Riding is all I'm able to do while my ankle is still technically healing as it is a low impact activity. My choice in activities are currently limited to only cycling- no climbing, running, or my at home strength training workouts, and after 2 more weeks of immobility, I've cracked.
I had high hopes this winter of avoiding depression. Last year's episode was hard to shake but I trudged through it thanks to the above mentioned activities. 2014 had me in much better circumstances and during the fall I came up with a great plan to keep the momentum going and get through this winter with minimal, if any, depression. Or at least that was the plan before my injury.
Depression has many forms, the common ones are overwhelming sadness and what I like to call "the nothing." I stole that from The Neverending Story, a movie I watched way too many times as a child. In the movie it is a huge storm that is a negation of existence that swallows up everything in its path, it's described as "human apathy, cynicism, and the denial of childish dreams." My depression usually ventures on the side of the nothing and very rarely is a long bout of sadness.
I don't feel a drive or motivation, it has kind of dried up or dissolved without me really being able to do much about it. Today I was going to ride but after checking the weather yesterday they said it was going to be a high of 44 degrees and raining all day. I woke up today to a sunny 49 degrees but something inside of me just closed the front door and decided to give up anyway. The Nothing has taken over.
Depression will make any and all tasks seem too daunting and not worth the effort. I don't want to get my bike and winter clothing ready, it just seems like too much work even though it's not. I've been doing this for so many years that gearing up for winter riding isn't that big of a deal, even though my brain is saying otherwise. I just don't have the energy for anything.
I've mentioned many times in this blog that these athletic endeavors are more than just hobbies, this post is not about a woman crying over not being able to go outside and play. They are "the nothing" prevention, they provide a sense of accomplishment, and they produce wonderful batches endorphins, life's natural depression fighters. I use them to regulate myself and now it's just more waiting while my moods deteriorate. The self deprecating thoughts set in and the want to get out of bed each day just withers away.
I'm not sad and I don't feel bad about anything. I just feel nothing. I don't care if I'm eating toast or winning the lottery, I just simply couldn't care less about where I'm at or what I'm doing.
The lack of sunlight each day gets to me as well. I have a very small window of riding time due to being a night owl by default and working at night. Bipolar people naturally have a "broken" circadian rhythm, we are almost always night people. It's a biological part of the disorder, not a result of bad habits or lack of discipline.
Part of self management is a strict sleep schedule- I have to be in bed at the same time each night as well as awake at the same time each day, combine this with an already faulty internal clock and you have someone who could wake up at 8am every day but their brain functions won't actually wake up until 2pm and end up twice as tired each day. Messing with sleep is the number two cause of mood swings. I will break this schedule every once in a while to go to sleep early for a morning group ride, but being off the bike for 2 months has set me back to the point where I can't do the rides I want, I'm not that strong anymore. That's currently one of the largest negative thought cycles I get into, if my brain decides to "feel" anything.
So my plan of action is to suck it up and try again tomorrow. I will get my bike and gear ready today so it will be easier for me to slip out the door and ignore what my body and mind are trying so hard to prevent me from doing. "Whether I feel like it or not" can't be an excuse I live off of for long- that will ensure that this depression won't clear up by spring time or any time soon. For today I'm going to play video games (something I don't do often) and try to keep my head above water.