Wednesday 23 September
Weather: Overcast, grey
It occurred to me recently, that my body could quite easily be likened to my bicycle.
In order to move forward, it has to endure countless ups and downs, just like my pedals. My mental health could easily be likened to my suspension forks, whose job it is to absorb the lumps and bumps from the road and smooth the path forward.
As my hands hover vigilantly over my brake levers, they could very easily be likened to my sense of self-preservation, only coming into play when I sense danger. And my brain, like my bicycle, has many gears that I do not use.
I could go on for hours, dropping cycling metaphors, but I’m guessing that you’ve already got my point.
My bicycle is old and shows obvious signs of wear, but it is still good for many more miles. My bicycle isn’t simply one item, but a complex collection of moving parts that come together to form a working machine. When something stops working, the solution is easy. Readjust/repair or replace the broken part. This (laboured metaphor) should therefore also apply to me as a person.
As someone who suffers from mental ill-health, there are times when clearly it doesn’t. But like my bicycle analogy, I am slowly changing the way that I think about my illness.
This is a truly difficult thing to do on your own, but professional help is so slow at presenting itself, that I cannot wait. The best example I can think of are the suspension forks on my bike. Liberated from my son’s former bedstead-of-bicycle, they are cheap and nasty and offer no adjustment. And due to me being big-boned (coughs nervously), they compress almost all the way when I get on. Terrible? yes. Unsuitable? Absolutely, but do they stop me riding my bicycle? Not at all.
One day, I may have enough money to afford to rectify all the problems, but I’m not waiting until then.
The Cycle Path to Recovery is calling my name and as the ‘green of summer’ turns into the golden colours of autumn, a whole new season of cycling pleasure awaits.
I’m going to pedal my worries away and use my elbows to absorb the shock of the trail. And for the very first time, I’m going to use all of my gears!