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National Depression Screening Day with Kari Pedersen

Kari Pedersen, YYC Cycle's very own blog coordinator, shares her journey with depression from the time she faced her illness several years ago, to present day - and the impact the spin community made on the course of her recovery. 


I have heard before that it's hard to realize how bad something is until you are on the other side of it, and that could not be more true for me and my battle with depression. I was 21 years old when I finally decided to tell my parents that something was wrong. As I was telling them, I started to realize just how dark things had become for me. The once driven and outgoing girl I knew myself to be was gone, and I was terrified that she wasn’t going to come back.


My parents stepped in and took over, guiding me through the next several months of my life. We started by seeing the doctor, and then a therapist and then working through the steps to recovery together. Shortly into the process, I realized that it wasn’t so scary and that with support like my family I was going to be okay.


About three years into my recovery, I was feeling pretty good. Things like getting out of bed and other day-to-day events had become easier, but there was something missing in my life still, a sense of loneliness that I felt wasn’t going away. That was when a good friend introduced me to YYC Cycle.

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I will be the first to admit, there were several canceled classes before I finally walked through the doors of the Marda Loop location, but once I did — everything changed for me. From my first class I was hooked, and for the next few months, 10:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings, there was only one place to find me. I started to connect with the crew working in the studios and the motivators leading my classes and I started to feel a part of something special.


From there, I began to hit some major milestones! I got my highly coveted 50 class water bottle, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a motivator that I never thought I would be able to do, and I celebrated two years of talking about and conquering my depression with this new family I had created. Shortly after that, I joined that crew that had inspired me so much, hoping that I was going to have the same impact on someone else.


I can’t say that I don’t have some rough days, or that I don’t have to work on my mental health and wellness, but I can confidently say that I have not allowed depression and anxiety to control the person I am or the person I want to be. That outgoing and driven girl I was once so worried about has returned and that is largely due to the support and connections I have made at YYC Cycle.

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Today is National Depression Screening Day, and the best advice I can give to you if you are reading this, is that it is okay to ask for help. Find that person you trust, and confide in them, because once you have that support, everything else gets a whole lot easier. If you need someone to talk to, but you aren’t sure who, call the Distress Centre and confide in someone, because you are special and you are loved and you can get through this. 

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is an annual initiative used in our ongoing efforts to defy depression. A free public service offered to Calgarians, the intent of the campaign is to raise awareness of depression through a short, easy-to-complete, and anonymous online screening test, while simultaneously encouraging those with depressive symptoms to seek help.

 Take the screening test here: