In the weeks leading up to Ride Don’t Hide, CMHA Waterloo Wellington will bring you stories from riders and fundraisers about why mental health is important to them. Ride Don’t Hide is a national campaign hosted by the CMHA on Sunday, June 25th, bringing together over 10,000 participants in communities across the country with the goal to raise awareness and help break the stigma surrounding mental health while raising essential funds to support mental health programs. To join the ride or volunteer, visit our Ride Don’t Hide page.
It takes courage to ask for help, but it shouldn’t be so!
It is a natural thing to seek treatment when you break a limb, catch a bug or suffer from disease: the same should be true for mental illness. Mental illness is treatable, and treatment allows sufferers to overcome their challenges and remain productive members of society.
I have lived a childhood of severe abuse and as a result I suffer from PTSD. But I am first and foremost a husband and a father of two; I provide for my family and I am an active member of my community. Living a normal life with mental illness is possible when you receive appropriate support – like living a normal life with diabetes is possible if treated properly.
I am in for a long journey, but I am fortunate I am receiving invaluable help. I am grateful for the support and programs offered by organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association, and I give back whenever I can.
This ride is one way to do it!
In the past few years I started volunteering nights at a shelter for homeless people, and then three hours weekly for the CMHA. These two themes were not picked at random since they are related, one with a period of my life where I myself lived precariously and without a home, and the other with my current situation where I face mental illness.
In both instances I have benefited from the generosity of others, and it is important for me to be able to make a contribution, no matter how small: I know from experience that the smallest gesture, even if it seems insignificant, can have an immense impact on the receiver.
In March 2017, I suffered a full tonic-clonic seizure, and am therefore no longer allowed to drive. One unfortunate consequence of having my driver’s license suspended is that I had to stop volunteering.
So, since by force of circumstances I travel by bicycle (the weather of recent days gave me a taste of the joys of cycling in Canada: beautiful weather, downpours, wind, and even snow, all that in the same week), this year I am participating in a fundraising event for the CMHA called “Ride Don’t Hide”. Its purpose is to fight the stigma around mental illness, and it takes place in the form of family-friendly bicycle rides that take place across the country.
Thank you all, I count on you!