The Black Dog doesn't go away!
Michael's email to Steve
The Black Dog doesn't go away . When you get older it becomes more tenacious. Like the Staffy once the teeth set in it is hard to get it to let go. I know as I have fought it all my life, now 58. In my case gets harder to cope. Getting on the bike is good but not everyone knows or understands the difficulty in coping. Being part of the GTR forum And The FarRiders group is good but it is hard to let people know how tough things can get. The FarRiders is a group of people into long distance rides, obviously they are quite tough mentally, giving info to them is probably not on even so the GTR-Aus group. I feel isolated, I have a Psych Dr and have been on Anti depressants. Helps but not the cure, its a life time condition. Very hard to open up to people about the condition, can drive me to drink at times, no drugs though. Still have a good job and Married life. On the outside looks like I have nothing to whinge about, But inside there is this a hole, like I don't belong. Waking up is a disappointment most days, but I carry on. Getting out on rides is good, getting the time to do them is hard due to the job. Try to balance life commitments also hard. Admire what you are doing but sometimes I think where does all this go? Into more studies, committees, workgroups, etc. To give an example over the last two years have been in private Psych ( as I am a Psych Nurse), broken collar bone, sleep apnoea, Mild MS, cardio myopathy, wife had mastectomy due to breast cancer with all the follow up Chemo, Radiotherapy and ongoing meds. I wonder where it all ends.
Again admire your work, but on the ground and face to face it just doesn't seem to happen. We have no ongoing support to try to keep it all together. No-one wants to be a part of someone with a problem. Sorry to offload but just my feelings today.
Thanks for making contact.
I can't profess to know what it is like to live your life but I would have to say from everything you've shared with me in your email, the fact that you are still with us is testament to your strength and resilience. I wish you could have come on our recent Ride to the Red Centre. For many of the riders, quite a few who suffered from depression, some who had attempted to take their life, it was an opportunity to share their experiences with others in a safe environment, one where they wouldn't be judged, one where they could simply talk about how they felt and be listened to. The feedback I have received is that it has changed some people's lives for the better.
Please don't resign yourself to feeling that no one cares and that no one understands. There are organisations and people who will provide support, you are not alone! I would love to put you in contact with our BDR Ambassador Angry Anderson who shared his own very personal story of childhood abuse, the depression he later suffered and how he ultimately came to win his battle with the black dog through therapy, self belief and determination. I'm sure he would be happy to talk with you.
I certainly don't think Black Dog Ride has all the answers but whilst I feel that we are making a difference I will continue my mission of raising awareness (I know you are acutely aware of the illness but more than 45% of sufferers don't seek treatment) and continue to raise money which goes to the Black Dog Institute to help them conduct clinical research and community education programs. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
I noticed your reference to being a member of FarRiders, I joined that crazy bunch of long distance riders a couple of years ago but have only been of a couple of official FarRides. I guess I've done many unofficial ones during my Black Dog Rides but the whole thing with FarRiders is that it's really just a personal achievement anyway, something you do for yourself, not to impress someone else. I find that people who aren't in to long distance riding just don't understand. Funny that!
I hope you will consider joining our BDR to the Red Centre next year, we really had an amazing journey on this year's Ride. If you are interested in keeping in touch I am happy to include you in our regular Newsletters.
This link has some interesting stories http://www.ruokday.com.au/content/stories.aspx .
Don't let the mongrel black dog win Michael, keep up the fight and please remember that you are not alone. It's ok to talk about it and it's ok to ask for help.
Hi Steve would like to thank you for your reply. Was feeling particularly down on the day of posting. Over the years feelings have come and gone although they never really go away. It's a bit like being stalked by a dangerous animal. Any way exercise and good hobbies/interests help. Would like to be part of next ride, work gets in the way somewhat but will be following the site. Would love to meet Angry Anderson sometime.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
Would love to have you join our next ride. Many of the riders on this year's ride commented that they benefited enormously from the experience, some even saying it was life changing.
I've added you to our Newsletter members list so you can keep abreast of what's happening at Black Dog Ride.
BTW, Angry is planning to do the whole ride next year so you will get to meet him if you join us.
Cheers for now.....Steve