Ride’s Fitness Director talks Mental Health Awareness Week

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ride Republic’s Fitness Director, Rachel Rivers, writes candidly about her experiences of depression and anxiety and how exercise and music played a huge part in her recovery.

When I was twenty eight I was living in Los Angeles, enjoying a great job with a professional sports team. I had an active social life and bright career, when one day out of the blue I got a call that my father had died. However my mother was also battling cancer, so I knew it wasn’t going to end there.

Five weeks later, back in Los Angeles, I got another call that my mother was in the hospital and had only days left to live. Before I knew it I was back in the UK again, holding my mother’s hand in the hospital while she took her last breath. In complete shock and devastation, I returned back to the US, but it didn’t end there either…

Weeks later, again back in Los Angeles, I found myself squashed in a five car pile up car accident. My nerves were shot and my anxiety was running rampant. I then got another call a few months later saying my grandfather had died. In less than nine months I had lost my father, mother, grandfather and gotten into a bad car accident. Not to mention not having any family around, I was single and I lived alone. I finally felt beaten, broken and like a zombie.  I quit my job and locked myself in my flat for a good three months- lifeless. At the young age of 28 years old I was suffering deeply from depression, insomnia and anxiety – and alone.

Until one day I picked up my headphones, open the doors to sunny California and started to run and run and run. Before I knew it I was at least 12 miles away from home and I had to get back, but I seemed to do it with ease. I actually couldn’t stop. Then everyday I would put on the same songs and kept running. I wouldn’t stop until I felt so exhausted that both my mind and body could sleep. With better sleep came a clearer mind during the day, with a clearer mind I could start to think rationally. With rational thoughts I could see that I still had life in me- I still had to fight.

Fourteen years on I still have very sad days and miss having a family but I know how to manage it. Exercise calms my nerves and music makes me smile, and the two together is my medicine. I would now consider myself a very positive and happy person. I have learnt to never give up, not let anyone or anything stand in my way (including myself) and to fearlessly beat to the sound of my own drum. I also aspire to help others along the way.

Rachel Rivers, Ride Republic’s Fitness Director & Instructor


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