Statistically speaking, it is highly likely that we all know someone who has experienced a mental illness at some point in their life, yet there are still harmful attitudes around mental illnesses that fuel the stigma and make it harder for people to reach out for help.Continue reading
On June 26, 2016, thousands of cyclists will come together to celebrate and strengthen mental health for all Canadians while raising $1,500,000 for mental health programs and services – and I will be one of them! Ride Don’t Hide is a community bike ride taking place in over 30 communities across Canada benefitting the Canadian Mental Health Association. I’m proud to participate in Ride Don’t Hide 2016 and invite you to join the movement and show your support with a donation or by joining me as a rider, a fundraising virtual rider or a volunteer. Thank you!
I first heard about Ride Don’t Hide about a year ago. I considered participating then, but it was really close to the event, I wasn’t in good enough shape to even survive the event, and every other possible excuse you can possibly think of.
About 7 months earlier, I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Physically, my excuses weren’t unfounded. Mentally, I really couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of actually participating in such an event, even though I had been quite open about my battle and I legitimately wanted to do it.
There was this voice in my head – that little voice that is supposed to remain in the back of your mind… it was front and centre – that had me convinced I couldn’t do it.
Over the past year, the idea of participating in Ride Don’t Hide has been floating around in my brain, occasionally popping up to remind me I wanted to do it. And each time, that nagging little voice of anxiety and depression were there to remind me that I’m in terrible shape and every time I make any attempt change that, I fail. I set insane goals for myself with no timeline for completion and I fail every time. Why? Because my greatest talent is procrastination.
Then, the weekend of CAMH One Brave Night rolled around – which I participated in without a second thought, even though I have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder and I really shouldn’t be messing with my sleep pattern on such a significant way. I had been wondering when Ride Don’t Hide was taking place so I went to the website. I sat there staring at it for a while, coming up with excuse after excuse.
I considered signing up as a virtual rider because then I wouldn’t have to do anything. After about 30 minutes of excuse making it hit me. I want to get in better shape. Be healthier. I don’t care so much about losing weight, I simply want to be able to do things I used to do without being out of breath or in pain. Although, out doesn’t help that I have asthma and enough old injuries to pretty much guarantee something will always hurt, no matter what I do. I’ve struggled with my weight since my preteens, but I have never been in as terrible shape as I have been since my early-mid 20s. (I’m now on my late 20s.)
Telling myself I can get in shape at my own pace, clearly, wasn’t working. I’ve been trying for years and it’s only gotten worse.
I kept thinking, oh I’ll sign up once I start exercising more so I know I can do it. That wasn’t working either.
Then it hit me I knew I had to register now or I would never do it!
Now, I have a very achievable goal with a timeline for completion. Having that deadline has given me a ton more motivation to work at it. It’s only been a couple days but I’m already doing better than all the other times I tried to get myself in better shape. My sleep/wake phase issues are making my preferred exercise time difficult, but the thought of not being able to do the ride is keeping me going when it would be more than easy to “skip it,” but I know that skipping it will lead to giving up. I may have days where I don’t want to, and I’m not in denial about that anymore. Knowing I have this goal in mind, I think, will force me to keep going.
This is one of those things where my anxiety actually works in my favour. More than wanting to be in better shape, I don’t want to look an idiot. Normally, I would expect people to tell me not to think that way and tell me all kinds of positive things about myself that I won’t believe, but that’s part of what is going to keep me going and get me to June 26th!
The only thing I’m concerned about is what I’m going to do to keep myself motivated after Ride Don’t Hide. I’m hoping that I will have had enough success, by that point, that the success itself will keep me going, but I’m trying not let myself get my hopes up. I’m going to need to find another date oriented goal to keep me going, but for now, I just need to keep my focus and get as much support as I can to help keep me on track!
Please, help me reach my goal by sponsoring me for Ride Don’t Hide! Your dollars will go towards helping the CMHA provide much needed support to those battling mental illness and will help keep me motivated to advice my goal of being healthy, both physically and mentally.