrote:
whizzkid wrote:
Thanks to everyone for some great posts. I reckon depression is quite common among cyclists, maybe for some of us it is a reason why we NEED to turn those pedals. Sometimes I have no energy at all, and even wonder if its CFS or ME but then I have a spin on the rollers, or a turbo session or occasionally venture outside! Then I always feel better, shows it's a chemical imbalance thing that I can right best with pedal spinning endorphins.

I don't think depression is necessarily more common among cyclists. I believe depression is more widespread than is generally realised. Perhaps the number of contributors with a history of it suggests that cycling is one way some can help with dealing with it (though for many serious sufferers just the thought of getting out of bed is terrifying).

lushmiester wrote:
Like some annoying wheel sucker I have been following this articles posts since it came out.

Nothing wrong with lurking and reading before you chip in. Good post, thanks. As others have already said, wider recognition and understanding will make dealing with depression and similar illnesses that bit easier. If Gary Speed's death prompts more people to discuss depression, suicide and so on more openly then at least some good will come out of it, and maybe it will prevent the same thing happening to someone else.


Didn't say it was more common, I said it was QUITE common, my apologies if my comment implied that.

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [62 posts]
13th December 2011 - 23:14

6 Likes

Well it depends on what sort of meditation you hav tryed,i tryed many before finding a proper teacher thats where the difference lies,have you googled the trust,have you looked yourself and no i dont work for them,i just think its a simple technique to use and great for all sorts of things as well as depression,take a look at the great work being done by david lynch foundation in america,lots of war veterans who suffer ptsd have used meditation and are now living their lives properly,also ive spoke to graham about this technique and he passes good comments back to me.
many thanks

robbo764

posted by robbo764 [52 posts]
15th December 2011 - 9:18

3 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Do you work for or just like to advertise Meditation trust?

Is there a need to say it 3 times in as many posts? Yes it may work, but it certainly didn't for me and i would advise people to get professional help before meditational help anyway, it wouldn't be a first port of call i would give anyone and after my experience's trying various different forms, i wouldn't go near it again


Well it depends on what sort of meditation you hav tryed,i tryed many before finding a proper teacher thats where the difference lies,have you googled the trust,have you looked yourself and no i dont work for them,i just think its a simple technique to use and great for all sorts of things as well as depression,take a look at the great work being done by david lynch foundation in america,lots of war veterans who suffer ptsd have used meditation and are now living their lives properly,also ive spoke to graham about this technique and he passes good comments back to me.
many thanks

robbo764

posted by robbo764 [52 posts]
15th December 2011 - 9:21

4 Likes