Motorcycle Therapy


Hello, Friends.

They say that Bikers don’t need Therapists – well…I wouldn’t necessarily agree with “they” but I did have a nice ride last night!

It struck me how much riding a motorcycle is like learning to live with PTSI, MDD, Anxiety Disorders…..  So, I thought I would share it with you.  Please excuse me if this sounds a little weird; all of this came out last night listening to the engine and listening to the wind.

I haven’t been riding very long – at least not legally 🙂  Now I am legal!  I sold my last bike, a little Honda 250 Rebel, to help pay off some bills.  I wasn’t getting much seat time, anyway.  My husband is a bit of a nervous nellie when it comes to his wife on her own bike.  So – I thought I would describe my progression.

I started out on the back of his bike.  I knew that he had my best interest at heart – but I have control issues so it is very hard to trust someone else to be in control.  Even though I know he loves me…I was just waiting for him to get me killed.

I got my Rebel and really tried to learn to be comfortable on my own.  I failed the motorcycle license driving test – mostly because the lady messed me over!  Then I decided to sell the bike.  I was upset, discouraged and just plain tired of trying so hard and not really getting anywhere.  I felt that my husband was holding me back.

In January, I just decided that I was going to get my own bike again.  I bought her – so there was no turning back – and I decided to take the basic rider course.  I passed!  Got my license!  I set out on my own.

Scary stuff – riding by yourself, stupid people on cell phones getting in your way!  I wanted to put on a big sign that said – I’m learning!  Stay the hell out of my way!!  I tried some crazy stuff – like the interstate with a 40 mph side wind…that was nuts of me!!  But, I did it.

I had a rough day yesterday and I went for a ride.  Oh my gosh…best ride yet!  I was just relaxed and felt totally at one with my “Marilyn.”  She and I were out in some pretty heavy wind, pretty heavy traffic, but everything just felt right.  I forgot to be scared and just rode.  I have begun to trust myself on a motorcycle and the process just clicks.

I realized that this is so much like living with and recovering from mental illness.  Not that PTSI is curable – but it will be something that we can learn to live with.  First, we have to have someone we can trust to stand by us…until we are ready to step out on our own a little.  Then, we start small.  We may fail, we may “give it up” for a while, but we have to keep trying.  Next, we may realize we need “professional help” – the motorcycle instructor showed me so many things I have never learned, just like my therapist did.  Finally, we dive into our lives and we give it a try.  Still knowing we have support behind us – but we take the wheel.

Taking the wheel can be risky, we have good days and bad days – sometimes we just need to park it!  So to speak 🙂  Then, it starts to click and we learn the most important lesson of all…

We learn to trust ourselves.  Living with trauma I find that I have a tendency to blame myself.  I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t say or do the right thing.  Those voices that tell us that we are wrong have a bad habit of showing up.  We weren’t the “wrong” ones…they are!  We are awesome!!

Yup – I am learning to trust myself…at least on the bike – now I just have to learn it in real life.  Maybe if I spend enough time in “motorcycle therapy” it will help – even if it doesn’t…I am sure loving my baby!

Joan

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