If being sad is standing in a deep hole dug by misfortune, loss, or chance; then depression is standing in that hole from which the ladder has been removed. In that shoulder-deep hole you may see the world around you but are unable to climb out and join it.
If depression continues not only is the escape ladder gone, but the hole gets deeper. Trying to find a way out, climbing the crumbling walls as the sides tear away beneath your grip, life oftentimes throws more weight on you. The climb becomes more difficult, progress stops, and you begin sinking deeper until your eyes are lower than the rim and you cannot see out at all
I've stood in that hole, more than once. When the pressure pulls me down, one weight after another raising the rim ever higher, hope fades and panic sets in. I claw more furiously at the walls only to slip further in. I even find myself thoughtlessly digging the hole deeper. When progress seems to be just ahead, more burdens are thrown onto my shoulders until I wonder how I will support them. The opening at the top of the hole is small and far away and shadows deepen around me.
But even in the depths of this depression, if I walk to the garage, roll out my motorcycle and climb aboard it, my panic and despair start to fade away at the moment the engine roars to life. I know the problems are still there, but somehow I don't care. Life is that moment on the motorcycle. The past and the future disappear and the now is all that matters—the thrum of the motor beneath me, the wind thrashing my clothes, the smells of the countryside, and the thrill of momentum. I don't know if it is that the demand for my entire attention that riding requires blots out all else, or if it is the act of joining the natural world that riding brings that offers peace. Depression's darkness vanishes, if for only that moment, and I can see the world around me as a free man.
I do not wish to make light of depression, a condition that afflicts many with a loss of love for life. It's going to take more than a motorcycle ride to pull someone from that depression hole and keep them out. A motorcycle ride alone cannot heal the kind of despair that depression creates but, for me, it is a momentary therapy, a lapse in the pressure. Riding is a tool I use to shore up the walls of the hole and to fill in the sinking ground under my feet.
Knowing I can escape at least when riding gives me hope. Hope is the key to making lasting escape from depression possible and riding rewards me with hope. Riding lifts me from the hole, and escaping it once gives me hope that I can do it again, and the will to try.
"Ride Your Own Ride"