Opinion: The Unexpected Upsides of Mental Illness

Oct 10, 2021
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.


People don’t talk much about the upsides of mental illness. There’s not much time for silver linings when you’re suffering. Yet even in the midsts of that suffering is the germ of a rare gift: clarity.

For me, at least, when things were bad my life was stripped away to the very essentials. When you’re f*cked up and medicated beyond the point of function you have to pare your life back to one or two things. In my case, it was trying to work my way out of the hole and support my wife (who was working to support me as I couldn’t).

The daily routine would go something like this: Wake up feeling shit from having barely slept. By 9 or 10 the overwhelming sensations of dread usually lightened a bit so grab some breakfast. Ride out the fear on the sofa until I had enough energy to make lunch. Walk around the block. Meditate. Make fire and dinner, boil the kettle. The goal was that I would walk and meditate every day, and when Mary walked through the door she would have a warm house, hot meal and a mug of tea to come home to. Some days I managed to get it all done.




Other days it was too much, I was too tired. Some days I would get it nearly all done, but the stress of trying to manage it all was too great and Mary would come home to find me untethered and angry. I’d find something to get upset about and shout at her until I ran out of energy and found myself sobbing on the floor, hating myself because I knew deep down that my anger was destroying my marriage. I don’t think anyone would have blamed Mary for walking away.

Thankfully she didn’t, and agonisingly slowly (or at least that how it felt at the time) I began to work my way out of that hole. Soon I could think about riding bikes again, of living a life beyond the confines I needed to survive in those early days. Yet I was fragile, I could cast my net a little wider, but I still needed to pick and choose my battles.

It is in that process where you need to figure out what is and isn’t important. Without the youthful luxury of inexpendable energy, what are the things you can do that have the biggest impact on your life?

Sitting some three years out from those days, that process has never stopped, it has just expanded. My capacity for work, stress and exhaustion is far less than it was before. That is not to say I don’t enjoy my life, a former colleague even accused me of being happy recently, but to keep things that way I need focus. Rebuilding my life I had to think long and hard about what makes me happy - about what success might look like for me today.




Who amongst us, pushed and pulled by the ceaseless demands of our ever-accelerating society has time to stop and think deeply like this? That is not to say you need to have a full-blown breakdown to re-assess your life, but for me, my illness gave me that time and space to re-evaluate my life, and that is truly a gift.

I remember seeing the cliche on TV. People who had suffered nervous breakdowns dropping out of their high-flying lives and taking simple, sometimes menial, jobs. In the past I thought they were failures, their illness meant that they had to retreat into these small, pathetic lives. I was still in the mindset that to be happy you have to succeed in a traditional sense, it never occurred to me that these people might be happier in these new, smaller lives.

That’s the thing with real clarity, you may realise that the goal you have been chasing is not the right one for you. In some ways, I am lucky that I hated my career while I was still in my 20s and made the tough call to walk away from my life in search of something else. But my breakdown showed me that the process was not finished, that I was still trying to win at photography, writing, whatever else I was into. I felt like that to be successful I had to drive myself harder and harder. Since my breakdown I have tried to let go of this, to try and let the unhealthy competitiveness fall away.




What I have come to understand is that what I really want in this world is my quiet life here in the mountains. Mary and I have just bought a house, so I need enough money to make that secure, but also I need enough time to enjoy my life.

Maybe I will never go back to running around the globe, maybe I will never earn as much money as I did before, there are lots of maybes. But on Monday a huge storm passed over the house. I spent Tuesday clearing out the access road and took a couple of hours to pedal my road bike. I could take that time away from work without worrying, without feeling guilty. As the sun dipped away from our valley I sat out on the porch with Mary and we reclined in our seats as night came down around us. For me, that is all I need - this is my new idea of success.


130 Comments

  • 222 4
 This is beautiful, thanks for sharing Matt.
  • 88 2
 That's really touching, I'm happy for you and Mary. Thanks for sharing so openly, it's very brave.
  • 78 0
 Thank you for sharing this!

As a dad of 2 kids that have struggled with depression & anxiety, I empathize. I’m very, very glad you found hope, support and a way forward.

Environment changes— being outside, riding— are a very important part to include as it has the power to literally help rewire the brain.

