World Mental Health Day 2018 :: A guest blog by the ever talented Veer Pressure
A teammate once said, “you’ll find the full DSM-V* in roller derby,” and while that is not the only reason I feel so at home in the derby world, it is definitely a big part of it.
I have struggled with mental health since I was fifteen, and exercise has always helped me tremendously, especially team sports. I used to play field hockey. But never have I found such a community feeling, a feeling of belonging, as I have found in derby. With derby people I can talk, about anything. Derby people offer support when needed. We help each other out and we lift each other up.
Sometimes I feel so bad that all I want to do is skate fast laps to deal with the discomfort of my mind. Sometimes I just want to have fun with my teammates and laugh about silly stuff. Other times I want to skate into people as hard as I can, trusting they can take the hit. And sometimes I feel so shit that going to practice is impossible, and my teammates will let me know that that is okay, too. Like learning how to skate, healing is not linear, that is something I learned in derby as well.
Roller derby has taught me more than just skating and hitting people on skates, more than just playing or officiating the game. Doing derby these past 3.5 years, I have learned real life skills that are incredibly helpful, not just in day to day life, but also for my mental healing. My confidence has gotten an immense boost. I have learned to set goals, and to work hard to achieve them. I have learned that almost everything boils down to teamwork and trusting the people around you. I have learned that only by doing something a hundred times over, you will learn it. I have learned to speak up about what is troubling me. I have learned that sometimes, however hard something may seem, however scary something may feel, you have to take the leap and do it. And most importantly, I have learned that I am always allowed to ask for help.
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders