Open Up

“You lied, you faked, you cheated, you changed the stakes”

Its time to be honest, but even more honest than in the last few posts.  The last few weeks have not been nice. In fact they have been anything but.  Verging on but not quite horrible.  Uncomfortable doesn’t really capture it. It’s not easy to explain. And that is part of the problem – where to start and with whom. I think Clint Boon summed it up best – no one ever said it was going to be easy. But surely it wasn’t meant to be this difficult.

In the last few weeks I’ve felt myself taking more steps backwards than forwards.  I’ve been out on the bike less for a start and last week’s rain was an easy excuse not to go out for the long ride.  I’ve been constantly tired, unsure if it’s a mental or physical malaise that I’m suffering from though the likelihood is that one feeds off the other. I’m feeling fed up, bored, undervalued, over stretched, scared. My anxiety is reaching peak levels. I’m arguing with the TV. The imaginary arguments are creeping back into my head and festering. I’m feeling like a fraud. I have no direction again.

None of this is new. I felt like this last summer. In fact I’ve felt like this for a number of years – that’s the first own up today – and look where it got me. This time I can recognise the signs and symptoms – step one complete, success box should be ticked. Yet I don’t know what to do about it. Its like being locked into a horrible spiral – like being on the merry-go-round, seeing the alternatives flash by in a blur but not able to reach out grab them and jump off.  But I’ve really got to.

One of the biggest things letting me down is an inability to talk about this in any coherent way (as those of you who’ve persevered with this blog my attest to!). Mrs AB finds it infuriating and I can only apologise but its like trying to find the start of a ball of string.  As I said before communication lets me down, though perversely it seems easier to pour out into the ether via this blog and hope that someone might read and reply with pearls of wisdom or even shared experience than to talk face to face.

So this just leaves me feeling worse. Knowing there is something wrong again but not understanding exactly what. Knowing I need to do something but not being able to manage to do anything about it. A friend asked me last week if I’d changed anything in my life since last October? This is an interesting thing to ponder: I’ve had 6 months off work and gone back part-time……..Otherwise, I’m not sure I have. I try and communicate better especially with Mrs AB. I try to focus on the small things in life. But I still take on too much, swapping one occupation with another. And if I’m honest the cycling is back to being an occupation rather than a relaxation or even diversion, deflecting stress from one thing to another. So what’s changed?

Is it that in need to give it time? Have I been expecting too much too soon? Will the “black dogs” get old at some point and die off or are they perpetually breeding a new incarnation? At the moment I’m at a loss and in all honesty would like to pull the covers back up and hide from everything.

What’s the message from this blog? I have no idea. I do feel like I’ve lied, faked and cheated myself and constantly changed the stakes. I have very high standards, no way of knowing if I achieve them and a low opinion of myself as a result.  I don’t know what others can do either – everybody’s trying! Maybe if you could just message me just so I know I’ve not sent this into the ether would be a start. I’ll hopefully get back to happier blogs soon.

Communication lets me down

So this isn’t strictly a cycling entry, so apologies to my cycling followers for today. But the last few weeks I’ve been struggling a bit. It’s always that “what’s the point?” question that we all have once in a while but which tends to arise too often for my liking.  It’s not quite the “black dogs” that I did have last year, but even so it is demoralising, de-energising, debilitating – mentally if not physically.  I think there’s 3 things that are happening to sap the energy I have: first, I’m constantly fighting the urge to go into a default setting of negativity, of lightening defensive reflex, of panic; second, I’m playing a bit of a charade around some of the things I do out of necessity but it takes effort to live these “lies”; third it takes energy to chart a new path but scares me witless at the same time.  So in the last month I’ve felt that lack of energy catching up on me and so have taken a few steps back.  That’s not bad in the grand scheme of things given the progress I have made but still not nice.

And what I’ve come to realise today follow a counselling session is that I am not great at communicating. I can talk to a complete stranger but talking to those around me feels more difficult.  maybe it’s because I’ve so much vested in those relationships and fear losing them. I’m not alone there.  Talking to a  friend from University via Facebook she told me that she finds the blog she writes and the emails she sends great as there is no answer back.  For me this blog is another way of doing that and I’m always wary of disclosing too much.  But it’s still not communicating.  Communication is a two-way process: talking and listening.  Obviously I’m pretty good at the first…. in some ways. I still don’t talk about what is really going on in my head and often because I don’t know where to start. it makes little sense to me.  But I’m pretty rubbish at listening.  I either zone out or try to prioritise my concerns.  So communication lets me down.  I need to find a way to get better at it so here’s another lot of training I need to pick up, need to find a “coach”.

So that’s today’s entry. No Tour de France heroes, no quest for the miles on the bike, just the more mundane story of what goes on in my head.  Why write it? Because I’ve had my moment to talk. I hope you didn’t mind listening.