What we’re learning is that mental health is multi-dimensional —with social, cognitive, emotional, environmental, genetic and other components. The past only addressed symptoms (as was the standard with the Diagnostic Statistical Manual that framed mental health as defined by what symptoms a person was experiencing).

The problem with that is two people could be experiencing, say, depression symptoms and have different causal factors for what was underlying the depression.

Now we’re seeing new models like the NIH rDOC (www.nimh.nih.gov/research/research-funded-by-nimh/rdoc) take a multidimensional stance to understanding mental illness and brain health.

As a dad and research collaborator, this gives me hope for new ways to address mental health. I may get prescribed a community, an activity, personalized medicine, and do so in partnership with one’s family, not just a single person.

So, keep riding! Talk with people. And if you’re thinking that the pain of this world is too much, text HOME to 741741 to get help now.

Peace!
  • 16 1
 I am a big fan of this kind of holistic view of mental health. I was talking to an Indian friend recently who told me that in schools there they learn pranayama breathing from day one. In todays worlds I can't help wondering whether our schools would be better if they worked to equip kids with tools, like breathing exercises or affirming the importance of play and nature, to deal with our modern world as well as exams and scores. I am certain my life would have been different if I learnt these things at an early age.
  • 36 5
 Thanks Matt, one other ‘upside’ (if as you say it can be called that) of mental health issues is the inner strength it can create - I am close to someone who has suffered for years and she is one of the strongest people I know.
  • 8 0
 I certainly know people who have suffered like this and become strong, but I don't count myself amongst them. I feel like I got through it by focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, one hour at a time, and at times the idea of being strong was a painful one as I was certain a strong person would have got off the sofa sooner each day...
  • 6 0
 @mattwragg: I think you probably under-estimate yourself Matt.

Though your darker times may return in the future, it will get easier and I imagine you go forward and deal with the trivial issues of life in a way others who haven’t felt the way you have can - just being reflective on your own life and making changes is huge and so many can’t achieve that.

Writing this article in itself is a big step and from my experience though the looking glass onto mental illness (quite a bit) I have come to understand that when you are at rock bottom tiny acts require huge efforts, like you say, just getting off the sofa, washing of even eating - people who haven’t witnessed this can’t understand how a task so simple has become so herculean.

All the best going forward Matt - get some pictures up of the new place and make us even more jealous about how beautiful it is around there.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: If you've got through the other side of it, you are strong. You've ridden the whitewater without being dragged under or swept away by the currents and now you're able to reflect on that experience while you're on a calmer stretch of river you'll know better how to manage next time the water gets rougher.
  • 1 0
 I appreciate that this is intended positively but sometimes I think the idea of the 'strong' person coping or beating it can be quite detrimental to people still suffering. It can create the idea that if you were strong then you would have beaten it etc, which is not necessarily how these things work. As I say, I understand it was said positively.
  • 30 1
 Great article Matt, a lot of honesty and truth in there. Perhaps somewhat weirdly I think it's often only those that have been to those dark places that are then really truly happy, I know so many who are far from happy in their pursuit of 'success'...which if you delve deep is more often than not simply about what they perceive is success in the eyes of others.
I went from being a bike mechanic to being the Technical Editor at Dirt Magazine, a job that many would consider to be a dream job (as I did at first), but over the 10 years I was there it nearly destroyed me. I also subsequently worked on another 'dream project', but unfortunately ended up working with some folk who clearly didn't value mental health...now though I am back to being a full time bike mechanic and by far the happiest I have been in longer than I care to remember. I don't give a toss if some folk see me as 'just' as bike mechanic, it's the thing that I love doing the most, and I will do it until the day I die.
So yeah, I guess I'd say just listen to your gut (when it's not pranging out unnecessarily that is), and contrary to what social media tries to get us all to do, don't compare yourself to others. All easier said than done, but that's been the key for me.
  • 13 0
 Count me as another person who "downgraded" their career to "just a bike mechanic" and found happiness in doing so. It wasn't even that I hated my previous career as such--my coworkers and clients were all nice enough, and the work was easy enough. It's just that the work meant nothing to me, whereas I actually enjoy working on bikes.
  • 13 0
 I'll apply to join the club if I may. I used to be quite well off doing a programming job at a great company and to this day I can't say a bad thing about the job. But for unrelated reasons I've gone through years of depression and anxiety and just couldn't get my head focused on development so through cars and some other jobs I ended up as just another bike mechanic. Probably making a quarter of the income I could get in my previous profession, but I'm surrounded by people stoked on doing the same thing I love doing and can enjoy my work no matter if I'm up or down in my head, rather than stressing out about being unable to finish my task. Even a mechanic job offers years of growth potential if that's what you want, but whether you're adjusting derailleurs or tuning suspension, it all ends up in a bike ride, and as we all know, there's nothing better than a bike ride!
  • 3 0
 @MrDuck: Yep! Every test ride is just another time I'm getting paid to ride bikes.
  • 4 0
 I'm glad you found something that makes you content, Ed, I did occasionally wonder where you ended up after Robot.
  • 4 0
 @mattwragg: Cheers, content is a great word! And yeah for a while after Robot I worked developing Atherton Bikes...
  • 24 1
 Yah man for dropping the tabooed curtain about mental wellness, and how your depicted one of life's toughest challenge, how to be simply happy, without chasing any fame and glory. Nice write up, what a read on a Sunday morning... Unusual on PB and so much more richer than those usual empty review!
  • 3 0
 100%. We’re all human and dealing with a million different things, but we should always try to listen, understand, and help those around us.

