Opinion: The Day I Lost Control of my Brain

Aug 19, 2019 at 8:48
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.



Wednesday 19 November 2018.

About 4.30 in the afternoon.

That was when I sat down with my doctor and admitted that I had lost control of my brain.

I didn't have the words for what was happening then. All I knew is that I was constantly afraid, my brain was endlessly spinning out scenarios in my head. I couldn't sleep, couldn't think, couldn't get a few minutes of respite from the fear. That's all I wanted from my doctor - a break, just a little time to recompose, re-gather and get past this so I could carry on.

It turns out mental illness doesn't work like that.




At the beginning of 2011 I had barely even picked up a camera, I couldn't have told you about shutter speeds, apertures or ISO. Five years later I was running across the globe shooting the sport I love with a client list that included many of the biggest companies in the business. I pushed myself hard to do that and thought it was normal that I ran at a pretty high level of stress, but the truth is that I was running too hot and I was so scared of it all falling apart that I never gave myself time to rest or recover properly. As soon as the fatigue started to lift I'd be back running again. That's the dirty secret about doing something you love - it brings about a whole new set of pressures, because how can you live with yourself if you fail at it? Or have to go back to working that 9-5 desk job?

Looking back it's so easy to see the cycle. I locked myself into a vicious circle: the more I over-worked myself, the more stressed I got, the more stressed I got, the harder the work became and the harder it was to recover... By the end of my time travelling, shooting a race or a project for a client was no longer fun, but an ordeal to be endured. Once I stepped away from racing in 2017 I thought I would unwind, but I repeated the same mistake, piling work on myself rather than using it as a chance to reflect and refresh. Maybe the hardest thing now is to not get frustrated with myself as it all seems so obvious with the luxury of hindsight, but if you had tried to tell me at the time I know what I would have said - "I just need to get through this bit and then it will be better..."




Come the beginning of 2019 I started seeing a therapist and learned a new word, one that has come to stain my daily existence - anxiety. She diagnosed me with general anxiety disorder, brought on by chronic stress. This was a shock for me, I'm not what most people would consider an anxious person. Over the years I have been described as aggressive, intense and over-competitive - and those epithets would be pretty accurate. If there was a problem I would try and bulldoze it rather than avoid it, but that in itself is a problem, because what happens when you find a problem you can't handle immediately?

I still refer to what happened to me in November as a nervous breakdown, but god only knows if that is accurate as it's not a phrase medical professionals seem to like these days. What I am more sure about is that I pushed my brain into a chemical imbalance, that it began constantly cascading the fight or flight hormones into my body which is both terrifying and exhausting. I could barely sleep, the fatigue from the constant worry left me unable to exercise and I lost most of my muscle mass in an alarmingly short time.




It has taken me ten months to sit here and put this down on the page. Partly that is because of the illness and medications, which have meant that only in this last week have I been able to get back on my bike and do the days I love doing. It has been a constant battle with fatigue to try and stay active. Yet on Monday I went out and did one of my bigger loops and came home feeling good, and having lost that sensation for so long I can't tell you how good it felt.

The other reason is fear. There is still a part of me that sees publicly admitting to struggling as weakness. At the height of my crisis I felt very alone - everything I read about anxiety was about people who were scared to go to the shops, drive a car or talk to people... and I couldn't relate to those people. So on one level I knew that I should write about this after, because reading something relatable at the height of my struggles would have helped.




I also know that as men we need to talk about our mental health more openly as not talking about it is killing us. Have a look at the suicides rates for young men in Europe and the US if you don't believe me. For me there was a moment in the middle of the night, as I lay there tossing and turning, that the idea of ending it all started to make sense. It would stop the suffering, after all. I don't want to over-dramatise this, the very opening of that pathway of thought still scares me today as the idea of suicide felt far less distant than I had ever imagined it could be. Certainly I had a conversation with my wife about at what point she would phone the men in white coats to have me locked away and medicated.




It never came to that - I managed to get the help I needed and today I'd say I'm doing pretty well, even if it's not always easy still. In many ways I'm quite lucky, that although my life will always be divided into the before and after this, anxiety can be dealt with. My therapist assures me that it can be put away into its box and those damaging behaviours unlearned. But I am still nervous about putting this out into the world, to admit that I reached a point where I broke. When I feel that fear I try and remember the words of an old friend - a ruthless city lawyer who I had always considered the hardest man I knew. He confessed to me that he had his own struggles because of stress, not quite the same, but not so different either. He told me that real weakness is not in falling down, but only in not getting back up again.


173 Comments

  • 246 1
 @mattwragg ... Props to you for being open esp on a relatively high-vis (and often viciously commented) site like this. I can relate... wishing the best to you, stay strong.
  • 45 1
 Real courage is not a 20ft gap jump. It's being brave and vulnerable enough to talk about your mental struggles so others know they aren't alone.
  • 10 1
 Being open about your difficulties will always help you more than keeping it for yourself and the people around are way more helpful and understanding than you would ever imagine once you tell them. That's my experience.
  • 13 1
 This. On the tail of Yoann’s honesty and openness, I’m happy to see these kinds of articles and topics coming up on PB. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. If they take the time to tell you about that struggle, take the time to help them with it.
  • 161 4
 It’s great you wrote that. Hopefully more people will look at their life, mind and body and maybe ask a question or two to themselves. I observe it all around me, world is full of folks who go through life according to a scheme of “being normal” while such thing doesn’t exist. It’s just a set of rules. Some are coping with fitting in, some aren’t. I know a researcher who looked and behaved perfectly normal. She has 3 kids, a 120% job and then applies for grants, not knowing whether she will have a job next year. But she used to stay on top of it all without some fake optimism. Until she had a breakdown that put her into hospital. Her pulse wouldn’t go below 160, she was in constant panic for 3 hours until she collapsed and was taken to the hospital. if her husband was there, he would take her after just 15 minutes but she thought she will blow through it, so she fought for three hours...

I have had several panic attacks and only thanks to psychologists I was able to avoid them happening, I know how to react feeling them coming. I had at least 3 with my kids around. One after a meeting where I was congratulated for amazing work after 2 months of hard work. I left the meeting I was pumped, I felt that I know exactly what to do in coming week to finalize the project. I went to picked up my kids from pre school, my colleague called, I got stressed as hell explaining him what to do for next week. I took kids for ice cream, then got SMS from the client about something I forgot, It was nothing but it felt like I messed up, that my boss will fire me, I got paranoid. Calmed myself down initially and then in the bus home, being perfectly aware of panic attack coming in, trying to calm down breathing, count to 4, I lost it. I was fortunate people helped me and my kids to get off the bus. I was miserable, crying breathing, Heathing, people looking at me. Worrying about kids of a f*cked up dad.

