Kevin Hubsmith
Kevin HubsmithImage by: Kevin Hubsmith
Kevin Hubsmith
12 November 2020

Kevin Hubsmith explains how cycling through stress can make all the difference

Kevin Hubsmith
3 minutes read time

One in five men struggle with mental health and it’s important to know you’re not alone. The first step is just talking about it. It sounds much simpler than it is because it’s very difficult to talk, especially for men. It’s kind of a macho thing. You don’t show your emotion. Most men are taught it’s weak to be sad or cry. It’s something that goes very deep into our society and I think it’s hopefully finally changing.

I only recently felt comfortable enough to start telling my own story. I’ve actually had mental health issues my entire life and it started when I was pretty young. We first diagnosed it when I was in tenth grade. I had two incidents. One was in high school, which was self-harm and it actually pulled me out of school. As a result, I finished my high school career outside. I didn’t really tell anyone about what was going on because I didn’t really want to accept what was happening, and I didn’t want to be judged. Then, I went off to college and during my third semester back, I had a bit of a manic episode. 

Although I didn’t really know it at the time, my parents were able to see it from afar and they noticed this based on my actions and the way I was talking and the things I was doing. All summer long before going back to school, I was pretty quiet and depressed. And all of a sudden this really erratic behavior began. I wasn’t sleeping and I started spending money on random things. It was a little manic episode. Because of that, they pulled me out of school the first week and sent me off to a wilderness therapy program in Utah. And that’s kind of where I got a good grip on my mental health and my life totally changed. 

I spent 76 days in the wilderness at an outdoor therapy retreat in the Moab Desert in Utah. The whole purpose of outdoor therapy was to meditate every day and do some yoga, but we also hiked daily and it was very important to have physical activity. I was able to strip away all the outside stress. You don’t have to be dealing with your friends and your girlfriend and your job and school. It allows you to focus on the core of the problems. Then I spent nine months in the after-care program, which basically gave me a toolbox and I’ve become an expert of my own head. I now know how my body works. So this was really about a year-long adventure for me. It was truly great because as a person, you learn to understand who you are. I also began journaling during this time, which is something I continue to find really helpful.

For others out there who might be experiencing mental health issues, my advice would be to speak out about it and get moving. A little exercise goes a long way. During quarantine, I’ve been biking about 250 miles a week. Medication wasn’t my way. My solution was exercise. I treat working out like a medication. If I don’t work out that day, it’s like I missed a dose. And I don’t work out to look good. It’s kind of just an added bonus, but I do it to feel good. Feeling good is so much more important.

I also plan to take the Move for Movember challenge and cycle 60 miles a few times for Movember. Staying active is a great way to strip away outside stress. Let’s keep moving forward together.