Confessions of a Depressed Triathlete

by yaagTRI

I’ve been competing, or should I say “taking part in”, Triathlon since 2008. I do so because I love the challenge, the experience and the atmosphere, the people I’ve met passing through, there definitely is a community spirit within Triathlon that you don’t find in other sports. Sure there’s competition, no one likes to get beaten, but also there is the individual challenge. Once you are out competing in any triathlon, you’re essentially competing against yourself.

However, these points aside, there is another reason I take part in Triathlon. Why I try to put the hours of training in, why I would spend my lunchtimes swimming, biking or running? Give me a few minutes and I will explain.

This year has been the best year I have ever had as far as training goes. Not only did I manage to get to do nearly every single one of the planned training sessions (I train alone), but I also managed to complete the training that was put in front of me (I don’t have a coach, it’s all from a free printed 12 week plan), and to top it off nicely not one single day of illness and no injuries. So things have gone pretty well for me this year, so much so that on one night in March after another decent weeks training I was looking through the days tweeter feed when I noticed the following tweet

“Looking to speak to someone who overcame depression/similar illness via triathlon”


and without much thought I replied, “could possibly help you with this if you are still looking” (that last bit is a lie because I actually made a pretty bad typo which i won’t repeat :-p). Now, I didn’t reply because I knew another person who had found triathlon had helped them with depression, nope, I replied because that person was me. Everything happened pretty quickly after this, interview, suddenly a photographer was found, pictures were taken, and that was that.

So, all well and good, eventually a few months later the article was published. Family and a few close friends saw it and said it was brave, some said inspirational, people said they were proud, which was nice. I couldn’t help thinking it was a really risking decision to make, people have bizarre ideas about “mental illness” like depression and now it was possible that work colleagues and random strangers would know about me and my condition. But you know, really, I couldn’t give a…. 😉

I justified that I put myself forward and ultimately took part in the finished article, because I hoped that maybe even if it was only a few people who had a similar “condition” to me read the article, and had previously doubted they could take up the sport (or any sport for that matter), or that it might not have any beneficial significance to their lives, it might spur them on to take it up, and they may even find it making a massive difference to their day to day lives. The thing is though, I couldn’t help thinking after the magazine hit the shelves that the whole thing was a bit egotistical, I mean, who wouldn’t want their picture in a magazine, the chance to have some cool pictures taken by a professional, I have to admit it was pretty cool, even if the reason it happened in the first place wasn’t.

My blog was created with only a few things in mind, 1. To be able to share my race experience with my family, who live on the other side of the English Channel and 2. Provide some insight into the triathlon and running events in Switzerland, Triathletes like to travel and I for one are always looking for more info on events across the globe. It’s a pretty simple blog, and I really don’t have the time to update every week, so posts are going to be a premium. It wasn’t and It won’t be a weekly diary of a “depressed “triathlete”, unless someone is willing to pay me a lot of money to do so :-p and I suppose it’s kind of a catchy blog title 😉

So, finally ( thanks if you managed to read this far 😉 ) why is this post here? Well the last couple of weeks have not been particularly good for me, I’ve been sloshing around in a bit of a hole, it’s the flip side to the good times I had at the beginning of the year, but it’s not doom and gloom, I’ve managed to stick to some sort of training, I’ve missed a lot of sessions, but I’ve managed to pick myself up and get back on with it, this week has been a return to “form” both “mentally” and training wise. This post is here because maybe, possibly, someone like me might just happen to end up on this page one day, looking to take up the sport, they might wonder is it possible, is it going to make a difference, can I do it, I can say now, it’s not easy, it’s not even easy for someone who isn’t suffering from depression, but it is possible! If you are that person, and you want to get in touch, or need any advice, I’d be more than happy to help, you can fire me an email here. Thanks!

Now get back to training! 😉

Check out yaagTRI Blog here!

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Further Articles: Triathlon Motivation



2 responses to “Confessions of a Depressed Triathlete”

  1. Hey! I just came across this article through a link from facebook. It caught me eye when I seen the two words, triathlete & depressed! My story is almost mirror like to your own. I too suffer from depression and am a firm believer in the old saying ”healthy body, healthy mind” so gave the gym a go and before I even realised I was signing up for my first triathlon and it continued with other bike and run races. Please feel free to have a quick browse at my website, which I built to try and help others in the same situation, its http://www.thereishelp.net. If you are on facebook look me up as well, finnegan21@live.ie is my email, I wouldnt mind maybe chatting with you some more!! Well done by the way on all you have done so far!!

    Good luck!

    Tony.

  2. matthew key says:

    Hi Tony,
    Thanks for the kind words. It’s great to hear similar stories, and as you say, it can be as simple as keeping body healthy and sometimes the mind follows 🙂 The website looks great by the way. I’m just heading away on holiday for a week but when I return I promise I will get in touch!
    cheers, Matt

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