Riding to beat the black dog of depression?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. Duckworth

    Duckworth Taking the high road

    Apr 15, 2009
    It certainly helps me. I suspect it has something to do with releasing more endorphins.
    klx250sfguy, squonker and Uke like this.
  2. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

    Jun 7, 2009
    good on ya pokey.... i bet you've gone through a lot of very black times to get to where you are. i'm sure you haven't seen the last of them either, but i'm stoked you've got to a pretty good place after all the crap!
    Pokey89 likes this.
  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    May 18, 2014
    Mountain View, CA
    There is a flip side to all this. If things get too dark, I'm going to ground myself -- no riding, flying, or driving anything fast -- until they get sorted out. Learned that one the hard way :D
    fishslapr likes this.
  4. peman

    peman Been here awhile

    Jun 16, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've had depression since I can remember,
    Took medications for over a decade until the side effects got too much like weight gain low sex drive and other things. Then decided to love and respect myself enough to get in shape and lost 26kg. I still have ups and downs but most of the time I'm good. i am in a good relationship atm and for some reason feel down always keeps me guessing.. one thing that helps me is to think of the good things in my life and apreciate them, good luck to all.
    Undocumented, Tallbastid and Pokey89 like this.
  5. BvilleBud

    BvilleBud Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 23, 2014
    Good thread. I sent this to my daughter a couple of years ago, thought it might be appropriate to leave here.

    This month Robin Williams killed himself, now your friend's frat brother, they both suffered from depression. I don’t like talking about it, but during some periods of my life I have dealt with similar issues. Hopefully you will never have to deal with those feelings but in case you ever do, I'm going to pen a few words that might help you, or a friend who is struggling with depression. Save these somewhere just in case you, your brother, or a loved one needs it.

    I’m no professional, but I am walking around today. Some things that helped me are:

    Seek God – remember God loves you and has a plan for your life.
    Get off of all substances that cause addiction – serious, all of them, completely off, forever.
    Surround yourself with positive people who care about you; not manby-pamby enablers, but genuine friends who are fun and lift you up.
    Focus on someone in your life that can’t get along without you; a spouse, a child, a parent, a pet, some reason to wake up tomorrow.
    Get yourself out of situations that will make you more depressed - economic, social, job related.
    Focus on tomorrow; think about how much good lies in your future, call it what you want (positive thinking, visualization, self-hypnosis), it works.
    Change your outlook – you are not a victim, you are a warrior and a winner, you will beat this thing
    Remember this never ends; keep doing the things that helped you get through.

    My life’s biggest worries are that I will listen to the sleepy demons that still whisper their lies to me every day, or that my children may inherit some of these thoughts / behaviors that I have struggled with. I have been kicking this for the last 30 years (& no drugs), and I plan on kicking it’s ass until I’m done. If I can do it others can too.

    Love you sweetheart,

  6. Gillus

    Gillus High Desert Rat Super Supporter

    Jan 2, 2008
    Alamogordo, NM
    Get out of the recliner or off the couch.
    Get a puppy, that will keep you busy. A dog is always happy to see you.
    Get outside, it is free to enjoy.
    A motorcycle ride works great for me when "I need a break".
    Siklid, KTee and Jproaster like this.
  7. Jproaster

    Jproaster I work too much

    Nov 30, 2013
    Dayton, Tennessee
    This Thursday I'm 55...and most likely, still alive. To me, that's amazing given my history.

    1. A moto is not only necessary for "miles of smiles" rather than the "harkening of the darkening", but also to cast off the culmative irritations in a given day.
    2. Moto riding with good people having fun is very positive; building community through relationships makes positive memories and creates bonds of friendship that carries weight to fight the blight.
    3. Helping others is good medicine. I operate an espresso bar- mostly by myself. The stresses of this are many, many times countered by talking with people going through rough patches. Learning to listen, sharing what I think of as wisdom, etc. has many times helped people in real ways. This relates I believe to people having purpose, which gives meaning. ***Too many people give unrequested advice and/or go excessively into their own stories- not what I'm advocating here!

    The above would not help everyone who suffers, but has helped me.

    I call myself a Christian humanist. I believe in God, prayer, and living so as to bless others as we all experience the harsh effects of life. And if it crossed your mind...no, I don't shove Jesus down people's throats.

    Bustakneecap and Tallbastid like this.
  8. KTee

    KTee Been here awhile

    Mar 1, 2017
    Saint Johns, FL
    There's not much better than seeing a great thread with so many people willing to share their experiences and lend a helpful thought.

    As I write this, I am literally stranded on the side of the road with a broken choke (dad's on the way with the trailer, but still embarrassing enough); but I can't think of any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with the bike, outdoors, and with the occasional kind soul willing to stop and chat to pass some time.

    My bike's name is Therapy and this is one of those days where she decides she's taken away enough of the lonely, bitter thoughts and instead is offering a challenge -- to think positively, see the decency in folks, and literally stop to smell the roses.

    Thanks to all who have shared in this thread. It's nice to know others have found healthy ways to cope with depression, whatever the degree.
  9. William Wolfen

    William Wolfen Long timer

    Dec 5, 2015
    Cypress, TX
    Depression runs in my family, and while I've never been particularly stricken with it, I have my own issues. Riding has been a pretty serious help for as it has a pervasive calming effect on me. Things that would aggravate me when in the truck don't bother me on the bike. Nothing fixes a lousy week like a good ride on the weekend. I just tend to call it "moto-therapy" or "sanity time". Glad I'm not the only one helped by it!
    Tenacious B, Jproaster and KTee like this.
  10. galejt

    galejt Been here awhile

    Nov 22, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    Works for me, but I never leave the BRP (there's so MUCH of it to ride!).
  11. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

    Jun 7, 2009
    a bike called therapy, that is so cool KTee. :clap
    Pokey89 likes this.
  12. howardbell

    howardbell Been here awhile

    Jan 17, 2010
    Bend, OR
    Why not? I'll post up a few thoughts from my bipolar brain, because this is an important topic and one that's very hard to wrap your brain around. I was always the class clown growing up, most of the time my mania was mistaken for ADHD, it wasn't till I was in my 30's that the cycling from mania to depression began take hold. It was very unexpected, how could this super hyperactive guy who was always being told to calm down/ settle down start to really battle with the black dog? I have experienced some cycles of mania that make no sense to anyone, myself included, one day out of the blue I told my wife I was leaving her, next day I went $70k in debt on a duramax, travel trailer and 990 baja (dr's refer to manic episodes such as this, totally lack of impulse control...). A few months later when I realized what I had actually done and implications on my 2 little girls, I seriously considered hurting myself (cute little euphemism for suicide), spent the next few weeks in a mental hospital, you know, the kind locked from the outside... It's the most fucked thing, 38 years of living happy-go-lucky, by the seat of my pants and one day, out of no where there's a voice in your head you have never heard before telling you it'd just be easier to not be here anymore than live with the consequences of your actions.

    I get that it could be worse, bipolar is no joke, but I consider myself one of the luckier one's, at least I usually run on the manic side and not the depressive end. But like all things, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so the more hyped up I get, the lower I get when I do finally crash -- think of a sin wave. I have to be careful around bikes especially, yes they can offer relief, but they can also be a curse. After a terrible divorce and hospitalization, I was bankrupt and penniless, but a few years on I saved a few bucks, and was really proud of myself. Last winter I went and blew every last dime on a new 701 and every single aftermarket bit I could bolt on, it became an out of control obsession, no guardrails. When I was done and literally down to my last dime again, I cratered hard. Went into a depression that lasted months, and thoughts of hurting myself crept back in again. I knew what I had to do, exercise is the one thing that helps me every time, but it didn't matter that I knew the answer, I couldn't get myself to the gym -- getting advice on how to break out of your depression when you can't even get out of bed is... fucking sucks. A couple weeks ago my buddy just kept nudging me towards my mt bike again, what do you know, I feel better again, finally.

    I hate to think that this my lot in life, to constantly fight against making the same mistakes over and over again. I do take a little medication, not as much as my dr would like, if I take what he wants me to I would be so knocked out and sleeping all day, so I take just enough to try and keep the swings manageable and can hopefully course correct before they go too far, in either direction. I hate to think that every time I go on a date with a nice lady that some day I am going to have to tell her that I am bipolar, that sucks, but I feel it's better to be honest about these things now. I hate how hard it is keeping friendships in tact, one day your are all up in their face you are so excited about your new "thing" (whatever it may be that week), next day, it's hard to return their text message when you are down, it's exhausting being the friend of someone with bipolar, they have no idea who they are going to get on any given day... I have had cycles of mania and depression at the exact same moment in time. I was really depressed after this great gal dumped me, I went on this huge mt bike ride to try and stabilize my mood from getting any lower, I'm climbing this nasty hill, laughing and crying at the same time.

