Shanaze Reade is a British Bicycle Motocross (BMX) racer and track cyclist who started pedalling at a professional in 2002. Her cycling prowess put her at the forefront of women competing in the BMX world but she is also credited with being at another point of transition. Shanaze was named the sole woman member of the United Kingdom BMX Olympic team by British Cycling on 9 July 2008.
Her mental health plummeted after failing to achieve the success she had trained for at the Olympics.
Fortunately, having a robust support network of family and friends helped her to get back on her feet.
She also revealed setting herself small goals helped to overcome her depression– things as simple as having a shower or going to see friends.
She said: “If someone had said to me ‘get back on the bike’, it would have been too big to deal with, it was all about taking small steps.”
How do I know if I have depression?
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.
“Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days,” explains the NHS.
Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition, but, as the health body explains, “They’re wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms.”
Depression is not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”, says the health body.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.
Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines, says the NHS.
Talking therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which aims to help you understand your thoughts and behaviour, and how they affect you.
“CBT recognises that events in your past may have shaped you, but it concentrates mostly on how you can change the way you think, feel and behave in the present,” explains the NHS.
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