A Moving Target:
Mental Health & Healing
On the eve of his return to Emporia, Kansas, to defend the UNBOUND XL title, we caught up with Taylor Lideen on the big moves that have contributed to his success in the last year.
Since my last write up with Pivot, life has been chock full of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want it any other way! In the summer of 2021, my wife and I started thinking about making a major change in our life, plotting our move out of Phoenix. While Phoenix will always have a special place in our hearts, it was time for something new, fresh and exciting.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I feared leaving what I had known my whole life, my supportive family, friends and the headway I had been making in my mental health journey. Mary helped ease me out of my comfort zone. I’m very grateful to have an encouraging and positive partner in life.
After looking at the map and doing some research, we both agreed Northwest Arkansas was a great fit.
It all happened so quickly. We landed in Bella Vista, Arkansas (about 15 min north of the ever-famous Bentonville) and began settling into life in unfamiliar territory. It didn’t take long to realize this was the best decision we had ever made. The community, cycling, southern hospitality, food and music scenes have had more of an impact on me than I would have ever imagined. I learned, however, that new scenery alone is not sufficient to put my mental health work on autopilot: I still put effort into combatting anxiety and depression.
This move has made me look at things in a different light.
It has made me more aware of what makes my anxiety creep up and has allowed me to really focus on what brings positivity to my life.
When I feel episodes creeping in Mary always tells me, “What makes you feel good? Well, do more of that.” I think about that a lot and moving to a new place opened a lot of doors for exploration, and, of course, meeting new and friendly faces.
Exploration has proven to be crucial medicine for my headspace. When my brain feels like it’s working overtime and making things far scarier than they are, hopping on the bike, and finding new places to explore has been a way I can strategically map out the “why,” of what’s going on upstairs.
I'm also not afraid to admit that I have a much healthier relationship with medication.
I have developed a new approach to reducing shame, and accepting help in the form of a daily pill. People use various medications every day to make sure their body can get out of bed. Under the care of the right doctor, an SSRI is not any different, and certainly not worth feeling shame about.
I’m not advocating for whether others SHOULD or should not take medication. Everyone is different, but from a personal standpoint, they have been a life changer for me. I was always terrified to rely on a pill every day, but I am much more contented having re-examined what medication could mean in my personal journey.
Last year got really dark for me.
I was at rock bottom mentally, and didn’t know how to get out. I ultimately chose Ketamine Therapy under medical supervision. It was a truly horrible time in my life, but these treatments showed me light when I couldn’t see it on my own. I was in a place where suicidal thoughts were omni-present. This form of therapy, along with the support from Mary, family, friends and a mental health practitioner opened my mental toolbox. I was finally able to begin stashing tools away in there.
Fast forward to today:
with the knowledge I have gained, and the constant support I receive, I am in a stable and positive place. I’m also not naive to the fact this is a constant work in progress. Without regular effort, I’m susceptible to falling back into dark places. I’ve had a few “down,” moments since the move but overall, I am happy, healthy and super grateful. The move to Arkansas has been nothing but positive in my life and getting on the bike each day remains my number one source of medicine and healing.
What I have gone through is just my story.
I understand others may have different approaches and I respect any and all solutions that bring healing.
Whatever the approach to dealing with anxiety or depression, the most important thing is to take that first step; it’s always the most intimidating. Take it slow and don’t ever discount your personal situation. Everyone’s issues are important, and everyone should feel confident in their right to seek help. Asking for help is damn hard but is also damn good. I am always here for people if they are struggling, regardless how big or small they may feel in the face of their challenges.
-Words by Taylor Lideen
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