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Gary Lambert continues his training for the Leeds to Liverpool cycle as a way to combat his OCD in regular series, ‘The OCD Diaries’…

So, the training is going well so far.  I’ve not fallen off (touch wood) and I’ve been waved at by one pretty girl.  Admittedly, I’ve been picked on by more little children on my bike rides: “Hey mate, watch out! The fashion police are waiting for you down there” was a particular highlight from some kid who clearly valued image over road safety.  I’m still sticking with the helmet, regardless to the ribbing from local kids.  It took me quite some time to find a cycling helmet suitable for my rather large head (literal, not just egotistical), so I’m not letting it go.

It hasn’t been all happy though.  My OCD issues are still coming to the fore at every opportunity.  The biggest example was when I arranged a long bike ride one evening with my mates, but due to work commitments I had to delay it half an hour.  My mates didn’t get my text, so they left at seven o’clock thinking I wasn’t coming.  When I got there and my friend’s wife told me that they had already gone, it hit me like a sledgehammer.  I’d felt really strong until then, but next thing I was sat in the car for twenty minutes unable to do anything but think about the myriad of reasons why they didn’t want me to go with them.

This was so difficult and unexpected, as I hadn’t had a bout like this in ages.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how they didn’t want me to join them cycling any longer as I had obviously overstayed my welcome; how they didn’t want me to get fit so they’d feel superior to me; how they felt I was holding them back and couldn’t wait to get away from me.  I was in tears, as all these thoughts knocked me for six, over a simple misunderstanding.

For those who are fortunate enough to read this and haven’t experienced mental illness you’ll probably not understand the clarity and power with which these ideas ram through your brain.  It’s not like the fleeting thoughts we all get about any old nonsense.  No, these appear so strongly that you feel there is no way they could be any thing other than irrefutable truth.  It’s like Archimedes shouting “EUREKA!” as he jumps out of the bath, realising yet another theory has been proved.  Everything is of such force that you believe they are false, and it’s been your mistake all along in not spotting what is so obvious.

In the end, that night I decided I needed to go to the gym instead.  I couldn’t go on my bike as it was still too much of an emotional hurt and I wasn’t sure if the tears started I’d be safe on the road.  It took a good session there to push the thoughts out of the way.  I didn’t defeat them with logic, it was more a case of defeating them with a burning sensation in my chest and lots of swearing about how much my body was aching.  I had overdone it, but I’d also achieved a victory so I wasn’t going to complain about how it had come about.

With hindsight and a few texts the next day, I knew that it was all a simple misunderstanding and to be honest I was glad of those messages.  Silence doesn’t work well for me and is indeed one of the biggest symbols of my bad times.  Generally, I send a huge amount of texts every day.  It’s definitely one of my OCD points, as I feel that I need to explain every thought that pops into my head.  I can assure you that this compulsive need to communicate has lost me more chances with women than being ginger ever has!  But once I start feeling a bit negative the shutters come down and I can’t answer texts, pick up the phone or open letters through fear of what comes next.  Even things like my weekly subscription to NME stay unopened because I can’t face sitting there and opening the cellophane just in case.  I don’t know what negative news about me could be in NME unless they’re have a bad dancing at Harvest Sun / Club Evol gigs showcase.  But it hits me all the same.

Anyway, I don’t want to focus on the negatives because it hasn’t been a bad month, overall.  I’ve not done as many miles on the bike as I wanted, but I’m still happy with my progress.  I’ve also been mixing training with an active social life.  Unsurprisingly, I find it quite difficult to bring balance into my life.  So I’ll go three weeks of cycling/gym every day and then decide I need to put the brakes on and have a night out which will invariably be a two-day bender and three day hangover.  But I’ve been a lot better this month in controlling my excesses.  I’m still worried that I’m going to do too much of one thing, mind you.  It’s definitely getting much easier riding my bike – there are improvements and successes being made constantly.  I have also given my bike a name, which is an important thing to me.  He’s called Corinthian.

So I’m now hitting the point of no return.  I’m setting up my Just Giving page.  Once that’s out there we can’t back out of this crazy idea.  I’m not going to link the Just Giving page to this blog as I don’t think there’s any need to other than my ego seeing the figures go up.  If you wish to donate to support my actions there are plenty of options through the CALM website.  Obviously, though if you are part of my friends and family reading this, you’re going to be expected to donate via the Just Giving page and boost my ego.

A few people also asked me if it was okay for them to share my blog via Twitter, Facebook and their own blogs and I have told everybody to do so. For some of my friends and family it has been a bit of a surprise, but for others it has explained a lot of things about the way I am – especially to certain ex-girlfriends who have read it and gone “Ah, so it wasn’t me then”.  There is no shame about mental illness.  I’m Gary Lambert and I have depression caused by OCD.  No denial.  No embarrassment.  No dirty little secret. It is an unfortunate situation, but a situation that can be conquered.

Read OCD Diaries, Part 1 HERE

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