My name is Keith, I'm 28 and live in Scotland.
I am looking for support from people in the wonderful online world because i cannot get it in "real life"
I will start with a bit of background on myself and put you in the picture. I'm a sufferer of depression and anxiety. Recently i had the body blow of being diagnoised with early onset Parkinson's.
My story really begins around 16 years ago, my family had recently moved home which forced me into a difficult position, either i cycled the 9.7 miles to school and back every day, or I moved to a school that i was in the catchment area for, allowing me to recieve free school transport. I was just about to start my second year of secondary education. All was fine throughout the summer and autum months where i would cycle every day back and forth. Coming into winter it was becoming a struggle as the weather got worse which also put my safety at risk. So it was decided between myself and my parents that the best thing to do would be to move school. This at the time seemed to be the best thing.
School move went ok for the first few weeks and i began to settle in. Then my life was about to change. I started to get bullied on the school bus. This wasnt plesent. But something i dont take notice of as it wasnt a long journey to and from school. That was until the bullying began inside of school aswell. After a while, it really got to me and was making me not want to get up and go anymore. The teachers didnt really tackle the issue either. So i made the choice that i would stop going. Little did i know how my life was about to change forever.
A few weeks went by; mum would tell the school i was unwell. That could only hold of the next part. Social services would soon become involved and things would get worse. My parents facing court action were left with no choice. I was to move into foster care. The first few weeks in care went by and i was pursuaded to enter back into education. The same school where i had been the subject of bulling. This made my very nervious. Needless to say, i gave it a try with support from my social worker and the staff at the school. But my life was still a living hell.
My only "enjoyment" was getting on my bike and cycling anywhere. This soon became a problem as i would be gone for hours with no-one knowing where i was, i would be reported missing and normally end up being escorted back to my foster home by the police. I would go through long periods of "feeling down" and thinking on how to end everything. Cycling was my only escape. I never returned to education after around 14 years old.
In the run up to my 16th birthday, the social work department had been preparing me for life outside of care and in my own flat. The day of my 16th birthday i was given keys to a council flat and i thought this was wonderful. A place i could call my own. Not having many friends, long times i spent on my own in the flat. This really didn't help with my now diagnosed depression.
I tried college, just to get some qualifications after leaving school with none. Being so long out of formal education put together with my experiences at school. It didnt really work out and i soon found myself well behind in course work and dropped out. I thought the only option to get my life back on track was to move away from this town and to somewhere no-one knew me. Not the greatest plan. But it went alright for a year. I found some bar work. Did a year at another college and managed to complete a course in business admin and accounting. To this day I've never go into that line of work.
After another period of depression and having recently lost my granda, he had been ill for a number of years due to having polycystic kidney disease and a rejected transplant, he was the only man i ever looked upto and respected. I asked if i could move in with my granny. To this day where i still live, despite moving away several times for work. I found work as a chef and made my way up the ranks of chefs. Meeting a woman, we decided to move away and start a life together. We moved to Glasgow to be near to her elderly granny. This went fine for a while, until she had to return to Australia to complete her studies. All of a sudden i was on my own in a place i knew only a handful of people from.work.
Unfortuantly, the employeers i worked for went out of business three months later. I was unemployed, in a place i barely knew with only a few friends. I had a break down. My depression had gotten that bad. I wasn't getting out of bed, let alone leaving the house. My anxiety levels about going anywhere were super high, apart from when i thought about going cycling. That again was my only release from "normal" life.
I decided it would be better to move back in with my granny. This was 2008 now. My anxiety and depression were so bad that i would spend weeks without leaving the safety of the house. Only venturing out for a spin on my bike. Having been unable to secure any work after moving back. I had to sign on as unemployed and was soon put onto a benefit for people unable to work through illness. That was all fine and well. But the fact was i wanted to work. The doctor wasn't keen on this, as anything stressful could send me into meltdown again. So i stuck to thier advice. I now find myself in the position of being unemployed and only going out of the house to cycle. It's become my whole life.
After visiting the docter in May of this year. I told her about the shakes i was having in my left leg. I had put it down to my anxiety for a number of months and thought nothing more about it. But they were becoming more fequent and regularly would start when i was out cycling. After referral to the hospital. It was decided i needed some tests and scans. I would hear back soon. Two months went by without hearing anything. Then i got the results. The shakes were being caused by something called Parkinson's. I knew nothing about it really. But because i am only 28 it's classed as early onset. Since then it's not really gotten any worse. But things i took for granted before are becoming more difficult. Hence the reason i am writing all this for the world to read. Its not because i want to share all this with everyone. It's because i have nowhere left to turn.
My only passion in life is cycling. I can esacpe everything while out on my bike. This has become almost impossible lately though, because my balance has become affected. I have tried asking friends, family, charities and companies for help with the expense of a new bike so that i am at least able to keep enjoying the one thing that gets me through all the bad times. But without any luck. I've even sold off my bikes I did have, without coming near the price of a recumbent. I knew about crowd funding, but not about funding indviduals. I always thought it was for new businesses until i stumbled upon this site.
So i thought I'd try and reach out to those who may be more fortunate than myself and who may be kind enough to donate anything to my fund. With the aim of buying myself a recumbent trike and enable me to start enjoying cycling again. The reasons behind a recumbent are threefold. Balance, height from the ground and ability to go at over most terrain that an upright bike can.
Currently I do not hold a driving license nor do I have the funds or ability to travel alone on public transport because of my anxiety, it leads to panic attacks. Being able to cycle again. Not only would you be helping me get back to the sport I love so much, but you would also be giving me back some sense of independence in my life. I will not have to rely on others to ferry me the short distances that I have been these past few months.
I would appreciate very much of you could share this on Twitter and Facebook or if you know a company who may be willing to help me with a bike, get them to contact me.