But rhat was a pivotal moment for me. Not saying it won’t happen again, but I am now able to sense when my base stress level is getting too high. I have been panic free since over a year. Most importantly I learned to talk to my boss and wife in advance that I am having too much and I need to calm
Down. I need a bit of chill for 2-3 weeks. I will be slower, I will not drink coffee, but I need it.

The thing is... we look good and feel like we are rocking this world and then it just happens. And quite a big portion of people around just plow through normality and judge others for losing it. They are good at wearing a mask. They will always like us when we are normal, they will cheer when we get high, they reward us, and then... as if it was a relief to them “oh he, she collapsed, he/ she is human, uffff”. Just like here. There’s quiet audience, sometimes handing out sentences who is a cheater and who is a legend. They cheer for the underdog, and cannot wait for a stumble of the dominator. Same in life.

The best thing that lows taught me is to really appreciate the highs. But more importantly, to appreciate when things are calm. To find a moment where I am not ecstatic, just fine. I hope you can find that too Matt. And more.
  • 21 0
 realist shit i ever heard, thanks Waki
  • 10 0
 Thanks for sharing this Waki. One thing that has helped me more recently is learning that what we all really want, more than happiness, is peace. It makes things seem a little simpler as you don't really need anything to be at peace in any given moment.
  • 9 0
 Dude you are a real person. Thought you were a bit ‚strange‘.
Thanks alot for posting
  • 22 2
 @laxguy: it's also good to be able to see it in others. I have seen such situation several times and in two cases where I saw it coming, the person went on a sick leave. It really helps to ask: "are you ok? you seem quite stressed, I mean seriously stressed since a long time, is it somethin at work, can we help you". often people, especially men, don't want help. With women it tends to be a bit different, they hide the stress better, they get into aggro mode, seeming like achievers, at least that is my experience. Overenthusiastic people are also often stressed up as hell. I am fortunate to work in a place where we talk about it a lot, but it is still hard for folks to seek help, recognize that something is actually wrong and then admit they are not really coping. Really many folks don't understand that they are close to the edge. It can be compared to a newbie on a long ride, not realizing if he does one more sprint, he'll bonk heavily and getting home will be painful. But for most of us, we need to bonk, we need to hit the wall to know where the edge is. The sooner the better. I like to call it mental fitness. We need to train but we also need recovery. We have passion, work, family and limited energy. Yes we can often do much more than what we think we are capable of but in the end, we have limited energy. I find it very dangerous to follow some inspirational folks like David Goggins. Yes you can run an ultra maraton until you crap your stomach out while you think you could barely do a mile. The issue is that you have a 9-5 work, he doesn't. He can recover for a month, you have to recover before tomorrow. If you have a house renovation, sick kids or parents you have to tone down your job. Once you hit the wall hard, that's a fkng ride. You get depressed, and nobody really like depressed people. Even the most empathic people will tolerate you for no more than half of a year. Once you start to bum people out, become an "energy vampire" you are in for a really tough one. And I know a few folks like that. You become unreliable, it is hard to trust you and... you bum people out. You are sick and people stray away from sick people. They expect recovery. Nature has never favored weakness. At the end of the day, and this is a thought that has drawn me out of a few downs, at the end of the day: show must go on. Come up with a sustainable strategy how to keep your show going. We are all different, but check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • 10 0
 @WAKIdesigns: sometimes informative, sometimes enlightening, always entertaining. Comments here aren’t the same without you. Thanks to you and Matt and others that are willing to talk about heavy shit like this.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for sharing, I have had similar a experience back in 2012. New job, kids, stress of responsibility, crashed hard mentally and it took months to get back to an illusion of normal. Those panic attacks are the worst. Thought I was having a heart attack.
  • 2 0
 @green727: Never thought of it this way but it makes so much sense to me! peace > happiness.
  • 1 0
 @mainissueMTB: I should be sure to give all credit to Naval Ravikant for sharing that idea. "Happiness is peace on action."
  • 1 0
 *in
  • 13 0
 @Highlander406: me too, on one occasion I’ve been at the emergency room thinking I went through a heart attack. Triggered by a silly situation. My boss told me she went through a period of panic attacks coming from nowhere, she needed to learn to determine on what stress level she is. But right nutrition, training is important too. Lifting heavy, sprints, avoiding shit food really made a difference for me. Most importantly lowering my expectations. You won’t hear that from motivation gurus...
  • 5 0
 Truth and well said- I'm in this group with you. Never had a panic attack until this last spring and then I had about 5 within 2 weeks. Needed a life change and to open up about my inner battles. It's still a struggle but that's life isn't it. Thanks for sharing your story!
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: similar experience. over caffeinated stressed out day, and the heart tripped into race mode, and wouldn't slow down. thought i was having some sort of coronary event, and got a trip to emerg. freaky experience. i've since gotten better @ stress / anxiety management & recognizing the onset symptoms, and endeavoring to take the time to chill the f*ck out / re-prioritize things, but always a juggling act in a busy life.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns @Highlander406 Can you please try and explain what is like to have a panic attack? In plain language, like explain it to a friend
  • 7 0
 @pakleni: in my experience: hyperventilating, breathing fast and feeling like suffocating, racing heart, feeling like I am about to pass out, get paranoid want to run away, pain in the chest is also normal. It’s quite manageable with no people around, but when surrounded by others, the will to keep appearing as a “normal” person, makes it much harder. Psychologists say that trying to breathe slowly, counting to 4, thinking everything is ok for the next 5 minutes there is no threat, saying to people that you must leave, excuse me for a moment, these are all good strategies. If the attack overwhelms you anyways, it is advised by some to perform physical activity like running as soon as possible, as it calms down the reptile part of our brains. Taking sugar and drinking water helps as well

People often get pos traumatic reaction after a panic attack, they may feel disoriented, ill, memory loss, it is quite heavy on immune system, so it’s easy to get sick (my wife gets sick immediately after a high stress situation, she can liter. The level of cortisol stays high, so you feel weak, scared, not confident. For me the worst is loss of memory, especially short term memory and inability to focus. It can easily last a week or more. I literally felt as if I was run over by a bus.

