I have written in an earlier edition about the enormous impact falling of my bike has had on my life. You can read about it here: http://puncturerepairkit.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/tarmac/
My experiences of hitting the tarmac didn’t make headlines, however significant they were for me. Recently there have been two high-profile cycling accidents on British roads involving famous cyclists. First this year’s winner of the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, was knocked off his bike when he collided with a van near his home in Lancashire. A few hours later Shane Sutton – the Head Coach of British Cycling – suffered a similar, though more serious fate.
These events have pushed the issue of cycling safety in the U.K. into the news headlines. While both riders are expected to make a full recovery I fear that cycling will take a battering that will take longer to heal.
Last time I let off a bit of steam about unhelpful attitudes towards people with mental health problems. Cyclists getting knocked off their bikes by careless drivers, or by their own poor road sense, puts me in mind of the way I am now feeling.
When I took a tumble back in November 2010 (as described above) I fell as if in slow motion. I felt myself relax – a good way to minimize the impact. I have not actually fallen off my bike over the past few months of not having posted, but I realise now that I have been falling. I have been falling in slow motion since….since the end of September. The lack of any drive in me to blog should have warned me. It did not. My insight was slipping away even then.
I have finally hit the tarmac. No bones broken, though my spirit has been crushed as if by an articulated lorry turning left at a busy intersection. I have learnt over the years that recovery is possible – inevitable with the right support and resources. So, I have started to take my own advice.
I have started to write my own Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Type that phrase into the search bar on my blog or google it. It is an invaluable tool to support recovery. I am notifying people I know can and will support me. I have visited the Samaritans today, and started posting once more on the support forum for members of Depression Alliance, a leading British charity of which I am a member. For those of you in the U.K. (I don’t know how foreign membership works) I have found this organisation a great help.
I have had a week off (regaining time in lieu that I have built up over the past few weeks.) It hasn’t helped. I needed to relax, and for a variety of reasons there have been barriers to this. I return to work running a Peer Support Service managing two paid staff and two volunteers on Monday 26 November. I will be talking to my boss and the team about how I am feeling. On Friday I see my Psychiatrist. I have already emailed him at length about how I am feeling.
Did anything in particular trigger this flurry of activity?
I was kneading dough ( I love baking bread) and into my mind – completely uninvited -appeared the thought so disturbing that I stopped kneading the dough and contacted my Psyhiatrist. A comprehensive, deadly suicide plan. Like an intruder it smashed a window in my brain, clambered in and robbed me of my fragile, falling ability to cope.
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound m
eAnd I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
Emily Bronte (1818 – 1848)