Someone once told me “Everyone is doing the best they can. Be patient.”
  • 19 0
 I honestly can't relate to what you and yours have been through and are working against but, as a result of your strength, capacity and courage to write about it....I can learn to try to do so and make myself available to help if ever I can.
  • 16 0
 From someone who hasn’t got as close to the edge as Matt, but certainly knows it’s there and can relate to his story: thanks for making the effort to post. Acceptance happens as people who haven’t experienced begin to validate other’s realities.
  • 18 1
 Some details are different, but this is basically the story of my life. Had a high stress international career living in one of the biggest cities in the world and traveling to other continents regularly. Eventually the depression and stress I was coping with poorly became unmanageable and totally crushed me. Short story: I quit, moved to the mountains, now live in a tiny mountain town and work as a bike mechanic and focus on life outside of work and taking care of myself. My partner didn't have the tenacity yours did during the downtimes, but that's ok. I'm wayyyy happier.
  • 5 0
 Congrats dude! Love that you were able to make the radical change, to find a new more meaningful and therapeutic path in life. Takes guts!
  • 4 0
 I'm glad to hear you found a life that works for you.
  • 16 1
 I am currently going through the hardest time in my entire life and it is all because of my mental health. I can't really go into details here, but its unbelievably complicated. Lucky for me, I have two best friends and a family that totally understand... but unfortunately there are those who do not, and that is all it takes for me to feel like an utter bag of shit. I know that I have done nothing wrong, but all it takes is one accusation from a certain party, and I don't know how to think. I know that no matter how complicated this is though, and because I am in the right, there is a way out of this even though it may seem a lifetime away. Hearing other people talk about their stuff is a breath of fresh air and comfort, and I thank you greatly for this Matt!!!
  • 2 0
 Sorry to hear that you're going through it.
  • 14 0
 Grazie per avere condiviso con tutti noi una parte importante della tua persona. Mi ritrovo molto nelle tue belle e sincere parole... --- Thank you for sharing an essential aspect of yourself with all of us. I identify so much with your beautiful and sincere words....
  • 1 0
 Prego,
  • 13 1
 Thank you for this and as someone who struggles daily with anxiety, depression, and currently a lack of a career (or at least one I feel I need) this really hits close to home. Again thank you and the more we openly talk about mental illness the better our world will be. - Greg
  • 10 0
 Honestly, rebuilding your mind after a mental health crisis is one of the hardest things anyone can ever do. Compounding the recovery is the frustration at your brains inability to operate as you want. Spending time outdoors has had the largest positive effect on my brain over the last two and half years.
  • 4 0
 Genuinely thank you for this comment. I don't think I am the "woe is me" type, but the long, slow journey out of that place has been hard, so to hear someone else articulate what I have been going through like that means a lot to me. Thank you.
  • 4 0
 @mattwragg: keep at it mate. You’re not alone. I’m far from the end of the road out of it, but I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to find a pathway to go down. Spending time outdoors and trying activities, particularly ones that have something tangible as a result, have been really valuable in my recovery (for want of a better word).

