Anastasia Bucsis is a Canadian long track speed skater who has represented Canada at 50 World Cups, six World Championships, as well as competed at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Anastasia became involved with Ride Don’t Hide as an Olympic Ambassador in 2016 after experiencing her own mental health struggles and was motivated to speak up and help encourage others to seek support.

“My diagnosis came twelve months before the Sochi Olympics, and it quite frankly derailed my world. Although it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, I was left feeling confused, alone and utterly helpless. I was left to myself, questioning what seemed to be every decision I had made within the last few years. For a myriad of reasons that seemed to form into a perfect storm, I had dug myself slowly into a trench and recognized that I was too deep to climb out unassisted.”

“As an athlete, it is hardwired in your brain to think ‘better, faster, stronger’ – no one wants to admit they are vulnerable which makes it difficult to ask for help. It was also hard for me to accept that I couldn’t ‘fix’ the situation on my own. But there was relief in receiving the diagnosis, that indeed, I was suffering from clinical depression and not just feeling sorry for myself.”

“It was with that realization that I truly began to recognize the importance of accepting the need to ask for help, coupled with surrounding myself with a strong and balanced community in my pursuit of bettering my mental health. The upcoming Ride Don’t Hide event is the perfect example of people coming together while creating a strong network of a safe space and positive discussion regarding mental health issues.”

I still struggle with my mental health, but our ‘Ride Don’t Hide’ event grants me the opportunity and privilege to realize that I am not alone, and that our similarities far outweigh our differences.

Ride Don’t Hide is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Individuals, families and teams can register online at www.ridedonthide.com.