Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, you know the story of how I came to be a biker.  A friend of mine asked me to pick him up from the local Harley dealership for lunch, and when they wheeled his motorcycle out of the service department, I asked, “you have a motorcycle?” 

He said, “everybody you know has a motorcycle!”

I was suffering from depression at the time.

My life changed when I bought a motorcycle.  This was radical.  This was extreme.  The risks were real.  It was life changing.  With over 150,000 miles in less than four years, I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is the time of the year where it’s easy to slip into a “funk” and start to feel a little depressed.  Shorter days, colder temperatures, the holidays and all of the pressure associated with it and all of a sudden, you’re feeling pretty “blue.” 

I’m not the least bit ashamed to share my story and I hear from people all the time who are relieved to hear someone talk about it, because they’re going through the same thing.  I instantly felt better once I got it off my chest and I’ve received TONS of encouragement ever since. 

Hank Motorcycle

Hank Bonecutter

I’m not an expert and I don’t proclaim to be, but I’ve been down that road and I’m better for it.  You’re not alone.

The brain is a powerful thing, and if we let it, it can turn against us.  Having joy and happiness in your life is not something that comes easy.  We’ve been told, “you can’t do that” or “don’t do that” or “that’s not going to work.”  We’ve been taught to fail until we take a leap of faith and trust our instincts to be different.  To be the “winner” we’ve known we are all along.

When you have too much time on your hands, and you’re not as busy as you should be, you tend to think negative thoughts and start doing things you normally wouldn’t do.  Maybe too much to drink or smoke.  Maybe spending time with people who do nothing to enhance your life and are more than willing to participate in your “pity party.”

I slipped into a “funk” a couple of years after I retired from broadcasting and suddenly the phone stopped ringing, people I thought were my friends, weren’t.  I convinced myself that I wasn’t “all that” and before I knew it, I could hardly get out of bed in the mornings.  I hated everyone and everything and I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself.

My family had no clue.  I put on a “good face” around them, but to be honest, they really don’t know what to do.  Your friends don’t know what to do and to be honest, most of them don’t care and some of them are glad you’re struggling.

The motorcycle changed all of that.

I started traveling.  I met some INCREDIBLE people.  People who don’t want anything from me.  I needed a change of direction.  I needed to do something I never thought I would do.  

I bought a motorcycle.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone do that, but what I AM suggesting is that you find something you’re passionate about.  I don’t care what it is.  Something that you can claim for yourself.  Fishing, painting, working out, chores around the house, SOMETHING to occupy your brain and your body.  Get your endorphins going and do something you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to confront the idea that you don’t feel quite right, but understand, YOU are the only one who can change it and rest assured, you’re NOT alone.  More people than you think are going through the same thing.   People you work with.  People you go to church with.  People you see everyday. 

You’re NOT alone.

Depression is a real thing but it doesn’t have to control your life.  Take pride in who you are and challenge yourself in some way.  Don’t be afraid to take risks or try something new.

Life is good, but it comes at you fast.  Be encouraged and enjoy the ride.