Stress is like filling a glass of water. It is necessary, it keeps us sharp. Dealing with it makes us feel good. Let’s say a glass half full is good Smile 100% is a panic attack, system default. But every stressor adds water to this glass, and it takes time and certain actions for the level to go down. Feeling under threat from a deadline, client, being in love, getting angry at someone while driving, your kids pissing you off, waiting for result of mri scan, anything like that raises that level for a prolonged period of time. Certain kinds of Exercise, of meditation, good social interactions, they lower the stress. But if you keep pouring in, you will reach 75-90% and eventually your system will accept this level as the new norm. Not only it will be hard for you to lower it, once you lower it, you will feel worse. You will feel bored and lack meaning, because suddenly you have no fires to put out. This is what seems has happened to Matt. So if you operate at higher level of stress, then not only you are spending more energy and need more computing power devoted to more tasks, anything can trigger a oanic attack and reset the system. Then you feel like crap, feel powerless, you may not be able to remember pin code to your card, you start forgetting stuff at work, and new attack comes, and another one, like waves crashing on a boat. Then depression kicks in. It’s, it’s hard.
  • 2 0
 @pakleni: What WAKI said. Basically impending dread, narrowed vision, racing heart, hyperventilating, tightness in chest. Crying sobbing, curled up on the bed trying to breath. Overall runs about 30-60 minutes super intense takes days to complete recover. Completely exhausted after initial episode and very touchy physically and emotionally.
  • 4 0
 @Highlander406: feeling touchy and paranoid is just awful and I have seen it in others. Women ofter get this reaction. Instead of withdrawal and curling into a corner - full defense readiness. I know a girl who was impossible to joke with when she was going through divorce. She turned into a raging feminist, and employee of the month, she was just running around with bloody eyes, steaming nose and everyone would better watch their mouth. She was projecting stress, holy sht. As it calmed down, as she settled in new life situation, she became more like herself. Still driven, but not as aggressive and literally demanding agreement from everyone to everything she said. Men? Hah they are fkng annoying too. They turn into cry babies, they take forever to do anything, gasp and whine if you ask them to do anything. It makes me think how my mood affects others.
  • 2 0
 @Highlander406: 30-60 minutes of what Waki said? I would probably think that I'm going to die
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: hence the term panic attack...
  • 3 0
 @pakleni: it can sneak up on you. Sometimes it’s just that you can’t focus on anything l. Like when your partner is saying something or your reading a book and you can’t take it in. I was at a cognitive behavioural therapy session once and
My therapist was describing something to me and I asked her to repeat and literally said to her that it was because I could see a cloud of thoughts between us and couldn’t focus. Imagine that your mind is thinking of so much stuff that you literally can’t focus. You can’t read a book. You can’t enjoy a conversation. You have lost control of your brain.
  • 2 0
 @pakleni: yes, that is the initial thought and why many people go to the hospital thinking they are having a heart attack.
  • 1 0
 @Highlander406: been there, done that...
  • 3 0
 @Coyoteblue: the cloudy thing... I have that often and over the years I learned to stay calm with it, knowing it will go away, even if it lasts for hours or even a few days, since it was giving me terrible anxiety spikes and making everything even worse. The feeling of a blank in place of something obvious like own personal ID number or card pin, then the shame of having this blank. My wife used to kick the crap out of me in those occasions, which in one way is good because it keeps me motivated to stay sharp and not just slip away into “comfortably numb” but in another... holy crap... coming home knowing I don’t feel safe there, since my wife will give me sht and make me feel even worse. Took some time to make her get it that it is out of my control sometimes. So taking it easy over short comings of own brain is important, at least to me. It’s like, guess what can’t do a backflip today...
  • 61 0
 Good on you. The more men who are brave enough to tell their story, to be honest, to say "it's not just you" - the more people will actually seek help. Bravo, Matt. And thankyou.
  • 20 3
 Exactly. It is also important to be open for your own sake. I mean I am fkd up, I have no problem with being open, but being open to my boss and wife was very helpful. Even though you may get sht for being a "pussy". Yes you may... but it is still worth trying. You can't always do it with clients, at least not all of them, so you have to do it with someone, because keeping it in won't work. We need to communicate with others not just with ourselves. Otherwise demons wake up.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Opening up to my boss and girlfriend were some of the hardest things I have had to do, but they were absolutely necessary if I were to have any hope of recovering and making changes. As you and Matt have said the fear never completely goes away, but not being afraid of the people in your life and actually giving them the chance to help you is a life changer.
  • 5 0
 @highfivenwhiteguy: Most of my previous bosses, colleagues and acquaintances have all talked shit about the mentally ill, while not knowing that I myself suffer with it. I think I'll continue to keep my clinical diagnosis to myself, because I'm not strong enough to help break the stigma of it all, because that stenght is being used up to cope with the illness itself. I wouldn't wish this sht on my worst enemy.
  • 1 0
 @joebmx88: Personally, i would like to know.
Especially if we are spending time together with our kids. Maybe even riding somewhere in the woods and away from the civilisation.
Also, i would like to have some tips so that I know what are my options if you suddenly get into trouble. Should I remove the kids, should I leave you alone, what can I do to help?
  • 31 0
 Thanks for posting this.
  • 18 0
 "my brain was endlessly spinning out scenarios in my head. I couldn't sleep, couldn't think, couldn't get a few minutes of respite from the fear"

i'm not having two consecutive nights of good sleeps since...well, i forgot. overthinker with imposter syndrome, here i am.
  • 6 0
 oh yeah, i forgot: the only thing that makes the anxiety go away? RIDING MY f*ckING BIKE Big Grin
  • 7 0
 ‘Overthinker with imposter syndrome’ that’s me 100% too. I needed this article and comment section this morning
  • 18 0
 Most mountain bikers I know (myself included) are tightly wound people. I think it's a common reason we like to get out there and sweat.
  • 3 0
 For me for sure. I'm constantly on the go, if I couldn't ride my bike I don't know what I would do...
  • 6 0
 You ran. You ran until your muscles burned and your veins pumped battery acid. Then you ran some more.
  • 2 0
 @shredright: shredy, the way you said the running part reminds me of Forrest Gump, if you haven’t seen the movie make sure to watch, best written story for a movie ever imho. Also the way you said “you go till your veins pumped battery acid”, I get that, sounds just like me. Go go go until you hit a wall and go more...I completely get it, tough to say but so so true man.
  • 2 0
 Its actually from Fight Club. Forrest Gump is a good film too, yep.
  • 2 0
 @shredright: I was going with the "just felt like running"' man I haven't watched Fight Club in forever and then some, now I feel old.
  • 2 0
 @joose: Forrest Gump is older haha!
  • 2 0
 @shredright: dang, now I really feel old...and I'm only 33ish I think.
  • 13 0
 "my brain was endlessly spinning out scenarios in my head. I couldn't sleep, couldn't think, couldn't get a few minutes of respite from the fear." ... so... it's not meant to do that? BRB
  • 11 0
 Although not a bike related topic, very much so a very important topic, maybe even more so in this male dominated environment, which PB (and MTB) is.

Also in Australia suicide is a big (biggest?) killer under young males. So getting this out in the open is a good thing and appreciate it mate!
  • 10 0
 I am in a somewhat similar situation myself.
In 08 I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and anxiety.
My diagnosis was first Clinical Depression. Then through therapy and various meds I was finally given a "correct" diagnosis.
And I have learned how to deal with my mania in a positive way.
But my depressions combined with my anxiety leads to longer periods where I isolate myself.
I am sad to say that I have had more than one suicide attempt. My first one when I was 13.
So I get the importance of seeking help.
And articles like this helps reduce the stigma of having a mental diagnosis.
Personally I am open about my issues so that people can see that we're not the ticking bombs that media sometimes portray us as.
I for one will never pose a risk to anyone but myself.
Another thing worth mentioning is that around a third of all people will at one point or anotjer have contact witj mental health proffesionals.

And as for psychopharmaceuticals.
I am off them all. But I do not reccomend that for everyone.
  • 9 0
 Thank you for posting this. I decided to be very open about my burnout at my workplace as well; partly because there are many misconceptions about what causes this. It is easy to think that someone up the ladder is driving you, where the real pusher is yourself. The urge to perform is what keeps us going, and knowing when to admit "defeat" is very hard (though vital). I've been through this whole ordeal over two years ago, and it took me a year to be able to go shopping for groceries without anxiety.

It is the same as in mountain biking: to be a good rider, you have to know how to fall.
  • 8 0
 It is important to have a certain degree of awareness. It still is strange to me that we only recently opened up to the issues that our mind has to struggle with for various reasons. It is important to identify that you are struggling and to act when you need to. Equally important is a lobby for talking about all of this. There is no shame whatsoever in admitting that you have a problem. I for my part think that this is real strength! Thank you
  • 2 0
 And then there are some shitty conditions, alexithymia for instance, apparently 10% of people are concerned, and it's an inability to identifiy/talk about one's own emotions, and of someone else's emotions as well (so a possibly inate lack of awareness).
Consequently, people with alexithymia may have lot of interpersonnal issues and seem to manifest their emotions through physical symptoms (eating disorder, belly ache disorder, panic attack, etc).

Then you have other neurobiologic disorder (ADHD, ADD, autism) which can go unnoticed with executive functions issues, theory of mind issues, and the aformentionned alexithymia, all of which make life difficult (particularly social life), increase stress, anxiety, etc.
  • 10 0
 i suffer with general anxierty disorder too. I find that riding normally helps me forget about it for a few hours, but it always comes back.
  • 3 0
 It definitely makes you appreciate things more, especially riding. I can relate to some of what he's said, but I've never really suffered with fatigue. My bad experiences have, if anything, solidified my drive to live, and keep negative bullshit well away.
  • 13 0
 I have been an anxious person for as long as I can remember. Riding bikes requires such total concentration that it’s hard for the brain to do anything else, which is why it helps me (and others)

I struggle today feeling anxious about my wife being angry at me for riding my bike and spending (albeit a few hours a week max) away from parental duties. So I don’t ride my bike and feel a bit crap most of the time

Would be great if I could just chill out and move on, but I can’t. What’s most annoying is the knowing it’s happening but being unable to prevent
  • 7 0
 @commentsectiontroll: sitting there frustrated with everything and everyone, KNOWING the only fix is to go outside by myself and ride my bike...

yet the voice in my head says "f*ck your bike, you suck and its not that fun anyway, just sit here and sulk"..... its a struggle..
  • 4 0
 I read a really interesting piece that associated mindfulness and mtb that made a lot of sense...

www.mbr.co.uk/news/mountain-biking-mental-health-371357

That full concentration on the 'now' and not worrying about other stuff is one of the great things about cycling for me. Other sorts come close (skiing and climbing for me) as well...
  • 6 0
 @laxguy: Reading what you wrote sounded all too familiar, that voice in the back of your head talking you out of the very thing that will give you relief. I am lucky and have some people that I ride with who know how I am and aren't afraid to push me to get out and be a part of the group, but also understand when I simply can't make the ride that day. Hopefully you all either have people in your lives like that or are able to find them.
  • 3 0
 @slimboyjim: biking and snowboarding are the only two things in my life that can get 100% complete and total focus while im doing them and it forces me into the "here and now" so i can stop thinking about the "what ifs"
  • 1 0
 @commentsectiontroll: Same here. I have anxiety. It triggers a reaction in my body, not just mind. I enjoy riding my bike as it offers an escape.

I feel an immense guilt for riding at times as I am not home to help with our 4 year old. My wife says that it is fine but that guilt is still there.
  • 8 0
 Brave man Matt. Super to see you are making strides towards full recovery.
You can smell the testosterone in the comments section of every Pinkbike story - no offence meant - which makes this piece one of the most important I've seen on the site through the years. Perhaps one, two or twenty young men (most vulnerable) or women will read it and pause for thought and maybe revisit during a quiet time.
Folks, the shitty stigma is being lifted article by article, story by story.
Thank you Matt for sharing your story and vulnerability.
  • 7 0
 Brave, wise and informed words Matt, it's a difficult subject, anxiety shows itself in so many different ways, often the seriousness of it is impossible to see. The extreme unpredictable effects of it have already changed my life forever in ways I wouldn't wish on anybody.
  • 2 0
 So this. Well said, man!
  • 7 0
 Great article and thank you for sharing. I can definitely relate. Anxiety (and depression) finally caught up to me this past Sprint after a number of big life changes. Moved to a different state, started a new job, etc. My mood has gotten so bad that it’s robbed me of the one thing I love to do most and that is to mountain bike, however, I haven’t given up hope and have sought professional help. Again thank you for sharing and continue to take care of yourself. And for everyone struggling with mental illness: don’t give up and take the time needed to get well! Greg
  • 8 1
 If most people left work at work, leave plenty of time not to work, and unplugged more I think a lot of anxiety we see in our modern world would melt away. Then all the drugs, rough conversations, and therapy wouldn’t be needed.

It’s real for sure but very preventable. We all stay too busy and too tech attached. Neither is good for you. Let’s work on preventing not just fixing.
  • 3 0
 Running a small business at age 25, in social media world leaves very little room to unplug. It's taken a serious toll on me at times. The best thing I ever did was buy a gravel bike and start doing 4-5 hour "mental reset" rides once in a while. I found that quick mtb rips after work only helped me for a short time, where really getting out there 20+ miles from cell service has a lasting affect and raises my threshold for getting worked up.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for sharing dude, this is real life. I've been battling the same for the most part of my life, it's not easy, but it will get better. The first step is being conscious when it happens so that you can take care of yourself as it does.

And... riding bikes is fun, never forget that Smile
  • 5 0
 Props to you @mattwragg for publicly sharing this. I have found that most of the stigma involved in anxiety isn't anywhere as bad as us anxiety sufferers think it is. We are the ones that think the worst Wink Don't forget that everyone suffers from anxiety, self-doubt and fear, our levels are just turned up a couple of notches. It's up to us to decide how much we listen to that little nagging voice of self-doubt. It takes work, because at times it can be incessant, but keep up the good fight and don't forget to breathe.
  • 5 0
 Matt - I hope that the sheer weight of support within this article shows how much the stigma of mental health has changed. Once you talk about it, it is incredible how many others have experienced similar, whether directly or indirectly, and are understanding and willing to help. I lost my brother in law through suicide a few years back, and suffered stress myself a year later. What I learned is that mental health is dangerous in the way it is a slow creep until it hits crisis point. Recognising that creep is key. I was recommended to look into mindfulness by a therapist and it worked for me. Best of luck in your fight, and thank you for sharing.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I'm in a very similar position these days, too. You're not alone, and you're definitely not weak. Mental illnesses are invisible disabilities. This takes a lot of strength. Remember to nurture compassion for yourself. This isn't a fight against yourself. You aren't poisoned, or tainted, or broken. You are human, complex, and wonderful. There's no monster inside of you to defeat---there's a scared child to love. You're committing yourself to a path of growth and learning, and with time, of healing. There's no rules or expectations about how this should be, or what you should do. We're all rooting for you!
  • 4 0
 Matt, first of all hats down for being so open! I really hope it will help you a bit.
It will be a year soon I have lost one of my friends because of anxiety, I knew the guy for something like 22 years and never had a clue what is he going thru before he ended his pain on this world. You would never expect that from the person he was. However, that was only outside..

Wish you all the best to get out of it! Just share it with others, don´t keep it in yourself
  • 4 0
 We all push ourselves. It's easy to notice a crash and develop a recovery plan on the bike; it's so tangible. However a mental crash is much harder to recognize and handle. Often we are pushing ourselves just as hard mentally as we are physically. That being said, it can be a great wake-up call once it happens.

Personally I had a mental break down about a year ago. It forced me to reevaluate everything I was doing wrong. With the help of my girlfriend and friends, I was able to turn things around. I got back to exercise and nutrition, lost over 30 lbs, went back to college and finished my degree, and organized a bunch of ski and bike trips with great friends.

It's weird because we almost brag about our MTB crashes, but we hide our mental ones and feel shame. Thanks to articles like this it feels like the tides are shifting. I hope everyone one is doing OK and if not, it's important to be honest about it. Speak up!!!
  • 4 0
 The chorus cannot be big enough here. Thank you for sharing the struggle, and I hope this has made you (and anyone else out there with any kind of mental health issues, even if they don’t look or feel like what’s presented in the media) that you’re not alone and there’s no shame in needing help. God knows I’ve struggled with the latter. For all we love to claim that “my bike is my therapist”, sometimes—far more often than many would like to admit—that’s not enough.

Thanks again. I never thought I’d see this on PB and I can’t give you enough props.
  • 4 0
 Great to see posts like this. Fair play Matt and thanks for sharing. We all go through something at some time and a little understanding, support and kindness goes a long way. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue, Me, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or whatever you want to call it these days. It tore my life apart. Looking back I know it was from pushing myself far too hard on the bike, riding 6 days a week and never really resting on top of a stressful job and a new baby. Something snapped and looking back now I had a major chemical imbalance which stopped me from doing anything, litterally anything including watching TV on the sofa - all I could do was sit in a dark room. The Doctors ran tests and couldn't work out what was wrong, they told me I'd have to manage my symptoms and wouldn't fully recover - being the type of person I am I put my all into finding some hope. I still recall a reoccuring nightmare of being trapped in a massive dark underground maze. Over time and from doing research I realised my body had got itself stuck in fight or flight. The chemical taps were left open - both filling my body with stress chemicals and draining it of them at the same time. Over a number of years I re-taught myself how to unconsciously react properly to stimuli. Gradually I began to trust and believe - it was so hard but an amazing journey looking back. 2 years after I was diagnosed I managed to go for a ride up a local hill to a viewpoint, when I got there I cried. Today I'm working with a coach who is helping me build my strength for Enduro, riding 2-3 times a week, completely recovered and fit as I would have hoped to be before my incident. I feel blessed but also grateful for the support of those around me who understood and gave me the space I needed to go on my own journey, especially my wife and my employer. I write this as I hope one person who has gone or is down this rabbit hole benefits and gains the hope to start trusting again.
  • 6 0
 "my brain was endlessly spinning out scenarios in my head. I couldn't sleep" can relate and on a similar journey of recovery
  • 4 0
 Thanks for sharing Matt and I wish you well. I can relate to the daily struggle only too well. For what it is worth, I explored cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and have found it to be really beneficial.
  • 4 0
 Great courage doesn't always come in the form of "sending it". Glad you share this. It's part of the experience of being human, and imho we should aim to be more vocal about how things appears tu each of us in our own world.
  • 3 0
 thanks for sharing, i had a bad concussion that really did a number on me, ended up on some meds for a little while. helped me rest and get a little bit ahead of the worry, just enough to get back on my feet. thanks again for helping it be OK to talk about
  • 3 0
 Thank you for posting this. I went through a very similar situation in 2012 and it's forever changed me. Many folks don't get the help they need and instead bury themselves in addiction or worse. I wish you continued healing, and thanks again for opening up about this. I'm sure you've helped more people than you realize with your words.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for writing this. I relate 100%. Teared up reading it. Anxiety has been crippling me for years. I also am seeing a therapist and finally feeling ok in my own body and mind. I wasted so much time doing nothing about it. Good luck to you and everyone else who struggles being inside their own mind. NO REGRETS
  • 3 0
 Thank you so much for your openness. There is so much ignorance and stigma associated with mental health. These are very real diseases just like any purely physical one.

I have been fighting what I now know to be bipolar 2. No mania but it can cycle faster and/or go down into long periods of horrible depression sometimes lasting weeks or years. It was originally diagnosed as clinical depression but no meds worked really. When they got it right the meds worked and I an functional, work, married, apartment, etc. Its hard to have fought this shit for so long. I'm 37 and it started when I was a kid. I do what I can but as with any disease when it's in full on assault it's very difficult to get through.

One thing that I find highly therapeutic is mountain biking. It's great to get the endorphins flowing and I cant think too much or I'll crash so theres that too. I en