    I am just glad we are at a place in time where talking about mental health issues isn't such a stigma, well it is and it isn't. Tell you what though, this health care debate in Congress right now really scares the hell out of me, being born with a pre-existing medical condition might all of sudden suck again. Thankful for this forum and the opportunity to share. If you are struggling with the black dog, please, keep fighting!
  13. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

    Oct 29, 2009
    I suffer from bouts of the 'black dog' and while It's not as severe as experienced by some, it still is a shit of a thing to endure. People that haven't experienced it, seem to think it's something like a cold or a headache , you know, Cheer up mate, go out and have fun, she'll be right, if only it were that simple. I have a friend who has electric shocks to his brain and even a drastic treatment such as that, don't seem to be able to help him, spring time is worst for him, he might go for a week without a sleep. It is really good that depression is brought out in the open, it is only another illness among many, It's getting rid of the stigma of being a nut case, lot of poor bastards probably did themselves in, not able to stand the shame. As far as motorcycle for therapy it certainly is that, doctors should prescribe riding instead of pills...
  14. NickW1

    NickW1 Been here awhile

    May 28, 2010
    Virginia, USA
    Two years and eight months ago my 27 year old Son lost his battle with the Black Dog. University educated, many close friends, good job, loving family, none of it was enough. His last words to me were "I love you Dad".

    I love you too Son.
  15. Siklid

    Siklid perrenial noob

    Oct 5, 2013
    Petro Metro
    Riding helped me cope with the death of my son. For a time it was the only thing that insulated me from the various hells that tormented me.... the focus required to ride well and survive pulled me out of that useless state. it provided me with escape and ultimately a source of joy
  16. juicy flawless

    juicy flawless Toxic Raccoon

    Sep 10, 2014
    Only manage 3 or 4 hrs before needing another braaap. Sometimes i head back out at 12:30AM, pottering along dirt roads in the early dark hours. The aroma of mud, flowers, and bush insect sounds is very soothing.
  17. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

    Jun 7, 2009
    at least many are better informed now, hey howard? i know many think that bipolar must be okay if you err on the manic side more than the black dog side but as you say it can wreck your life in many ways if it gets out of control. and then there's trying to find the compromise of taming the beast with drugs without getting too many side effects. glad you are still here and fighting....:thumb
    howardbell likes this.
  18. FredBGG

    FredBGG Long timer

    Jan 30, 2015
    What is your son's name?

    Sorry for your loss. I too lost a son. It's quite amazing how the activity of something like riding does wonders for you.
    I was not riding during the period of my life when Thomas died, but I was very into windsurfing. I spread his ashes on a mountain in Spain overlooking
    the bay where I windsurfed. Being able to see the mountain from where I was windsurfing was a nice way to think about everything.
    The way the activity keeps the mind busy IMO makes it easier to have other thoughts without them eating away at you.

    I ride on the other side of the world now and the hills and mountains remind me so much of the mountain in Spain.
    Makes it easier to have certain thoughts.

    Anyway I'm glad riding brings you the right type of joy and I think it's important to live a lot to remember a life that is lost or even ended in old age.

    The morning after my Mother passed away I went kitesurfing. Mother nature provided magnificent conditions! I had spent the whole night making a montage of photos of my mother for the people she new around and the service they were having for her. So that everyone could sort of be at the service. It was a rough night and being out on the water with most of my mind busy with the balancing, timing, excitement of the waves
    was quite a release.

    I have been through some nasty times and been very sad, but I'm lucky that I never suffered clinical depression, but it gave me a good idea of what people with depression have to deal with.

    What is your son's name?
  19. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

    May 13, 2012
    Oceanside CA
    Wow, great sum up of Bipolar. Most people think if you have bipolar you're running around the neighborhood with your underwear on your head having hallucinations during a manic episode. There are different types of bipolar, some people do have hallucinations which can lead to hospitalization until meds get the mania back under control, then others engage in self destructive behavior such as drug abuse or drinking, others risky behavior using sex or money. It's a big spectrum.

    Those that don't go through severe manias with hallucinations, called hypomania, often take much bigger falls on the depressed side. These folks may end up hospitalized to deal with severe depression/suicide attempts.

    It's a nasty disease, when you're up you don't want help because you feel GREAT! When you're down you have no motivation to seek help until you hit bottom. There is no cure, it's finding a balance of meds, lifestyle, self awareness techniques to keep a person cycling just above and just below a "normal" state. Don't let the highs get too high or the lows too low.

    Bipolar used to be called manic depression.
  20. phideaux

    phideaux Long timer Super Supporter

    Feb 4, 2008
    NW Georgia
    Getting on the bike helps me confront the Black Dog, but it's not just the ride. It's the tinkering, maintenance and mods. The second thing to riding though, is visiting with 'motorcycle' people. I can go spend some time over at TWO or any ADV rally and get a good dose of cure. There is, as they say, a certain form of brotherhood. I think for the most part we're purty good folks.