Feel free to drop me a dm if you need a friend disconnected from your life to chat with. The same goes for anybody else that reads this.
  • 4 0
 I have been feeling the exact same. The mountains and the trees are my peace in a very stormy headspace. Much love
  • 10 0
 Thank you. How many comments have been about needing this today? We’re all in this together and while I imagine mountain biking has saved more than a few of us, understanding that we’re not alone in our pain is surely a large part. Life is hard. Sometimes it down right sucks. I have wrestled many demons in my life, but today is the 17th anniversary of the death of one of my sons. That I have not dealt well with. I will start today. Nothing is gained by burying pain, I promise you. Again, thank you. Ride on.
  • 3 1
 Bro. That’s heavy. FWIW I’ll keep you in prayer.
  • 3 1
 @dgusmc: Be well and be easy on yourself.
  • 3 0
 From one father to another. Take care man . I'll keep you in thoughts and prayers.
  • 3 0
 I cannot even imagine how you would even start to deal with something like that. I hope you find some healing.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: same way you did - look at it, right in the face, let the uncertainty and grief have their place, and then, over time, endeavor to move on and find more time to smile. Whether it’s a choice we make to live a certain way or to not let life’s thorns bleed us out, my guess, my hope, is that it’s the same. It’s choosing to feel a certain way after the wave has subsided. If nothing else I have become more patient with others - that’s worth something. I just haven’t made the time to look at this one yet - still hurts too much.
  • 9 0
 Read each and every words of this article, never happened on PB before. "That is not to say you need to have a full-blown breakdown to re-assess your life" put water in my eyes. "That’s the thing with real clarity, you may realise that the goal you have been chasing is not the right one for you" opened my eyes.
  • 4 0
 That kinda hits the nail on the head for how my life has been going. For a long time I felt like I had to live up to certain expectations within my career, but one day I realized no one cares if I do or don’t succeed in that area, all I should care about is if it makes me happy or not. So I decided it doesn’t make me happy and I took a break. I’m slowly working back towards it because there are aspects that I like, but I’m doing it for myself and no one else.
  • 12 0
 Those that know the darkness experience greater light.
  • 10 0
 Powerful writing as always. Thanks Matt for sharing.
  • 6 0
 Thanks Matt, my father-in-law has just been admitted within the last week due to similar issues and this is a really enlightening, positive perspective. It will really help me make sense of his feelings. Thank you so much for sharing and what an excellent outcome for you from a very difficult time.
  • 6 0
 Simple lives are desirable lives. This construct of society that is moving further and further away from reality is unhealthy for all who are knowingly or more likely unknowingly caught in its death spiral. Mental health is not something new… but the failings of an unnaturally pushed society puts stress on its members and the cracks begin to show.

If change is good… why do people resist change?
  • 6 0
 Thanks to Matt and Pinkbike !
I was hoping for a mental health article on #worldmentalhealthday and I'm not disapointed, this story is beautiful, inspiring and full of hope for those who struggle with mental illnesses. As biking/exercise are so important for a good mindset, it's good to see Pinkbike dedicating an article today on this subject !
Thanks to Matt for sharing your story in a such courageous way !
  • 6 0
 Hate to make this about me, but this is EXACTLY what I needed to read right now. I've been struggling recently, and the general advice is to sit up, shut up and get on with your life. It's so hard to just get over it (especially with the physical limitations of severe injury) and this makes me think that maybe the answer is to just do what makes me happy.
  • 3 0
 Be patient. As someone who has nursed a spouse through a broken back (from biking, no less) and been down many of these paths myself: take your time. When you’re tempted to wish in seconds, measure in minutes. When your goal is today, give room for tomorrow, or maybe even ‘this time next week’.
Don’t underestimate the strength required to deal with both mental illness and physical illness. As Matt, and others in the comments have said well, the two are codependent - often in ways we take for granted until you can’t.
Friends and family who are faithful (like Mary, above) are priceless. And when you can’t find them, I’ve often wished I knew who to thank for putting me on to Thoreau:
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
  • 3 0
 @mwysel: Excellent quote! Solid advice. You sound like a good person. Not everyone has a supportive partner, which can worsen the issues.
  • 8 0
 Hey Matt - thanks for sharing your journey. Makes a difference for lots of us. Aroha
  • 6 0
 People never know what others are struggling with unless they share. Thank you for sharing. It takes courage and making yourself vulnerable - it's not easy to do. I really appreciated this post.
  • 7 0
 Thanks Matt - beautiful piece of writing and a heroic effort in your life. Awesome. Thanks for sharing - it made a difference to me on a day which was feeling a bit dark.
  • 5 0
 thank you for sharing this it's important to raise awareness but to also talk about the fact that mental illnesses are not the end of everything. I been struggling with PTSD for the last few years and it's good to read things like this. Thank you.
  • 3 0
 Sorry to hear that you're struggling.
  • 8 0
 I needed that, thank you!
  • 4 0
 Your story carries real power Matt, we could all benefit from being open with mental illness and it’s many traumas. Your tale is one many of us can relate to, I’m happy to hear you’ve found peace

