Sunday, 12 February 2017

Get on the bus

Anxiety. Stress. Depression.

I am surrounded by it.

If you are reading this and thinking this post is going to be all about you, then I'm sorry to be the cause of some disillusionment. It's not about you. It could be about me. It's not about me either. It's peripherally about cycling, in so much as everyone knows, that cycling is the cure for most known ailments, and a lot that have yet to be discovered.

I have just read some really interesting evidence-based, properly-researched factual information about resilience. Contrary to popular belief, the level of our resilience is not primarily determined by our ability to press on in the face of adversity. It's about our ability to recover, and in true Coveyin fashion(I made this adjective up, not just from a noun, or a proper noun, but from someone's name - the sort of thing I complain about, a lot), to be really good at recovery, you have to do it proactively. Practice. With a plan, and measure the impact of that recovery.

Here's a random picture of some happy people.

Great night that was, and of course, we put ourselves in the position to enjoy that happiness by making a plan.
Most people expect happiness to be an outcome, but of course it's actually more of a process and an activity. It's not a destination, it's a journey. All that old bollocks. What's that, easy for you to say? Well yes obviously. My friend asked me yesterday how I got my job, (we have only known each other for 28 years, and most of our conversations have been about football, so we're just breaking the ice), to which I replied it was a combination of several relevant qualifications, 15 years of experience and a 30-year career in commercial environments. Other than that, and the application to get the job, I just fell into it by pure luck.
So it is with my mental state.

A period of depression, a lot of worry that all came to nought, periods of self-harm and a shed load of work with expensive therapists (but good value), all gave me some experience to know what I'm talking about. And for the stuff I don't know about yet, I make up for it with my opinions, the same as everyone else.

And one thing I do know. The only person who will get you out of it, is you. It's like that 20% hill, when you've clicked down to your last gear, and you're still 200 metres from the top. Sure you can grind through it and push through, or you can get off and walk. But no one is going to push you. Unless you have asked for them to, and made sure they were there when you needed them. You can roll back to the bottom and stay there if you want to, no one will be cross. But it's all your choice. Getting angry rarely works either.

Someone I know is very gravely ill, having watched other people with similar conditions I am very worried about him. I watched my own parents die in a short space of time a few years ago, and I am acutely conscious of how precious life is. There is a tendency in our over-inflated society to miss the point of what is important. I'm going to spell it out for you.

Life is important. And that, for me, means living. It means being honest, with myself at least. And with you if you want it. Poor George Michael never seems to have made that transition from his depression to the light. Do not confuse this with levity, being happy is a very serious business. And it is different for us all.

So do you choose life?