High and lows: being an Olympian with bipolar disorder

Story by CBC Kids News • 2018-09-30 07:17

Travis Gerrits was diagnosed with a mental health condition after the Winter Olympics in 2014

Travis Gerrits is an athlete with guts.

As a freestyle skier, he launches into the air, soars high in the sky and spins around — and he keeps his eyes open the whole time.

He’s competed in the Olympics and on the World Cup circuit.

But doing that has come with challenges.

“For me it’s just been about reflecting on how I’m feeling and then finding that support network.” - Travis Gerritts, freestyle skier

Gerrits has a mental health condition.

Shortly after the Sochi Olympics is 2014, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — a mental condition that affects his mood.

Sometimes Gerrits has lows — periods of depression — and sometimes he has highs — periods of mania.

With the help of psychologists and medication, Gerrits has been able to continue training and competing.

He’s speaking out about mental health to teach others about what it is and to avoid being judged for it.

“For me it’s just been about reflecting on how I’m feeling and then finding that support network,” Gerrits said.

He’s also raising money for kids who have mental health issues.

CBC Kids News’ Saara Chaudry caught up with Gerrits when he was in Toronto promoting the RBC Race for the Kids.

The race raises money for Sunnybrook Hospital's Family Navigation Project which provides mental health and addiction services for people aged 13-26 and their families.

 

 

 

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