Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cycling is my anti-depressant

I was telling someone the other day how amazed I was at the number of people that we see in clinic that are on anti-depressants. It's completely shocking. I got a very interesting comment back-

(this is probably not verbatim)

Do you ever think that depression is sometimes a sign that we are unhappy with things in our life and instead of changing things to make ourselves happy, we seek pills to cover it up?

I thought it was very insightful. I realize that many people have major depression and have chemical imbalances. And I think anti-depressants are amazing drugs for people like that. But I think this account for a small proportion of those that are medicated for depression.

So I got to thinking about times I have been very down. The last time I was really upset (as in, sitting in my room and crying- not eating for 2 weeks kind of thing) was the impetus that got me into triathlon. And I discovered the world's best natural antidepressant- cycling. I don't think that words can describe how much I love cycling and how much pure joy it brings me. I have met and cycled with probably 100 different people out on the roads in the past year (some of which are now my dearest friends), it gets me outside in the beautiful park system of Cleveland, and there is no denying the effects of endorphins. So this weekend I am the happiest girl in the world. I went out on Wednesday in the 90 degree humid heat for the best 34 miles I could have asked for followed by some amazing food and company. Then I hit the Summit county metroparks for 66 miles with a different group of remarkable and fun people. Then today I went out with my Wednesday buddies for 45 miles in the most beautiful weather Cleveland has ever seen. I will cap off my weekend with 76 hard miles with the Shaker Cycling roadie group tomorrow. This will be quite a challenge, but no less fun than the other rides. Could a girl ask for a better weekend?

As another note of anti-depressants... I think animals serve a good role for that too. Maddie has been particularly snuggly lately. I was sleeping like the dead the other night. I woke up feeling warm and really rested. When I came to I realized that I was spooning Maddie. The little sneak had managed to climb on the bed and was resting comfortably next to me, head on the pillow, sleeping as soundly as I was (she never sleeps on my bed!). Then the next morning when I woke up I had a black furry paw on my shoulder. She had done it again and was sleeping behind me, again with her head on the pillow. Funny stuff!


Happy 5th Birthday, Maddie bear!


Wes said...

"Could a girl ask for a better weekend?"

I dunno... Maybe a hot date and little cuddling with Maddie :-) to go on top of the cycling! LOL...

Rachel said...

You're spot on. Exercise is the cure for everything! Depression sometimes sets in for no apparent reason. With therapy, anti-depressants can help accelerate recovery. However, few doctors have plans to wean off the pills, which I hate. I've found between my animals and exercise, I can go about completely drug-free!

Charlie said...

Happy birthday Maddie.
Sounds like the perfect weekend.
I think retrieving my bike from my folks house marks the moment my life turned around.
Ride for joy!

qcmier said...

I've got some depression and the only prescription is MORE TRIATHLONING.

JimmyNick said...

Have you ever ridden w/ the Heightsriders group? T-TH nites (in season) and most weekends (yr-round, weather permitting) from First Baptist Church on Fairmount. Mostly racers, a few triathletes. If you're interested, we'll get you on the listserv.
I think you stole my dog, BTW.
And visit my new blog!