The Kindle Effect

It’s something that I’ve always found curious about being on the bike – the further I ride, the smoother the cadence, the faster I go without appearing to make any extra effort.  It’s as if a momentum builds up and carries me on faster, with no additional exertion on my part.

It’s the Kindle Effect. No, not that kind of Kindle. So, if you found this blog post looking for some ideas for free downloads…read on and I will give you a recommendation in a bit.*

Recently, I have been taking part in a project established by Cardiff University called Beating BiPolar.  It’s a series of online modules focusing on different aspects of Bi Polar Disorder, including people sharing their experiences of the disease, psychiatrists and academics explaining the biology, the science, as well as the pharmacology.  I’ve learnt a lot. For those of you who are interested email Martina at  for password/username access details.

One of the most striking things I have learnt about is what they call The Kindle Effect.  In a nutshell, it is what happens once someone has had one episode of depression/mania. Once you have had one, the episodes come on – if not thick and fast – then more frequently, and with more severe symptoms.  That’s why early diagnosis and treatment is so important – to extinguish the fire, so to speak.  They highlight the worryingly long time it takes on average for people to receive an accurate diagnosis, and so effective treatment.

Witch burning

It took  almost exactly 10 years for me to receive an accurate diagnosis.  The bitter irony is that treating bi polar depression with anti depressants only sparks the mania/depression cycle and the severity and frequency of these symptoms. Although I don’t blame my doctors who missed it back then, I have had a few ‘if only…’ moments in the past couple of weeks.

If only I had talked about the racing thoughts that clattered through my mind as I lay prostrate in bed in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening day after day after day.

If only they’d asked.

I have written about my job as a Peer Supporter in previous editions, and the central role that hope plays in what I do.  Over the past couple of weeks I have to admit that I have struggled with this core value of my recovery, and those of the peers I connect with.

It’s all too late, what difference can I possibly make if I am working with people with severe and enduring challenges, and whose treatment has come years and years too late?

from Dante’s Inferno

Canto iii

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.

Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1361)


*Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter

This entry was posted in Bi Polar Disorder, Cycling, Depression, Mental Health, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Kindle Effect

  1. I too am doing BeatingBipolar – only just started.


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