Head games, it’s ok to not be ok. 

While my many years of grappling with depression seem now to be behind me I now get to unpack my anxiety and other mental health challenges. 

Exercise has done wonders for my confidence. I’ve tried things, they work out or not, and nothing bad happens. 

The weird thing is I can have a great week of running bracketed by a really crappy bike ride. Smiling and feeling great mushed around crying and negative self talk. 

I had a pretty shit 60 km bike ride a couple weeks ago with Victor, Sam and Michel. I was tired. I hadn’t biked at all for 2 months and it was colder than I had the gear for. 

I want to say that the first half was fine but I had a huge anxiety attack as we left town. 

What am I thinking? I can’t do this! Who am I kidding? I’m lazy and stupid and there’s no way I can do a 600 km ride next year. Nope.  No way. I’m an idiot. 

I admitted to Sam I was having a moment. It quickly passed and the ride up into Ilderton felt good. 

When we got out in the wind I was quickly chilled to the bone and was miserable from Ilderton home. Openly miserable. Crying. We got into London and I was shivering, cramping and really tired. We were in traffic and I totally lost my shit, so much so I had to go up onto the sidewalk and wail. I cried and sobbed so hard Michel asked if he should get the car. I couldn’t stop crying and wailing. It was so embarrassing. Thankfully the heavy traffic drowned out my ruckus. 

I got back on my bike and we toddled the rest of the way home. 

It took my a couple hours to warm up and be ok. 

After food, warming up and showering I put my tiara on and got on with my life. 

I don’t know why cycling taps deep into my anxiety or why when I really push my comfort zone I’m reduced to a wailing woman who sounds like a six year old. My body adapts quickly to activity but it’s the head game that I struggle with. 

I only got back on my bike this week for two short spinning stints on my trainer. I’m trying to be kind to myself and realize it’s going to be ok. Of course I can train up to do the PWA 600 km Bike Rally for Life. I went from cycling 20 km to 60 km in two months, I got up to 100 km and did 3 or 4 of those this season. 

So when I feel like this:

I need to remember I also more often feel like this on my bike:

And if you ever see me losing my shit on the side of the road, don’t worry, it’s ok to not be ok sometimes. I’ll ask for help if I need it but sometimes I just need to wail a bit before I move on. 

13 thoughts on “Head games, it’s ok to not be ok. 

  1. Yeah, that wasn’t an easy ride once we made the turn at Ilderton. Question: I debated mentioning the tail wind on the way out there, knowing the way home would be tough ( usually you want to ride out into the wind, home with the tailwind but it was Victor’s route) but you were doing great so I kept quiet. Should I have mentioned what I knew was ahead? Also, is Santa bringing you warm cycling clothes for Christmas? Looking forward to spring riding with you and the rest of our bike rally team! It’ll be so much fun.

    1. Hehehe I knew about the wind before we went out. The Air Navigator in me always grabs the Nav Canada wind charts. You can always share info but it’s not your job to take care of me.
      It just so happens Santa (my sister Anj) is getting me winter tights and my folks a winter jersey 🙂
      I was mostly kicking myself for not cycling more in Oct & Nov. I’m back on my bike now though, it was just the wake up call I needed to motivate my winter spinning. 🙂
      We are SO going to have fun on the ride. I get to see everyone’s Lycra bum!!!! Wahoo!

  2. “it’s ok to not be ok sometimes” I AGREE! And wish we could accept this as a culture instead of trying to keep everything under control all the time. Thank you!

    1. I find too I have to tell folks that’s it’s ok I’m not ok because it causes others stress/distress. Many of my friends worry so I like to reassure them it’s not an emergency.

      1. We also live in a culture of ‘fixers’ where people are uncomfortable with difficult emotions…we often try to solve ‘problems’ quickly, stifling feelings that need to be expressed. I yearn for the day when crying has been normalized!!! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all agree to just be there for each other, holding the space for the full range of emotion we all bring to life! 🙂

  3. Good that you’re getting some mojo back.

    I’ll lucky doing any cycling January. We’ll see. Right now it’s melting slippery snow patches. So I’m not on the bike. I walked to and from home to go shopping. I can’t complain because I live in a walkable, cycleable neighborhood..downtown.

      1. Seems like a lot of the topics have been exhausted here on this blog… or not. Actually there are some topics…but they would be complicated to write or they would be taboo here.

  4. I didn’t know you had that level of anxiety re the bike, Nat, and I appreciate knowing because I no longer feel as if it’s just me. I took pretty much the entire season off of outdoor riding due to debilitating fear. So at least you’re out there and pushing past it. I hope the grip of fear subsides for both of us. Hugs and thanks for this post. Means a lot to me.

      1. I get a mild wave every time I jump on my bike and have to tell my legs to get going. In town traffic and when I’m tired at the end of a long or challenging ride. I keep thinking it will go away eventually!

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