You’ve perhaps inspired me to relate my own spectacular fall from grace. I barely made it back from the brink, I welcomed oblivion.

It takes true bravery to open yourself up like this. Thank you.
  • 3 0
 I'd be interested to hear your story.
  • 4 0
 This is huge. Big respect for writing this , big pride in you for having the courage to do so. So many of the points and concepts you bring up here ring true for my past experience, and likely for the past experience of many other readers. You aren't alone in this , your journey is a shared one !
  • 4 0
 Its so easy for me to discredit any perceived upside to my mental struggles, worried that celebrating what I can do will make what I cannot do less valid. Thank you for the courageous and beautifully written reminder that being whole means embracing both sides.
  • 4 0
 Finding a balance then maintaining that balance, over time, in the with all of life’s changes, that’s a very big struggle for most folks.

I see this “burnout” in many of my patients, sometimes it happens early in life, dropping out of college, while others can push through into their middle age, then there’s the folks who retire and find a different kind of struggle.

Finding satisfaction in life and maintaining that sense for a lifetime is hard for many people. If you’re struggling with “happiness”, chances are you’ve already done everything you know to do.

Go see a mental health provider, there’s no shame in wanting to feel better.
  • 2 0
 This. I am certain I wouldn't be writing this positive a story today without the help of my psychologist.
  • 4 0
 thanks for sharing, its shocking how many men deal with this and dont talk about it. Heck, i was one of them for 15 years. It was surprising to open up to a few friend only to find out they have been dealing with very similar scenarios, just talking about it a little bit, helps alot.
  • 7 0
 This is awesome. Great article, and the most positive comments section I've ever seen on PB
  • 7 0
 Thanks for putting this out into the world Matt.
  • 4 1
 I have, "mental illness"; and it's a gift beyond measure. Especially in the sense, essentially how fish in the ocean work, is the next larger fish, eats the next smaller fish. Like, I know you're thinking, "dude for real"; and I was too. I don't want to be alive in that world, it's essentially like a fricking hatching ornament, but with live bodies, personally I feel there's a lot more to life than that, and I know I'm, "wrong"; in a traditional sense, but correct in the sense, "I want to live in a world and have a life, that's actually worth my time".
  • 3 0
 A very poignant reminder of the struggle in life for many, including myself! Always tough to find that balance between earning money, keeping a partner happy, and living your best soul fulfilling life. Best wishes moving forward.
  • 3 0
 Thank you for being so open and willing to talk about your journey. I’m glad that your narrative changed and that you are finding fulfillment in day to day life. So many of us struggle with that same feeling of hopelessness everyday, so it is encouraging to hear a story of hope and triumph. So stoked for you and for your story!
  • 3 0
 re-wiring the brain is one of the hardest thing a person can do.. and what happened to me was much less severe than what happened to you...but, the energy void, the imposibility to understand why your mind does not act based on reason and decides that other ways are the "right ways". Now, some years later and towards my mid-age, I started to recognize some patterns from years ago.. which, I presume, I experienced them due to a mild burnout.. or maybe it is not that mild.
anyway, thank you for sharing.
  • 3 0
 Thank you for sharing! This hit close to home. I am 50 now but have been biking since my teens. When I was 20, I was in a serious long term relationship. Found out she was cheating on me and my life went into a downward spiral. I went into depression and continued to fight it for years. One night...I decided to end my life and I put a gun to my head.The one thing stopped me from pulling the trigger was the thought that " If I am dead, I can't ride my bike"!. I owe the bicycle industry a big thank you for saving my ass!!! We are all different and have our own ways of dealing with shit. Don't people because we have no idea what they are going through or have been through. We as a biking community can be there for help and support. Thank you again!!!!
  • 3 0
 Cudos for sharing such a deeply personal story Matt, its much needed in our society. A few years ago I was in the same position as your Mary, watching the person I cared about most go through absolute hell and feeling powerless to do anything about it. If a person has never experienced this firsthand (either as the one dealing with depression/anxiety or as a partner/relative/friend) they cannot possibly even begin to understand what its like. Empathy and understanding others can be the hardest of things for us humans, as we tend to project our own thoughts, feelings and experiences onto others. Hopefully more stories like this being shared will go a long way in getting people to pause and think about what someone else might be going through at that moment, and how they might be make a positive impact instead of a negative one.
  • 3 0
 Some years ago, I found myself halfway through a PhD that I no longer had any interest in, working with a couple of real a*sholes, and in a relationship that was on the rocks because I was irritable, outwardly lazy and utterly unmotivated. Every day felt like a struggle just to do the most basic things, and I frequently felt utterly lost. I would take days off work to do literally nothing at all but stay in bed.