Thanks again
  • 3 0
 Sat here welling up at this, it’s incredible how relatable this is, I personally suffered with stress and anxiety and became the master of sweeping it under the carpet, it all catches up with you until the day you look in the mirror and see your 22 year old self with hair falling out and being unable to remember the last time you slept more than four hours, and spent months not telling anybody how I felt, and feeling ashamed that I was stuggling, I don’t really have a point in commenting this but all I can say is talking helps, I’m a very different person 18 months later, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have friends and family to support me when I finally cracked, and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel for those who are experiencing darker days, hell of thing to start this conversation @mattwragg it’s more relevant now than ever before, mad respect man
  • 3 0
 Oh man this really hit home for me... The whole "reading about people with anxiety being afraid to go into stores" and not feeling like I can relate to that at all. That is the exact reason I never thought I had anxiety. Plus, I am an extroverted person by nature, so I just thought."that aint me, Im just stressed because ______". The sleeplessness and self medication finally got to the point where I needed to do something. I finally went to the doctor and filled out one of those GAD worksheets. Don't be afraid to talk about it people. Anxiety is not just people who are crippled by fear of going in public or talking to people etc.
  • 3 0
 This is awesome @mattwrag- I'm in the dream job side of things too and had a massive bout with anxiety last spring. I can totally relate to the pressures of the industry and wanting to be good at something you love. I felt out of control- near death- just a complete mess. Worst part was I felt even worse because- as a man- I felt I couldn't tell anyone. I suffered alone until I had a day so bad I thought I was reaching a point of no return and finally opened up. Super scary to do and so massive props to you for doing it here- but also a massive thank you for doing it- this is a conversation dudes have a hard time getting or accepting. I get it - and you are one brave son of a bitch for doing it. Hats off to you- keep on fighting.
  • 7 0
 best article ever written on pink bike.
  • 2 0
 Thank you for posting this. I decided to be very open about my burnout at my workplace as well; partly because there are many misconceptions about what causes this. It is easy to think that someone up the ladder is driving you, where the real pusher is yourself. The urge to perform is what keeps us going, and knowing when to admit "defeat" is very hard (though vital). I've been through this whole ordeal over two years ago, and it took me a year to be able to go shopping for groceries without anxiety.

It is the same as in mountain biking: to be a good rider, you have to know how to fall.
  • 2 0
 Hello Matt. Take a rest, leave your camera and phone at home and go for a walk in the nature. Breath. Take your time. Enjoy the smallest of the things like the wind blowing on to you. Take this as an exercise for some hours every week. I believe it will help heal yourself. In the long term, select your assignments, your customer, your project. For some projects try to shoot on film, it will force you to slow down the process and yourself too. Good luck Wink
  • 4 0
 Great article. Theres a lot of mental illness in my family and the more people talk about it, the more the barriers come down.
  • 2 0
 Truthfully admitting to yourself that things really are not alright before experiencing anything "severe" or "diagnosable" is something I am still trying to figure out. Even the stress alone that can be produced trying to communicate your struggles with friends/family is enough to cause harm in and of it self sometimes.
Something I think I am only starting to realize, yet continuously failing to action in my own life is the overstimulation I think we are all susceptible to. This just compounds our normal stresses in life and never gives us down time to really recover.

Thank you for writing this Matt. We need more of this.
  • 2 0
 Powerful words Matt. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I've had similar issues and it's hard to open up about it. I think for many men (and I'm sure many women too), pride not only delays getting the help that's needed, but worsens the problem itself. I'm happy to hear you've found some inner peace, and I hope it continues. I've found my own (cycling is my stress reliever and meditation) but there's no easy fix and it's a moving target.
  • 2 0
 Just want to pile on with my thank you. And add to the public list of people admitting that I went through the exact same thing a few years ago. It's not rare, it's common. And with our culture today, becoming more and more common. I thought I could keep the sprint pace no problem until I hit a wall and broke. So if you're struggling with this, you're not weird and you don't have to stay isolated. I'm a woman, but thank you SO much for your willingness to share as I know there's a little more stigma for the guys.
  • 2 0
 Thank you so much for this. I have been struggling with anxiety for years and I still can't get myself out of the vicious cycle of "not being enough" or "normal" because mountainbiking and anxiety doesn't really match. One reason is to not talk about it openly - maybe I need to change that too.
  • 2 0
 I also want to quickly give props to the support networks here. The wives/husbands, brothers/sisters, kids, bosses/workmates, and riding buddies who often silently take up the slack - sometimes graciously, sometimes not - but stand by faithfully.
Most of them won’t be reading this, but a homage to them all just the same.
It’s certainly worth buying them a beer/chocolate/sandwich/flowers sometime and telling them how vital they are - and to ask them to keep hanging in there for us.
  • 2 0
 So good to read this. Massive props dude, I entered my struggle through a similar thing of overworking and stress. Turns out I’ve got ptsd and bipolar. My life’s done a full flip but with lots of very expensive therapy things are finally getting better and I’m getting my passions back. Riding my bikes becoming fun and little commitment again to work or sponsors is fantastic
  • 2 0
 Thanks for sharing you story. Stress and anxiety over time is tough to work through, I've been there. Reads like you have a good network of family and friends. Enjoy the rides. Cheers, C.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing Matt Went through my own version of this a few years ago and the hardest part was admitting there was something wrong. Once that thought materialized everything came to a head for me and I to had a what I call a nervous break down to. It has taken a few years and I still have setbacks but things are better now.
  • 1 0
 I'm in the middle of a stressful job change so can totally relate to feeling too tired to ride my bike - the thing that normally keeps me sane. As others have said, we become so achievement focused that we allow impossible expectations and irrational fears to mount even though our performance/wealth/career doesn't really matter at the and of the day. Also, that's not why our family and friends love us, but still we somehow forget. Lately, I've been focusing on improving my self-care habits - more face-to-face conversations and less screen time among other things which seems to be helping.

Thanks for sharing in such a public way Matt. Hopefully this article empowers people to realize anxiety shouldn't be normal, and that getting help isn't an admission of failure.
  • 1 0
 Awesome post! Talking about mental health is so important, yet so stigmatized. Talking with a professional and using medication is often the only way to get out of the spiraling thought cycle that you described. Nothing to be ashamed of! Just as we go to doctors and do physical therapy to fix parts of our body when we get hurt or something stops working correctly, we also need to go to psychiatrists and therapists to deal with trauma or negative changes in our mental health. So glad you are starting to find some clarity, and I'm so glad that you found the courage to speak openly about it!
  • 1 0
 Thank you for sharing Matt. You're not alone. I'm self employed, trying to make a living doing something I love, dealing with stress, self doubt/imposter's syndrome. I also had a sort of breakdown late last fall (not sure if that's what it was exactly) I finally went to see a specialist and was properly diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, ADD, as well as depression. I also found out that it runs in the family. Of course nobody talks about it. It's a dark secret. I wish someone had said something sooner. It sure would have helped!

I'm so glad that you had the courage to get help, as well as to share your story here. It's helping people like me. It needs to be more acceptable to talk about mental health. There are so many people who are struggling and are ashamed and/or unaware. Thanks again Matt.
  • 2 0
 You wanted a weed prescription, admit it!

No seriously, thank you for the open words. I found traits of my own behaviour/personality which somewhat shocked me. Keep your head up!
  • 1 0
 Wow this is awesome! Thanks for sharing and for reaching out and getting help, big props man. This really connected and it's so great to see such positivity and support here. I'm a therapist who rides, my therapist rides and riding helps me cope. No one gets through alone and getting help matters and it makes a difference. I really think everyone can benefit from therapy. And for those in the struggle, get help, don't be ashamed, never give up, you are not alone, we are not alone and it can get better, a lot better. Matt you opened a great trail here, thanks.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg, your note about thinking it was "normal" to be under such high pressure for so long reminds me of this quote:

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society" by Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Also, the book When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate is an excellent read about how continued mental stress manifests itself physically (sometimes in the form of panic attacks)
  • 1 0
 This really hits home. Thanks so much for posting. I went through a similar “breakdown” three years ago and at the time really struggled to understand what was happening to me but it all makes sense now. Right now I’m trying to manage stress in ways to prevent it from happening again. It’s been a long and difficult road but it’s just like climbing a mountain and taking one pedal stroke at a time and being patient with yourself and your expectations...
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg dude, good for you mate, that took some balls I reckon! And I agree completely with your own comments; talking about it is so very important.

