On June 3rd 2018, I rode in my first AIDS/Lifecycle ride. I had spent months training for this day, and the months were not easy. In December of 2017 our family home burnt down in the Thomas fire, and my world was turned on its head. The place where we always felt safe, and could return to in hard times was gone. Suddenly training for a bike ride was frivolous.
Fast forward to March of 2018, and the dust had figuratively and literally settled. I dove back into cycling headfirst. It was my time, I couldn't think or feel anything else as in those moments. The breathing in of air with my lungs on fire, the shooting pain of lactic acid building in my legs,became my drug and cure. I was training to complete ALC and I was loving every minute of it.
Within a matter of hours after crossing the finish line, something inside wasn’t right. I turned to my teammates for help. Days later I was sitting in the waiting room watching the clock tic by, as I though to myself "what am I doing here? This is ridiculous? I don't need this!" A few hours later I was diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder. I was both in shock and relieved. Finally my demons had a name, and I had the tools to conquer them once and for all.
When people hear the words bipolar, or borderline personality disorder the way they perceive you changes. Suddenly you are a headcase, crazy, a risk to yourself and others. This isn't the case. Yes I was achieving manic highs and throwing sense and caution into the wind. I couldn't comprehend the pain my actions would have on people. Then in the blink of an eye I would plummet into a hole where there was no light or end in site. However, it's more like being a burn victim. There is no tapering to a feeling, you either feel all of it and then some, or you feel nothing.
FUBAR has a saying, “Find strength in the struggle”, and if it wasn’t for the love of my teammates on FUBAR and community showed during ALC, I wouldn’t have found the strength to ask for help.
I will continue to ride every mile, so that I can help others find strength in their struggle the same way FUBAR gave me mine.