On 13th October 2012 thirty cyclists left Axminster in Devon and rode 769 miles to the Slow Food Salone del Gusto festival in Turin, Italy, in memory of Philippa Corbin. We rode to raise awareness of depression and raise funds for two charities.

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Alan’s Story

I am 53 now and I have suffered from depression on and off since I was 17. I didn’t even recognise it as such then. You have to learn to understand it and manage it.

Put simply there are spells in your life when you suffer from an imbalance of neuro chemicals. That makes me feel better as I am a Biologist!! To help me rationalise it I remind myself that no one would criticise or look down on a diabetic whose insulin levels were wrong so why should I worry about suffering from the chemical problem that is depression? A diabetic learns to recognise when their sugar is high and acts accordingly, if you suffer from depression you have to learn to understand what is happening to you. Unfortunately your imbalance is not as easy to control as just injecting. You will have to talk, suffer, exercise, take medication at times and get through the tough times, what you must not do is deny that this is your problem to deal with. You may only experience it once or like myself (or Churchill or Stephen Fry or……) it may come back. The comforting thought for myself is that I will come through it and most of my life I will feel great.

With age I have learnt to accept it and work out ways of dealing with it, if and when it comes. That is hard when you are young and you must not be afraid to lean on people when you need to. More than likely you will be the sort of person who does that for others.

Thankfully we live in more enlightened times and more people recognise depression for the disease it is so you must not suffer in silence. If you think you are suffering from depression get help and talk to people and do not be embarrassed, this disease is not due to you being weak it is due to a chemical imbalance in your neuro system.

Alan Hake