Tracey Davies, cycling for mental health

Complex PTSD and why cycling helps me

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

Complex PTSD is often caused by experiencing multiple traumas, often childhood abuse, which can include sexual, emotional, mental and physical abuse. People with Complex PTSD may avoid things that could trigger them, such as the news, magazines, TV. People with Complex PTSD often suffer from flashbacks, nightmares and hyper-vigilance. Some people experience psycho-somatic pain; pain sensations; re-experiencing pain, also difficulty in regulating emotions, irritability and sensory sensitivity.

I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD and can sometimes experience hyper-vigilance on a daily basis. This causes me anxiety and unease, fatigue and restlessness. For me, my symptoms are better when I am in an open space with nature, away from noisy surroundings.

I cope differently depending on my levels of resilience at the time, so if I am more rested and feeling more robust I can deal with more noise, but not for too long. I find sensory overload / overwhelm to be a common side effect of pushing myself too much. I have learnt with being more self aware and conscious of my needs that I must prioritise my self-care to help reduce the symptoms of hyper-vigilance.

Exercise hugely benefits me and eating the right foods has an impact. I find I enjoy cycling because it gets me outside and enjoying the fresh air. I have a hybrid bike and I can go for miles taking in the countryside. When the COVID19 lock down is over I hope to find a club and take part in events. I would recommend to anyone to find something you love to do and do it with all your heart, it really helps to have a focus, something to keep you motivated that you enjoy, just for you.

Tracey Davies, cycling for mental health

Please see the NHS website or charity MIND for more information on PTSD & Complex PTSD.

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