After more than 20 years of mental health problems and trying everything that western medicine had to offer, last month I discovered something that has helped me more than I could dream for! I'll share a couple of links here and if the urge takes you, I recommend having a gander! I don't think I've ever felt as good as I do right now, and a big party of that was finding these 2 things. Big love...

youtu.be/o1Tt0yGMm88

charleseisenstein.org/books/the-more-beautiful-world-our-hearts-know-is-possible/eng/separation
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing. I had a very similar experience 2 years ago and prob wouldn’t have gotten thru it without my mom. While it went down I felt I was the problem in reality I was just not doing a good job of handling life’s pressures. Mindfulness and mentality is an important part of life that’s easy to forget
  • 1 0
 Thank you for putting this out here. People should speak more about mental health. Going through some issues on my own too, lots of life changes in a very short span of time. I thought it was normal to "recover" so quickly but after a couple of months after the changes, the stress, anxiety, depression and weight loss came on.

Reaching out is always helpful. God bless us all.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Pinkbike. This is so timely and completely needed in my life. Very cool to post this. Mountain bikers are human and have real human troubles. So nice to see it addressed here. Thank you to all who post your past and present struggles. I'm in the same boat my friends. Riding is the answer for me most of the time, but I'm not above asking for help and baring my soul to a friend when I'm really struggling. It's hard at first, but so worth it. Thank you Pinkbike and all you commenters. I appreciate you.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing Matt. You seem to be working it out. I too have had my issues with a highly stressed and traumatic job managing teams equally stressed (on top of which you pile your personal family life). You want to hide it until the moment you cant. I remember driving once about 7 years ago and having a full scale head explosion on the hard shoulder. Another time crying my eyes out in a layby on the way home. I started drinking every day to escape it (which does not work). For me it was an epiphany and allowed me to see it in others and support them. Does it go away? No. Can I manage it all the time? No. Last night was my first full night sleep in a week. Originally I went to the docs. She tried to prescribe something but I refused (probably wrongly). I force myself to find my own time and even if I ride out then sit under a tree for an hour, that counts. Ill say these things;
Be open and honest. Dont hide it.
If you have kids you still need regular weekly/daily you time. Family is hard work.
Learn to say no at work. Hard but you must.
The things you love can be contributors -yes that includes mtb. Final straw scenarios etc.
Mix up your sport. Try running as its great for smashing it out without tree risk.
Dont be ashamed. I found it bizarrely empowering that I learnt my mental body in the same way you learn your strength.
I do not consider myself weak. Knowledge is power.
Stay safe folks, stay safe.
  • 1 0
 Well done Matt - brilliant writing.
You are not alone - I am in a similar situation, although I find myself 'back in the cycle'.
My latest meds have made me lethargic, gain weight, lack motivation and also got me questioning myself - although my sleep has improved. But I'll take energy and motivation over sleep any day.
I've also 'finished' my counselling/therapy sessions - and I found they were the biggest help.
Reading your words has made me realise I need to reach out again and try to put it 'back in its box'.
Good luck with your recovery - it isn't easy and there will be lows - but remember you are not alone in this and we should all talk about it more openly.
Thank you.
  • 1 0
 "all though my life will always be divided into before this and after this..." Having this psychological watershed is not a bad thing. It's good. I have the same thing (pre-anxiety and post-anxiety me) and I prefer post-anxiety me. Hopefully you will too. For starters, you've already got one thing you never had in the past; the tools to identify and avoid anxiety/depression.
  • 1 0
 Thank you, Matt. Reading your article really meant a lot. I am struggling with anxiety and I really appreciate and relate to your words. I have been struggling to get on my bike, or to even be active. I am scared to ride sometimes. I am working on it, but it sure isn't an easy battle. Thanks again, Matt. You truly are inspiring.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for the courage to share! Been where you are and come through the other side. I went on meds for about a year and that was a life saver for me. Don't be afraid of that option, as they can be effective component of your treatment. Hang in there!
  • 1 0
 talking the truth is so good! thanks for that! the beauty is that doors open for others to do the same... i have done that in a yoga training with 40 people in the room with something where I had a lot of shame feelings for , its such a relief and its like time stops and you feel the energy of the truth talk .
  • 1 0
 From 37 Bodhisattva Practices: "Diverse sufferings are like the death of a child in a dream. By apprehending illusory appearances are real, one becomes weary. Therefore, when encountering disagreeable circumstances, viewing them as illusory is the Bodhisattva's practice." Not to be taken entirely literally or out of context of Buddhist views of impermanence. However, it is helpful to understand the nature of the world is impermanent and phenomenon are dream like in their ultimate nature. If this is realized it gives the world a kind of lightness and takes away the power anxious thoughts have over your mind. Further examination of anxiety will reveal it's bases for existence is the ego, which is it's self an illusory mental construct.
  • 1 0
 Thanks so much for sharing. Smile

I went through the same thing. Burned out around the same time with a big bang. It all started with a panic attack and a nervous brake down on an airplane. I never thought something like this would be possible. Worked my ass off for a year and a half trying to build a startup next to my regular job. Put in 60-80+ hour work weeks and commuted 4 hours to my girlfriend over the weekends.

Looking back I can also see the cycle, but in that year I felt so much energy and kept pushing myself. I guess I always did that, being over ambitious in everything and to be honest, even when people told me to slow down, I didn't because it was fun. A month or two before my breakdown it kind of started to get exhausting and it wasn't fun anymore, but instead of throwing the anchor I still tried to keep pushing to get the next funding.

After that day on the plane my life has changed. I had lots of physical and mental health problems in the last year. Before that I was never really ill my whole life. But it got better. I never thought an illness like this really existed, but now I know. I also lost control over my brain!

However the deep fatigue I experienced for the first couple of months vanished. The panic attacks got better and the physical problems vanished altogether. I still got some recurrent issue but I am enjoying life and maybe we come out of this stronger than before! Fortunately I got people around me that helped me thought that time and I hope everyone else who has to go through the same things does too.

Biking helped me a lot to overcome the depressions that followed the breakdown. The first time that I rode my bike in spring I felt so alive again and it made me realize that things will get better.

