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We all Fight our Demons

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We all Fight our Demons

Old 03-11-19, 11:29 AM
  #1  
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We all Fight our Demons

I am guessing that most of you already know about the loss of Kelly Catlin this last weekend. Serving in mostly a support role for highly competitive racers I have noticed, noted, and become concerned with the depths and heights of the highs and lows that seem to come hand in hand with those that can achieve at the highest levels of our sport. I used to flippantly asses new riders who wanted to achieve at the highest level and write them off as soon as I got to know them well enough to feel they were a well adjusted human. I used to often say, "you can't do that well unless you're broken inside".

I'm sure that's not true for everyone (I hope), and maybe it's just me trying to make light of what I acknowledge truly scares me.

It turns out that a recent concussion she had may have helped play a role according to her fraternal twin sister. I do not know for a fact but it appears she suffered a severe concussion, and was suffering affects while attempting to train. At least one individual stated she doesn't believe she had given enough time for recovery from that concussion.

I had a talk with one of this nation's up and coming racers while at the Cyclocross National championships this last fall. She had suffered a concussion and was pushing to get back to racing. She took the championships off but was running out the door to UCI track in France and couldn't wait. Her father and I both were urging her to take the time to fully recover. "I have known a lot of racers who try to come back too quickly and really dig themselves into a hole."

I found out about Kelly passing before it was made public. Friend of a friend in the track community with ties to the team - that kind of stuff. I debated what to do but felt like I needed to do something - to start a conversation if that's all I can do. Once her brother made his post I felt OK in posting it to our team page. I don't know what to do and I am no the******. I feel like I am as much at risk as everyone else. Yet I just tried to relay the message that seems to be put out often - reach out to people, and offer to be here if anyone wants to talk and remind them no one is every really alone.

I was taken up on the offer a little later by someone I never would have thought would have. I remember at one point saying to others that I would take that person in a race against another tough competitor because our racer was "broken" and the other was "too stupid to be broken". That racer admitted to me that they have gone to dark places but that they are doing better today. "Seriously the looney bin scared the *#$ out of me".

I know most of you are more mature than me and already understand this but I guess I am just posting here because I think we sometimes underestimate the power of our brains and the intense fallout and effects that training and racing can have one our minds. The concussion factor has the ability to add to this in a way we can't really comprehend. Please be aware of that. Look for it in your teammates and competitors. It's OK to ask people how they're doing - even if we are just elitist roadies.

Hope you all are well.
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Old 03-11-19, 11:58 AM
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Old 03-11-19, 12:09 PM
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I've had issues since I've been a teenager that I'll go to the grave with; I've wen't very close to taking my own life back then. I think there are two different things; mental and chemical imbalances that affect suicidal people. Some have both.

Growing up we were losers. My mother sold (but mainly used) drugs. Heavy stuff. At one point we lived in an abandoned beer vat in SF with 10 other drug addicts. Some dude from Tennessee (Murray) died from an Overdose a few feet from me. Occasionally she'd get busted and we'd go to foster care. Some of those kids in foster care were 'chemically' messed up; they just weren't right in the head and parents would drop them off. I won't go into details but some of the stuff that went on there was too made up for even television. There were 2 kids that could have killed me without hesitation, they just weren't right and we all knew it.

Anyway, at some point my mother gave drugs to my brothers. Heroin, Cocaine, probably Quaaludes. One of them contracted HIV and passed away, and I still feel being the older brother his death is on me. During that time people really didn't like or sympathize with us, we weren't really likable people. A lot of hate was thrown our way because of the HIV, and because of our social state. We were poor (not I have an old Camry or my Jordan's are 2 years old poor) and just raggedy and trashy poor.

Just before our mom's death she found god, and her stories mutated to where me and my brother were the reason for the death. We left the funeral early, as we clearly were not wanted there and to this day my brother and I will never go into religion.

That being said, I'm 30 years removed from all of this mess and outside of having some obscure personality quirks its just a story now.

The one thing that's always helped me is openly talking about it, but people don't really want to hear it. At 16 I really didn't have anyone to talk to, no relatives, no father, etc so that was a big part of being suicidal.
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Old 03-11-19, 12:35 PM
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There's another thread here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/track-cyc...-too-soon.html

I can imagine the pressures in the sport, and by the coaches to be NUMBER ONE.

And, of course, the pressures from college and graduate school. Perhaps setbacks with one's thesis or dissertation.

Somehow there needs to be a better way to recognize people having issues and get them the counseling and support that they need.

I wonder if an autopsy is being done. There are notes of a concussion. But, an intracranial hemorrhage of one type or another is also a possible confounding factor.
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Old 03-11-19, 12:57 PM
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I'm of faith, but this is the kind of stuff where "blessings" and "prayers" don't really help anyone. Sitting and listening just because someone wants to talk, going out of your way to ask someone about something because you see something on their face, acting in a positive way on that nagging thought about someone you've got.........that's what we need. Or systematic intervention.

I appreciate all the shares.

I don't have anything really momentous at all.

