The Circle Line

Ben Kenneally

"Cycling was my therapy and my coping mechanism. To the outsider,
I looked incredibly in control and healthy. On the inside, it wasn’t so."


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fairly late to the party when it comes to conscious and proactive management of my Mental Wellbeing.

Growing up my role models were tough, independent and resilient. I never had a sick-day from school, and when my parents divorced I didn’t think anything unusual of my mum’s dispassionate, unflinching resolve to carry on as normal. That’s just how people cope, right?

I found ways to distract myself. I’d disappear off on my bike, riding through woods – a sense of escapism. I got the bug. Escapism became space. Space became exercise. Exercise became validation.

Fast forward 10 years and into my high-pressure consulting career. Tough, long days in challenging environments. Set-backs and slow progress the norm. My colleagues were so brilliant it was hard to see so many of them unwound by anxiety and stress. Those that could manage it succeeded. Those that couldn’t take sick leave before leaving for other career paths.

Me? Cycling was my therapy and my coping mechanism. Validation came in daily doses of structured exercise routines and race results – the hobby even counteracted a lot of my stress-related unhealthy eating behaviours… To the outsider, I looked incredibly in control and healthy. On the inside, it wasn’t so.

My career led me into the Public Sector and working with Mental Health services. Waiting lists bursting, we did much to improve access and timeliness of therapy, but it still wasn’t enough. There are so many people out there who aren’t even aware of how therapy can help, or who are scared of the stigma/judgement of others, or who just can’t wait that long to talk to someone.

I’m here at The Circle Line for those people – we are not alone, and talking about it will help.

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