Canadian freestyle skier Travis Gerrits understands the stigma behind mental health. After competing in the Olympic Winter Games 2014, Travis was diagnosed with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder, but he wasn’t going to let that define him.
It was difficult to come to terms with having a label, but he was determined to see past it and not let it take over his life.
Travis fell in love with aerials at a very young age, and the passion and exhilaration of the sport has only become stronger over the years. The feeling of flying through the air gives him a sense that he can overcome whatever is holding him back, physically, emotionally and mentally. It allows him to focus on what’s happening in the moment and that’s what he truly lives for.
Travis realized something was different when he was trying to get back into training after Sochi 2014. He was falling into a depressive state and it wasn’t the first time he had experienced something like this. It was something he had felt for many years, off and on.
Type 1 Bipolar Disorder isn’t something that happens on a day to day basis. For Travis, it often comes in 3-week periods with severe highs and lows, from manic episode to depressive episode. This makes training and competing just that much more difficult for him.
With the help of specialized sports psychologists, medication and therapy, Travis has continued on in his success. Sharing his story has given him the chance to inspire others to seek help and get the treatment they need. Thanks to the funding through the Canadian Olympic Foundation from Bell, Travis and many other Canadian athletes can afford access to the tailored mental health services they may need.
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