A Journey We Can Share: Join the ride against stigma

On Sunday, June 26th, 2016, I rode in the Greater Vancouver Ride Don’t Hide. There, amidst a sea of blue shirts and a battalion of bicycles, I witnessed a progressive initiative to reduce stigma and promote mental health discussion. The 1,200 riders who took part in last year’s Ride Don’t Hide struck at the heart of social misconceptions. As an individual who has struggled with mental health challenges, the presence of such a crowd, drawn together for the sole purpose of silencing stigma, was heartwarming. Never have I witnessed such unity for a common cause. As I set off on […]

Riding To Victory at 8 KM/HR

Huzzah! I did it! I rode 20 KM, pretty much nonstop, zipping along at 8 KM/HR. The ride took me nearly 2 and a half hours to complete. I was the last one to return to the stadium. Despite my last place finish, I’m proud of myself. Obviously, I’m proud to have gotten out of my comfort zone. I’d never ridden so publicly before, so riding with hundreds of other riders was daunting. I’m also proud to have tackled the physical challenge of Ride Don’t Hide, breaking my record for longest ride by an impressive 10 kilometers. More so, I’m proud […]

Shoppers Drug Mart LOVE. YOU.: Invisible No More — Victoria’s Story

I was just at the Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide – Greater Vancouver event. 1200 cyclists ready to ride to support mental illness awareness. 1200 cyclists riding to support someone they know or ride for themselves. It was something I had never seen before. Not for mental illness. I kept wanting to poke these people on bikes and say ‘You know this event is for mental illness, right?’ Mental illness has never been as sexy or cool as some of the other causes that are out there. Not that I want to pit pathologies against one another. But getting […]

Andrew’s Training Blog: As the Day Approaches

There’s no question about it: these past three months spent blogging for Ride Don’t Hide have been a journey. A journey that has seen me through many highs and lows. My most sincere hope is that my blog posts have given you (the reader) an introspective peek into my recovery from severe mental illness and addiction. Almost immediately after being tasked with the blog, I relapsed. I relapsed hard. The outpouring of support I’ve received leaves me indebted to many. I couldn’t have come this far without the support of many key figures in my life. Of course, I’m indebted […]

Don’t Worry, Just Ride: Mark’s Story

In 2015, Mark led Canada’s largest Ride Don’t Hide team as captain of “Don’t Worry – Just Ride,” a group that counted 130 riders overall. Considering that more than 6,000 Canadians participated in Ride Don’t Hide last year, building the country’s largest team was no small feat. What’s even more exceptional is that he didn’t do it on purpose. “It is my pleasure to have created the largest team in Canada, though it wasn’t my goal to start out with,” Mark admits. “Because I’m a cyclist, I have a number of friends that cycle already. So we got together. Then […]

Andrew’s Training Blog: Ride This Road Together

I’m back. I think. Back from the brink of losing myself. Suicide. Overdose. Both were in the cards for me. I guess you could say I seized the opportunity to change, and got my life in order. When you’re dealt a bad hand you can either fold or bluff. So, I bluffed my way back to good health. Fake it ‘til you make it, they say. I wasn’t oblivious to my steady deterioration over the past six months. But, unaware of my potential for change, I felt helpless to take control of my life. My mind was clouded. I had […]

Shoppers Drug Mart LOVE. YOU.: A Mom Fighting Stigma — Chelsea’s Story

Chelsea Moon is a 30-year-old recent university grad and mother of two, who is joining the Ride Don’t Hide movement for the first time this year. She’s riding for herself, her daughter, and all Canadian families who live with mental illness. Chelsea’s oldest child, 9-year-old Ali, is an active kid who loves to dance, spend time with her friends, and help her family in the garden. Ali also lives with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which means that she can have trouble focusing, and become overstimulated from activities like going to the grocery store or out for dinner. ADHD is […]

Andrew’s Training Blog: Extreme

I remember how it came on. Fast. Without warning. Suddenly, I was all fired up, as if I’d just been jump started. I turned on some music, cranked the volume, and then began dancing. I couldn’t help myself. I was overcome with a desire to move. An hour passed before I finally took a rest. Lounging upright on the couch, my body swayed wildly to the music pumping out of my speakers. I jumped to my feet, turned the volume up a notch, and then headed to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee. I did a quick jig […]

Mother and Mental Health Advocate: Candice’s Story

After losing her brother to suicide and living with her own mental health challenges, Candice has found a renewed sense of purpose and reason to care for her mental health: her daughter. Candice is no stranger to the fear of stigma that surrounds mental illness. “A lot of the stigma was in my own mind,” she confesses. “I worried people were going to judge me or that people were going to think less of me—that I wasn’t competent.” After opening up about her experiences, she came to realize that sharing her story made support and connection possible. “Once I actually started talking, I didn’t feel the stigma. I […]

Andrew’s Training Blog: Setbacks

Setbacks happen. You can plan to your heart’s content, but as John Lennon so accurately put it, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” So I had my first setback last week, time to move on. As an individual with a serious mental illness, I know overwhelming stress often leads to relapse. I suppose I lost insight. The accumulation of academic and extracurricular commitments, combined with mounting personal stresses, pushed me over the edge. Depression ensued. It seemed my aspirations of riding twenty kilometers in this year’s Ride Don’t Hide would go unfulfilled. But I don’t give […]

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