Luckily I had the sense to take some time out, and seek some help in the form of counselling. That was the best thing I ever did, as it made me face some tough facts and make some changes. End result: I kicked my PhD to the curb and ended up on the path to opening my own bike shop.

There are still good days and bad days. I don’t deal well with intense stress - currently in the process of selling/buying/moving house and I had a “bed day” relapse last week. But talking always helps, as does having a good relationship, and at least having a job that I look forward to working with people I look forward to spending my day with.

In short, talk about your shit and do something that makes you happy, societal or family expectations be damned. You WILL get through the dark times.
  • 2 0
 Half a PhD is a lot more than no PhD Smile
  • 5 0
 Amen. Very relatable. I've never sent a pink bike article to my wife before this.
  • 6 0
 Thanks for sharing. I needed this today.
  • 10 8
 I encourage to go through this type of illnesses through chamanic practices, or controled sessions of psilocybin... This can be healed from the root, and never, never ever will be done by drugs from the pharmaceuticals which basically f*cks up your natural chemistry and just allows you to deal with more shit inside you compare to regular people... The root trauma has to be chopped and sometimes only very deep understandings out of out really limited cultural/program box makes it possible...
Good luck!
  • 7 1
 A friend of mine has recently been able to come to terms with being abused as a child through micro dosing psilocybin, there's more and more evidence it can really help with some mental health issues, particularly depression. As you say, pharmaceuticals often do nothing more than mask the symptoms. Hopefully more in the medical profession will come to realise this and be more open to alternative treatments.
  • 5 0
 Nobody should take this as medical advice, that would of course be stupid, but.... I dont understand the downvotes, someone I know took drugs to treat their mental health issues prescribed by the Dr and it literally ruined her life while taking them and may have led to some permanent damage, serious shit - Shes off the lot now and the difference is profound. Drugs can work for some, some they dont and they admit they dont understand how they really work so I dont see why an 'alternative' is such a taboo IF you seek professional advice of course. Basically in all cases, get advice but what works for one doesnt work for the other, including the stuff the Dr's will happily hand out to you.
  • 4 0
 I'm not a big fan of this as advice, in fact I'm a big fan of not offering advice, particularly on medication. Psychedelics and medication are incredibly powerful, but personal, things and knowing what I do about both, I would not recommend a friend follow one path or another, but let them try and work out what the right path is for them.
  • 3 1
 I know there’s a language barrier, but you honestly have no clue how medication works.

Sadly, this sort of misinformation is far too common.

