Skateboarding helps me manage my bipolar - Amber's story

04/01/2022

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Amber decided to take some time away from her job and focus on herself. During this time, she decided to take on a new challenge: skateboarding. It’s not the easiest sport to get the hang of, but she hasn’t looked back since starting and now you’ll find her taking on 8ft skate ramps like a pro. Feeling inspired? A new year can be a great time to take on a new hobby…

I cannot thank skateboarding enough for entering my life. It came at the right time and it pretty much saved me in 2021. I have never really been an adventurous or sporty person and the last thing I could imagine was me rolling down a ramp on a piece of wood with wheels…

In 2021, I received a bipolar disorder diagnosis after a really tough time. Covid and lockdowns really threw a spanner into the works with all of our lives, and I’m sure without it I might have gone on living unbeknown to having bipolar disorder. I always knew I would sometimes feel a bit down, but most of the time I’m out enjoying my best life! I had an inkling my spending habits might have had something to do with my mental health, and after experiencing several manic episodes in a short period of time during lockdown and spending an obscene amount of money I knew something was wrong.

After experiencing a depressive episode I ended up taking some anti-depressants, which led to me having a really mixed episode for a few months because of the anti-depressants. I knew something was really wrong when I had racing thoughts, anxiety, sleepless nights, constant energy running through me, things ended up getting really scary and I experienced suicidal thoughts for the first time. Although this was all really difficult to go through, the reaction to the anti-depressants is what helped me get a bipolar diagnosis. I was really fortunate to have a mental health specialist GP, who instantly referred me to a psychiatrist and I received my diagnosis almost straight away.

  • I was desperate for a distraction, and somehow stumbled across skateboarding. As I am such an uncoordinated person I expected it to be a total laugh and for me to fall on my butt and give up, but six months later I haven’t looked back!

I chose to move home with my parents, to focus on my health and put my fast-paced career aside for a while. I was desperate for a distraction, and somehow stumbled across skateboarding. As I am such an uncoordinated person I expected it to be a total laugh and for me to fall on my butt and give up, but six months later I haven’t looked back! It’s been the best thing I have discovered and it's been amazing for my continued recovery. It introduced me to a huge welcoming and friendly community. There’s really something special about people cheering you on for learning a new trick or tapping their boards in celebration for you doing something scary!

  • When I am manic, best believe I am skating 24/7 to use that energy in a positive way!

Skateboarding has given me a chance to focus my energy, when I’m down I try to push myself out to a skatepark and get some endorphins, and when I am manic best believe I am skating 24/7 to use that energy in a positive way. It’s been the best thing for me.

There’s something really great about overcoming fears and anxiety whether that’s stepping on a skateboard in the first place or dropping into an 8ft ramp (which I can now say I have achieved). You can find me cruising around a skatepark bowl mostly, it’s such a freeing sensation, it sort of feels like you are flying. I really recommend it to someone who wants to tackle anxiety head on as it really does feel amazing.

Learn how to skate and find your nearest skatepark with Skateboard GB.

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