Because of the physical side effects of the medication complications I couldn't ride, which is a pretty big hit to my mental state in itself. I didn't have a choice- the withdrawals had my whole body shaking and the lithium had me off balanced with hand tremors. I was a danger to myself and others if I hopped on a bike, so I didn't. What kept me going was knowing that once everything settled I could then figure out how to get back on the bike. But in the meantime I had a way to fulfill that part of my life- working at the bike shop.
I don't think I can express how much I not only love riding but how balls deep I am in love with the sport itself. What I gained from working in a shop was the fact that I thrive off of getting people up and out riding. I live for getting people pumped about cycling- from the little old lady who wants to cruise a quarter of a mile comfortably down the street, to getting people set up for their first Iron Man- everyone counts the same for me. You want to ride a bike? Well, you're my new favorite person. I didn't care if you took 30 minutes or 8 hours of my time. I didn't care if you were spending $200 or $10,000- you were going to get my best. I didn't work on commission so my payout each time was the level of their satisfaction and enthusiasm. You only get enthusiasm from a "customer" when you're selling people exactly what they need and not just what you can get them to pay the most for. I loved every minute of it.
I will say my proudest moments were ones where I hadn't thought much of it to begin with. I hosted clinics for women to help them learn how to change a flat tire if they get one during a ride. It's so simple to a lot of us who ride more often than your average person and something we rarely think about. But the reaction I got from these women week after week wasn't something I had expected. These women were so grateful that I took the time to host free clinics in order to help them learn this basic skill. The emails and handwritten letters I received over thanking me were what I did it all for- people deserved to be treated as important and capable, especially women in the cycling industry. Here I was receiving all this praise and I just saw it as bike shop basics- you should be helping out the cycling community in this small way., and I had the advantage of being a female. I didn't think of this as special, this is what you're supposed to do. But the way I must have been conducting these clinics was better received than I had hoped for. Ladies (and the brave men who showed up) had fun. They got stoked and gained confidence. That meant the WORLD to me. I don't need commission or extra perks, getting people enthusiastic was the ultimate pay off for me.
Cycling loads me up with a stockpile of happiness and a provides a sense of freedom that I have yet to find elsewhere. If I couldn't ride, the thrill of bringing happiness to other people's lives via bicycling kept me going. So when I was fired because my boss found my blog, I can't tell you how big of an emotional hit that was. I worked so hard to make sure my disorder didn't jeopardize my job, yet just having the disorder and being open about it is what cost me that piece of happiness in my life.
Now I have to make a decision that's incredibly difficult but necessary. I have to be able to recognize when I need help, more help than I'm able to provide myself. My situation has gotten to the point where I need to have constant monitoring of my meds and symptoms. Nothing is going to get better in its current state. I would like to put out there that I am not suicidal, a lot of people think the hospital is only for when you're trying to kill yourself. It's not. I'm in a crisis situation but this is one of the few times it hasn't involved suicide.
Needless to say, I've earned my trip to the nut house this time. Life keeps throwing shit my way but I keep dealing with it. I'm in a bad place but I know I'll get through it, even if the timeline is unknown.
I'm still financially struggling, well more like financially bottomed out. Once released from the hospital I will be applying for disability. Until then my bills will go unpaid without knowing how I'm going to be paying them, which is another added stressor in this whole kit of life upheaval that's been so graciously dropped in my lap.
If you would like to help I have Paypal and a GoFundMe campaign. GoFundMe takes 10% and PayPal goes straight to me. If you don't know me personally and are afraid your money will be ill spent, know that I'm drug and alcohol free with no history of addiction issues, I was employed full time before this, am a mother of 2, happily married, and responsible. I've always been on top of seeing my doctors and taking my meds, it's just recently I had to switch doctors and the new set completely fucked me over.
I don't know how long I'll be in the hospital for since it is an inpatient program and my release is based upon my progress. Could be a few days, could be a few months. Just know that anything helps- if you want to donate dog food (some people locally have offered to donate time to help care for my dogs while I'm gone), toiletries, I will leave contact info for my husband so he can manage all of that while I'm gone.
To everyone who has already helped in some way- thank you. I will be better soon.