I got married the first time way too young while about to graduate college. We were a young couple who thought being friends and knowing how genitals fit together meant that we loved each other. It was not a positive relationship. I was a project, supposedly, down to the way I dressed. Almost like a doll or a puppy. It pretty much ended when I had to tell her that NO, we weren't ready for kids yet because I thought we had a lot of maturing to do (financially, socially, etc...). She started cheating with someone at her workplace. Figured that out by showing up for lunch one day to pick her up, she had forgotten and was headed to the other person's car. Instead of going with me, accosted me for showing up then went with them. I lived alone after college and just worked and drank for about 4 years after that and would drive 1hr 1/2 on the weekends to the other city to see friends and drink and sleep on couches. I'd sit in the $5 plastic lawn chair in the back yard and cry while drinking a 32oz Tecate and watching the sun set over the farm next to the neighborhood, listening to the bull over there raise a racket and grilling a $5 discount bin sirloin from Food Lion.

I can't say I use any of the darkness in the pursuit of sport. No amount of rehashing that crap is going to make me any stronger. It only stands the chance to bring me down. I can either tolerate physical sports pain, or I can't. I thoroughly believe I should be able to do the same with or without using "demons". If I want to go fast, it hurts, and that's all there is to it.

Last edited by TMonk; 03-11-19 at 02:56 PM. Reason: clean up
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Old 03-11-19, 01:40 PM
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I'm closing this for a while with some potential (likely) clean up. Reading some of the posts here gave me a "wow" moment as I had no idea what some of you had been through, but let's please try to keep things family-friendly and mostly about Kelly Catlin. Again no disrespect to anyone here.
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Old 03-11-19, 04:37 PM
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Re-opening. Let's try to keep things on topic and cycling-related.
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Old 03-12-19, 10:40 AM
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Old 03-12-19, 05:02 PM
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I didnt know this woman but as in all the cycling community, it seems we are never more than about 2 degrees removed. Ive got a friend who races on rally cats.

The stories published on velonews over the last couple of days have been eye opening on the whole endeavour. I reccomend everyone give it a read. You just never know if that successful, funny person is holding it in. I hope the autopsy and research on her brain can lead to some sort of answers for tha family.
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Old 03-12-19, 05:42 PM
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I just keep my demon pacified with venlafaxine.
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Old 03-12-19, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
Re-opening. Let's try to keep things on topic and cycling-related.
The cycling related disorder spending 10-30 hours a week thinking it matters if you are not making a living at it?
I have no explanation for this case.
But I am overjoyed my son is not a full time cyclist. He recently mentioned I kind of messed that up for him - and thanked me.
I don't think the -33 is really about racing. That is why I keep coming back.
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Old 03-13-19, 09:15 AM
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Anyone else read the Obree auto-bio? I know most cycling fans know about him and know a little bit.

It's a very relevant story to both cycling and this current topic.

After reading it, I feel we're lucky to still have him with us. He tried twice, that was admitted to in the book. Excluding if you deem the third of the downhill accident to delay the court hearing. Not sure on that one.

I'm not even sure I remember how I stumbled across him. I think it was after seeing the not so well done movie advertised one time on Netflix and then researching it. This was before I was a "bike person". Once being a "bike person", and knowing who it is, I bought the book.

The story of breaking the hour the first time in back to back attempts is good stuff.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
I just keep my demon pacified with venlafaxine.
Wellbutrin here.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:29 PM
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I'm sure most of us read velonews.. but I'm going to repost this here. Please give it a read and forward on. We all have highs and lows. I consider myself lucky that I've avoided any sort of depressive episodes in my life through the help of supportive friends and family. Sometimes all it takes it the right person to shoot a text to a buddy and ask if they want to go for a ride together.

https://www.velonews.com/2019/03/com...ression_488719
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Old 03-14-19, 04:21 PM
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I work at Stanford and this is incredibly sad. I didn't know Kelly other than I've surely waived across the road to her many times.

The velonews article talks about her perfectionism. When she reached a place where she wasn't able to succeed, she piled on more pressure instead of pulling anything back. That same crazy drive and will to succeed that makes a world-class athlete can be the snowflake that starts the avalanche.

I was very depressed in college and ultimately was hospitalized and ended up dropping out due to it. Now, 20 years later and working with Stanford kids every day, I do my best to impart to them that it's OK to fail sometimes. So many of the kids that make it (to) here have basically batted 1.000 in their lives thus far. I hire ~60 kids and having to tell the other 100 that they didn't get the position they wanted always brings out 3-4-5 kids who have literally never heard it before and don't handle it well.

We as a university don't do anyone any favors. In the effort to keep suicide out of the zeitgeist (google Gunn Highschool Suicides...) whisper about it. I wonder if that doesn't do more harm than good, given that there are kids bunkered into their dorm rooms thinking they are the only people struggling.

It just sucks. It's heartbreaking every time. Stanford has had 3 suicides so far this year. May/June is always a tense period, too.
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Old 03-15-19, 06:14 AM
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Speaking of depression and Stanford...Here is a well respected researcher arguing for the very biochemical basis of depression. In essence, if someone has depression, telling them to get through it or suck it up is like telling someone with autism to just get over it. (highly simplified)

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