Cheers and thanks again so much for sharing this!! I neve thought I would read sth like this on pinkbike. Smile
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing. Far too many people hide mental health problems and don't seek the help they need. I too suffer from General Anxiety Disorder, along with depression and Bi Polar 1. Under the care of a great psychiatrist and therapist and everything is kept under control.. People need to realize that they are not alone.
  • 1 0
 Matt thanks for sharing that. I've gone to the psychiatrist one month ago. After trying to go to therapists for years and finding only bad ones I've been diagnosed with panic attacks and depression which seems very similar to what you are going through. The effects have been the same - it has been hard doing what I love. It's hard to do the job I love and I ride much less (though that is also a factor of less money for trips). Strangely enough, my psychiatrist claims there is an underlying cause for my anxiety and it's ADD. The real kind, not the "my kid is annoying me" kind. The diagnosis explained many problems in my life and even though I'm yet to start working on it it feels like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Once again thanks for sharing that. More people and men especially should openly talk about getting psychiatric and therapist help, especially in our community that tends to value aggression and bulldozing over stuff as you mention
  • 1 0
 @mattwrag from the moment I've read the line "That's the dirty secret about doing something you love - it brings about a whole new set of pressures, because how can you live with yourself if you fail at it? Or have to go back to working that 9-5 desk job?" I knew your text was going to touch me deep. Thank you for sharing your story. I found myself in exact situation this year. After 15 years of pursuing my dream job an being highly successful the last 3-4 years. With some minor health problems which, now I know, are all related to psychical state. This year I had the awakening moment when I landed at the ER with heart attack symptoms.. (obviously I was healthy as a horse). The stress levels and anxiety also triggered my long time asthma so now I need to find another job (I'm a freelance conservator of paintings) without the sense of failure. Only thanks to my loving and ultra-patient girlfriend and (as silly at it may sound) returning to mtb riding I've catched the grip and slowly started to see what my life had become. It's a dangerous statement that doing the thing you love you'll never gonna work in your live. You work 24/24 and stress about everything because of huge emotional bond you've got with this activity. My dream job was going to gave me money and free time, and this year I realized that I'm not cycling, not rock-climbing, I haven't got the time to see my gf or family, I have no vacations no rest and no peace to hear my thoughts. I just work thinking that the good times are almost just there. Month by month and year by year. I wish you a peaceful new life and distance and being with the loved ones as much as you need. Take care!
  • 4 0
 Very important article. Good luck @mattwragg
  • 2 0
 Tank you @mattwragg for this, i can relate to some of the things you say and your point of view help me a bit to see things differently
  • 2 0
 What we call reality is in fact, nothing more than a culturally sanctioned and linguistically reinforced hallucination, of some sort.
  • 3 0
 Well sad..I can relate- anxiety is no joke. I'v been struggling with it for over 10 years. Good luck!
  • 2 0
 Matt, that was one of the most meaningful opinion piece I've read in a long time. I'm very happy for you the way things are going. Keep it up. Life is for living.
  • 1 0
 We all live with the thought how do our peers judge us. With social media your apparent worth can be inflated to unpresidented levels in a very short amount of time. Feeding social media can feed your own stress levels.
  • 1 1
 I find this sad. Talk about first world problems.... feel free to live in a 3rd world country for a period of time, or join public service, be it military, police, Fe, etc, then maybe you can all learn what real stress is. I’m sorry I relate to a lot of things he is saying, but I and many others couldn’t afford to shutdown... MENTAL TOUGHNESS is a real issue and we can’t keep coddling people because their families failed to truly discipline them
  • 3 0
 So relatable. Thanks for sharing.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg thanks for sharing this and well done for getting help!
  • 2 0
 The openness and communication with those who effect and mean the most to us is key. Undoubtedly you are not alone.
  • 2 0
 Keep at it Matt. I hope things continue to get better for you. Thanks for sharing, I'm sure it wasn't easy.
  • 3 0
 Nothing wrong with a 9-5 job.
  • 1 0
 Amazing, you put into words what many people feel. The lack of sleep and constant worrying is exhausting, such a deep pit. Cheers to being happier and healthier
  • 1 0
 Thank you for sharing this. Our struggles with mental illness are one of the hardest things to be open about to the world, but it's so important.
  • 1 0
 Massive Props for writing this, can really relate to your descriptions - Thanks for sharing, can guarantee you have helped people out with this.
  • 1 0
 Great article thanks. I’m an IT desk jockey and weekend warrior overcoming anxiety and ramping down the anti-Ds. The more we talk about this the more journal
  • 2 0
 Thanks for sharing Matt. Wishing you the best. Cheers
  • 1 0
 Thanks for writing this. It takes courage to put pen to paper and make public #Kudos.
  • 1 0
 Awesome job Matt, the world is better because of this post. You are a badass, sir.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing, Matt. You aren’t alone. The impact of articles like this have a great impact on others. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 HUGE, and well written. Cheers to a healthier , better life going forward
@mattwragg
  • 1 0
 Thank you for this. Injury, healing and recovery sometimes makes us well. Everything needs care to thrive.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for posting this, I just went through something very similar almost to the T.
  • 1 0
 Self care is sexy! Good on ya matt! We're better off when this kind of stuff is shared!
  • 1 0
 Here.. Baaaack rail fufanu at 2:11 www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSY6A4kmHcM
  • 2 0
 Thanks for sharing
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 1 0
 thanks for sharing - mad kudos - mind yourself - you got this !
  • 1 0
 Thank you for writing this, and thanks, Pinkbike, for publishing it.
  • 1 0
 Thanks Matt, I appreciate you sharing your story.
  • 1 0
 Props man. I went through the same thing
  • 1 0
 Thanks for posting Matt. That took proper courage.
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 Oops. Didn’t finish. The more the better. Thanks again!!!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing. Helped me tremendously in a dark time. Cheers.
  • 1 0
 Spring not Sprint. Smile
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 thanks for posting this
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 #itsokayjustlove
  • 1 0
 Thank‘s for sharing
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 0
 Fhfhf
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 ????
  • 1 0
 Thanks for sharing.
  • 5 8
 microdose of mushrooms will dial it in, that plus daily exercise and CBD supplements.
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 CBD oil just made me terribly depressed and emotional. It may work for some in treating anxiety and/or depression, but is definitely not for me.
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 NEVER take pharmaceutical advice from PB comments

Psilocybin (active psychedelic in shrooms) has great promise to treat mood disorders but it is not yet understood and can be incredibly dangerous. How much is a microdose? How potent are the mushrooms? How often? Where do you get them? Will it reduce anxiety to be arrested for drug possession? When I was in school, the general wisdom was never to do shrooms if you were stressed or depressed because it could just escalate things.

CBD supplements have no measurable psychoactive effect. Some studies suggest they have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with pain, but the results are inconclusive. If you take CBD supplements for mental health and they work, GREAT! It makes no sense and the results are not repeatable, but results are still results.

Now daily exercise, that I can get along with. Plenty of evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, to show that getting off your butt is the best first step to feeling better.
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