now blogging at Black Dog Barking

Hello dear reader,

I have set up another blog where i’ll be making updates from now on: i decided (somewhat on a whim) to ride a bicycle around Australia to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and addiction. You can follow the adventure at Black Dog Barking, and i would really love to see you there: the more the merrier, and the louder the din we make about this epidemic of psychological (and spiritual) ill-being, the better.

Much love,

Ryan Bodhi Abhijan (Bodhi)

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co-incidents

Coincidence is not fate, accident or luck, as the dictionary would have you believe. It is incidents colliding, collaborating, colluding, to show you that yes, you are on the right path. Seeing these signs as mere coincidence undermines the fact you were sufficiently aware to see the correlation between two seemingly random events, or incidences. Trust your judgment, and follow the signs.

boiling brook

I am currently on the legendary Snowy River, between Orbost and Marlo in Victoria, experimenting with drinking boiled water – if I’m not squirting by tomorrow, I will feel a lot more confident about doing this when I actually need to. My next leg is Marlo to Mallacoota through national parks and state forests where, I was advised by the parkie, this need would be actual, due to the distance of the route and its relative remoteness. Fingers crossed that I don’t poo in my tent tonight.

image

 

After waking up sober yesterday with James Brown and the sun shining, i rode to work and enjoyed the feeling of cold wind up my shorts …

don’t laugh!

Okay laugh!

I did, out loud.

Who are we to judge where pleasure comes from? The simple pleasures, like a cold wind up your shorts on a near-autumn day, are often the most inexplicably enjoyable. I will remember this, next time someone asks me why i’m so committed to going around commando.

Later that morning i made a wisecrack to a stranger about footpath traffic jams, surprising myself mostly—when i’m on top i’m a chatty guy, and i love making strangers smile on the street with unsolicited running commentary of our ongoings. It was an i’m-back moment.

Before work I bought a tub with wheels and a lid, to upgrade my composting system—lugging soggy boxes and never disposing of them wasn’t working. I collect scraps from the cafe where i work as a cook, and turn them into rich soil. Turning a steaming pile of compost on a mid-winter morning is a deeply satisfying thing for me, and harnessing the process of decomposition to create living soil is a rich living metaphor, like a lotus growing in the mud.

After work i moved some things to my new place with a lovely man friend i’ve made here. We got a little boozey and shared some green, inspiring conversation ensued and i was wired, so on the way home i rode around awhile, found the trials park in the centre of town and played. I nearly broke my ribs there last year, so i’m wary of the jumps, but i got my endo on and practised manualling, riding on the back wheel with the front wheel in the air. It was a pleasant reminder (for a cyclist whose primary riding is commuter style) of why i love to ride, why it’s such a valuable resource for me in times of depression and anxiety. Getting that balance right and feeling the machine move along smoothly underneath you while you carefully apply pressure to pedals and brakes … getting the balance right on a flowing piece of singletrack and feeling the machine bouncing along beneath you while you careully pick through rockpools and swooping gravel bends … it forces you to focus, and on the singletrack it forces you to breath … which is meditation right there. I feel like a chump sometimes, riding around on a mountain bike in a pair of cheap Globes i found … like an adolescent, perhaps because i’ve forgotten what is now a good time to remember from what’s his name … Wells, H G Wells …

Later i burped the back wheel trying to bunnyhop a curb, and inflicted a pinch flat the likes of which i have never seen, two big splits about an inch-long each. Having grown complacent from not getting a lot of flats lately (thank you goo, and marshmallow tyres), i wasn’t carrying a spare tube. So i patched that shit and got the tube to hold air, which felt like manifesting a minor miracle with my hands, right before one of the patches blew a seal and i walked home, yep … waiting for two patches to stick gave me enough time to sneak in a bit of roadside meditation that went down a treat, and i walked home exhausted and happy, until morosity got the better of me and by the time i got to bed i was stuck in a loop of making up highly unpleasant potential conversations with people i either don’t like or who i presume don’t like me.

Exhausting, no?

This is my mind, from celebrating wind on my balls in the morning to imagining all the shit i’d like to say to some of the ‘arseholes’ i’ve met lately in the evening. It was a big day, but shit, sometimes i flip between these two extremes within moments on a dull day. A big part of the reason i’m getting help to deal with some of these old patterns is i’m tired, oh so tired … when counsellors ask me if i ever feel suicidal, i say no because i don’t, not really, but i can sort of sympathise with the idea more these days, as an expression of some unbearable existential tiredness.

So i’m getting back on the horse—the horse that pulls the wagon? Literally, as in i’m going for another night ride with my housemate, and, ya know, figuratively.

so-so good

Monday 1 February

I woke up in my new place this morning and there was sun shining through the window and James Brown came to mind:

I didn’t score yesterday, so i haven’t smoked for about twenty-four hours and already the self-esteem and -respect has come back with a wallop. I broke a habit by having a food breakfast instead of my standard Greek breakfast of coffee and a jazz cigarette.

Who knows if it will stick, but i’m feeling that when i feel like scoring i might remember that i feel better when i’m … der … not stoned out of my brain.

coming clean

re-entry-duction to Flux Comb
Sunday 31 January

It’s time to come clean: i am addicted and i suffer from (sometimes crippling) depression and anxiety. I don’t know which of these came first, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that i need to treat these conditions as types of symptoms. When we talk about addiction we often think of junkies, but when i talk about addiction i talk about sugar and mainstream news media. The nature of my addiction and mental-health concerns are less relevant than how they developed and what i can do to overcome them. Essentially i’m a stoner and a frustrated artist who likes to binge drink on irregular days of the week. I would chain-smoke if i could, and i get an inordinate degree of pleasure from smashing sugary drinks to replenish my blood-sugar levels (at least, that’s what i think i’m doing at the fridge in the middle of the night when i’ve suddenly woken up sober and soggy-headed).

In the scheme of things, my addiction and mental-health concerns are “not that bad” … yet, they continue to effect my ability to maintain relationships with people, jobs and accommodation … it effects my relationship with myself and with the Creative Energy, the Eternal Fountain of Life and Enthusiasm for Bad Dancing. It is robbing me of my life as i sit around either worrying or sucking on something that will stop me from worrying.

By beginning to share my experience a bit more, i am hoping to a) lighten the load by expressing some of the thoughts, feelings and ideas i have inside me that fill me to bursting everywhere except for the void and b) see how my story resonates with others experiencing a low-level degree of addiction along with mild depression and anxiety. I am interested to see how many of us are in the same boat without even being aware there was a boat in the first place. The Boat of Bottomless Bereavement. It stinks in here.

Bereavement … the word came to me along with the image of being alone in a boat, adrift as i fend for myself at a time of such beautifully heinous change in human history, bumping around in a culture bereft of emotionally developed adults and institutions promoting our spiritual or psychological wellbeing. For over half my life i have been self-medicating to stave off […] in the face of emotional and lifestyle challenges we face at this or any given time. But i don’t need to do this anymore, because i have learned some things and there are some things to learn about how to live well in the face of a sometimes-frightening and usually ambiguous reality, totally sober. Sober reality—the truth without beer goggles.

So if you’re out there reading this re-entry-duction to Flux Comb and it makes a kind of sense to you, please get in touch through the comments or hit me up for an email address.