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Is everything OK?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It’s been a while since my last post.

How do you tell friends and family that everything is not OK?
We spend so much time saying everything is alright, pretending that there are no problems and wearing our masks that it just becomes our normal behaviour. Thankfully most of you will have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and in all honesty, I’m truly grateful for that. But some of you will know. Depression is insidious, it seems at times totally harmless, but it’s effects are devastating.

I make no apologies for talking about this illness here. There is a need to do so, and oh how I wish more people would (or could) have the courage to join me. Those coming here and expecting to read my cycling blog may well just turn away, because it makes for difficult reading. A good friend pointed out to me “you need to be more positive in your blog Derek, otherwise you will lose your following!” and he’s right. But I pride myself on my honesty, and don’t I owe it to not just myself, but my faithful followers to tell them just what is going on with me? It’s so easy to write about all the good stuff, yet not so easy to speak about struggling to make it through just another day.

What’s crazy is this should be the happiest of times for me, after-all, I’m getting fit again, my health is improving and I have been granted an amazing gift. And therein lies one of the problems. I have been given so much, yet feel so worthless, because here I am living in The Netherlands with no job, no income and the feeling that I cannot contribute is eating away at me. I’m a house husband. I built a website for my local church, I joined the local cycling club and I’m trying to integrate myself into society here, but still I feel inadequate. I’ve always looked after myself, always been able to provide. On my travels that was so easy, because I never needed much and I liked the thought that everything I owned, I carried on my bicycle. Now I’m here, unable to be the provider and I just can’t seem to accept it.

Out and about with the cycling club.

Out and about with the cycling club.

I said above “one of the problems” but there are others. I should be giving thanks for still being alive, but instead I’m still asking the question “why me? – what makes me so special?” and it’s hard to describe the turmoil this is causing me. Not just because of my faith, but because I’m asking myself do I really deserve another chance, because this will be my third. Many people would give anything to have a second chance, do I really deserve another?

I have a girl who loves me so much more than I deserve and I love her more than life itself. She will find this blog post difficult to read too, because I have become so good at hiding what is going on with me. She knows something of my struggles, because we share a pretty special relationship – we are both victims of our pasts. My one hope is that we will continue to heal. That’s a strange statement given what is written above, but the truth is we have come so far from when we first met, when I didn’t want to live at all.

Now I do. I want to make a difference. I’m not only talking about my difficulties, I’m actively helping others and hope to be able to expand on this by giving more talks and getting more involved with help groups. In doing so, my wish is that I can begin to feel a sense of self worth – a major milestone on the highway to recovery.

Normal blog service will soon be resumed…

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Derek, Hang in there buddy. I make a point of biking or hiking every single day. That somehow gives me enough perspective and satisfaction that I can then tackle some of life’s demons with stronger resolve. Try not to be so hard on yourself! Give yourself targets and meet them…your subconscious will thank you!

Jerry Harp
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for your honest post on depression. I ride frequently to control mine. Sort of. And remind myself of people with far bigger problems, problems that make mine seem insignificant. Hang in there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Derek, you are to be commended for your honesty and not just writing what “the public” wants to hear. We, your friends, care deeply about how you are doing and are here for you when you are down. You have made a difference to so many people – including me. I think of you often ever since you stayed with us in Duluth and shared your life story. I’m thrilled to know you have a 3rd chance, and that your every day contributions are more than enough to warrant the grace you have been granted. Thank you for taking us on your journey, whether joyful or difficult.
With love, Molly

    Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Thank you Molly. My stay with you, Richard and your family was one of the biggest highlights of my whole trip, simply because you accepted me as an extended part of your family and made me feel so welcome. That’s how I felt and I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to me, I’m sure you understand why. Give my very best to everyone. Love back…

Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 5:16 am

Hi Derek,
We never met, but I have been following your posts and we wrote each other a couple of emails when you cycled in Vietnam. I am happy to see your health is better and sorry to read about your depression. If this can be of any help, i think your story is amazing and worth being told in a book. Maybe this idea would give you a goal (finishing the book) and would end up helping you to provide.

    Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 9:35 am

    @ Jerry, Richard and Eric, thanks for your support. I am writing a book, but it’s tough writing about this stuff…

Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm


I still follow your blog (I met you 2 years ago in Armenië and we visit together the Armenien Vaticaan).

The best thing I tink you can do is to help other people in speaking group as you mentioned in your blog. And if you see that other people have reach a helping hand from you, it must give you a good feeling and also a reason why just you revceived a third change. A change to helping others (a better reason is not possible).
In Belgium we say. “Kop op”. Buth I’m not sure or “head up” is also the same meaning in English.


Friday, March 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Dear Derek, your existence itself has been a huge impact on many peoples’ lives. Your journey and spirit has made people believe in miracle, given hope and inspiration,amd definitely changed many lives…
From someone who has servere depression, I found hope and courage to holding on and moving forward.
I really hope that some day people would realize and treat depression as it is : a serious illness, which silently kills.

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