‘I first experienced depression in my mid- teens. It was like being in a fog a lot of the time. I was a quiet and shy kid and spent a lot of time questioning myself. Some of the symptoms are feelings I’ve had many times over the years of my life. Sadness, loss of interest, difficulty in staying focused, hopelessness, fatigue and self-doubt.
I was clinically diagnosed with depression in 2003 a month after the Tour de France. I was prescribed medication which helped a lot over the next couple of years. I’ve been on a different anti -depressant recently and that along with talk therapy has been great and I have seen a huge improvement.
Like a lot of diseases depression can run in families. Basically, when I was born I ran a greater chance of getting a depressive illness. My sister and my mother currently suffer from depression. My grandmother and grandfather fought depression all their lives.
I ride my bike as much as I can. It helps mentally as well as physically. Cycling has always been a great way to clear my head. Sometimes as a professional I found it hard to actually get out on the bike. I would suffer lack of motivation and focus on training rides.
However, my whole attitude and perspective on things would change once I was out on the road.
Staying active is a good way to keep depressive symptoms at bay’