There’s an old adage which hopefully translates:

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
  • 4 0
 High performance: Time for biking, time with cats, time with wife, time meditate, time for weekends, time for ourselves...and time to work without getting crazy.
  • 2 0
 I struggled with acute hypochondria for a couple years, and it was crippling at times and led me to dark places of thought. However, it has also made me so much stronger once I started to get over it (and that wasn't as easy as I make it sound), and in turn I actually like that I went through it.
  • 2 0
 Addiction and mental health concerns ended up being the greatest thing that have ever happened to me. It allowed me to do just as Matt mentioned and take a step back and reevaluate. The path to recovery is filled with challenges but facing those challenges and working through them is a much better option than the old-way of living! Thanks for sharing!
  • 5 0
 Truly exceptional post, very relatable!
  • 5 1
 Beautiful and touching. It takes great courage to open up about our own vulnerabilities.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for sharing, Matt. It truly helps some of us!
  • 5 0
 Thank you so much for writing this.
  • 3 0
 Good write up and insight for sure.. peoples experiences and take on things for help others for sure.. gives hope which there should be..
  • 4 0
 Thanks for sharing your stories Matt. It’s inspirational for people that may be suffering.
  • 3 0
 Thank you for sharing - so much courage to open up like this and the more people talk and understand, maybe the easier it will be to help move forward.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for writing this Matt. It’s hard to see these silver linings when we’re struggling with mental illness. But looking back it’s always surprising how good things can come out of these situations. God bless
  • 2 0
 Matt, thank you for sharing this part of your life story with us. It's quite relevant to me. That clarity you speak of sounds like it should be priceless. It seems you are making the most of it!
  • 2 0
 It's cyclical from my experience. Ups and downs. The ups are fine, of course, but the downs require knowing that they do pass, with the unfortunate inevitability of having to ride it out.
  • 3 0
 For sure. That actually might be the biggest progress for me - these days I am starting to really believe that when things get worse again they will also get better again. "Ride it out" is exactly the phrase I use in my head.
  • 2 0
 I've been following you since the time I started seeing your name on mtb photographs(and being a photography hobbyist myself).
As someone who ticked all the boxes for Adult ADHD(on going assessment), thanks for sharing Matt!
  • 1 0
 Matt, Thank you again for the courage and effort to put this out there. Already we feel the waves of camaraderie and the goodness of our humanity rippling outward to bolster up those of us still in the struggle.
Exercise and meditation are such profound re-sources, especially in the context of 21st century hyper-stimulation, and the way the internet/digital interfaces teach us to exist in a dissociative state.
Let's keep riding, keep feeling the breath, let ourselves smile gently, and share gratitude with our loved ones and this Earth.
  • 5 0
 Absolutely
  • 3 0
 Thank you for sharing this, I can relate in a number of ways and the best thing we can do is to talk about these things.
  • 4 0
 Thank you for sharing, Matt. Especially welcome today…
  • 4 0
 Hitting pretty close to home..
  • 2 0
 A lot of people are going through this because what they produce has been totally alienated from their worth. The proverbial "what have you done for me today?"
  • 4 1
 Very happy for you and your partner. Thank you for sharing your story. Be well!
  • 4 0
 Thank you for sharing brother! You're not alone.
  • 3 0
 given "modern trends" if you haven't ended up in the ward that's only because you're a f*cking psychopath
  • 3 0
 Thank you for sharing. A lot of us, myself included can relate to stories like yours
  • 3 0
 Thanks Matt !! Hope such a article help's more people to understand meaning of live. Thanks.
  • 2 0
 Well said man! I am on that path and not looking back. The ultimate success
  • 2 0
 Shed a tear as I read this at my desk at work during my lunch break. Thanks for sharing Matt!
  • 3 0
 Thanks Matt and all of you folk that shared your stories
  • 3 0
 Gracias!
  • 3 1
 Brave writing. Good on you for being open
  • 2 0
 terrible mental illness was the reason i stuck with mtbing
  • 2 0
 I relate to your words a lot. Thank you man, thanks alot!
  • 2 0
 One tip to happiness is realizing we are not alone.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for putting yourself out there in a way that will help others.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for sharing, i helps in the rough and dark hours!
  • 2 0
 Thank you for sharing that mate.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Matt.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Matt for your example!
  • 2 0
 Thanks Matt
  • 1 0
 I feel your pain, but know the sense of recovery from the struggle too.
  • 1 0
 Good article. Thank you Matt.
  • 1 0
 Great read. thx for sharing
  • 1 0
 Thanks Matt!
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