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MIND TRICKS: Stories of Mental Health in BMX

Apart from winning Simple Session 2020 and releasing videos about her lifestyle, Nikita Ducarroz has also been busy opening up conversations about mental health in our community.

Mind Tricks (@m1ndtricks) is a platform for sharing stories about mental health struggles from BMX / Action Sports riders, some of them very big names, that exists to try and encourage people going through internal struggles themselves.  As Nikita explains below, every single story will resonate with someone out there, and it’s all about being open.


Nikita Ducarroz. Photo: Leigh Ramsdell​

Q&A with Nikita Ducarroz

– For those who don’t know, what is Mind Tricks?

Mind Tricks is still in its beginning stages, but at the moment it is an Instagram page (@m1ndtricks) where we share stories written by members of the Action Sports community detailing issues they’ve had with mental health. Whether it be a lifelong struggle, something that came from an injury or traumatic event etc., whatever kind of mental health story it is, it will probably resonate with someone out there reading it.

– Where did the idea come from, why did you want to make a page about mental health in our community?

I started it with my friend who came to me after I did a personal Instagram post. He asked if there were any people in action sports doing something like that. I hadn’t heard of anything so we got to thinking and that’s how it all came about. We figured that there were more athletes out there that had stories, and maybe just needed some encouragement to share them publicly.


 

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#MentalHealthMatters. Today and everyday we need to remember that you never know what people might be dealing with. Talk. Listen. #endthestigma. We don’t have to do this alone and it’s a lot less scary when we are together. #BMX #actionsports #family #anxiety #depression

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– Why do you think it’s important to share stories like this?

I know growing up in my early teens I felt like I was the only one dealing with anxiety and depression. I never understood why me. Once I got a little older and was more comfortable talking about it, it did help a little and I felt less lonely.

“Knowing there are other people out there who are going through what you are going through makes it a little more comforting.  And on top of that, it gets people talking”

I just imagine by sharing our stories, all kinds of them, we can help others who might feel the same way. Might feel lonely, misunderstood, helpless. Knowing there are other people out there who are going through what you are going through makes it a little more comforting. And on top of that, it gets people talking.

It becomes more normal, and not something that we are ashamed of. I think that is big as well. We talk about physical injuries no problem, this should be the same.

– What’s the overall message you want to promote?

The main message we want to promote is that it is OK not to be OK, it’s OK to ask for help, and you aren’t the only one. Mental Health is no joke, but it’s also nothing to be ashamed of and there is help out there even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even these top pro riders who people think have perfect lives deal with stuff.


 

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SIMON TABRON🧠⁣🚲 “Over the years, riding vert day in, day out, has taken its’ toll on my mental health. About 7 or 8 years ago, I was driving to the ramp and noticed I had butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous because I knew, within 30 minutes or an hour, I would be riding one of the best ramps on earth and probably doing some pretty dangerous stuff 20-25 feet up. ⁣ ⁣ I started to notice this more and more and realized I had to do something about my fear. I had watched it beat quite a few people over the years. ⁣ ⁣ I began trying to isolate it, identify it, acknowledge it. Then I started work on strengthening my mental game, removing superstition, addressing fear head on, re-taking control. It’s probably the toughest trick to learn and, perhaps, the least talked about. But it is possible to learn, to progress and to take control of your mind. I think the first step is to identify it, to admit it. Healthy mind, healthy body 🖤” PC: @cocozurita #endthestigma #whatyoudontsee #anxiety #depression #actionsports #BMX #mentalhealth

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– Do you think it’s becoming more normal for people to open up? Is Mind Tricks pushing that openness in BMX?

I definitely think it is. Looking back to when I was younger and now, whether it’s just because social media is bigger now or some other reason, more people are willing to come forth and talk about their mental struggles. And I think once one person does it, others are more willing. I hope that Mind Tricks is pushing that openness in BMX. That is the goal at least! All we can do is keep sharing stories and see where it takes us.

“We talk about physical injuries no problem, this should be the same”

– How have your experiences enabled you to connect with other people on this?

Massively. Growing up was pretty crazy for my parents dealing with a kid who basically wouldn’t leave the house. Now, other parents call them when they are experiencing similar things with their kids to ask for advice.

I feel like being older and understanding my mind and body more, I also am in a position to give advice from my own experiences. It’s insane how many people deal with mental health stuff and we never know it because we afraid to talk about it.


 

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DENNIS ENARSON 🧠🚲 ⁣ ⁣ I have always felt very mentally happy until big injuries came into play at a young age. As soon as I took some heavy time away from my bike it made me realize my BMX was the main thing keeping me happy. I feel like that is a great thing until it’s taken from you and you have to relearn how to create happiness. ⁣ ⁣ Injuries have taught me so much, like the value of the simple things, family, friends, health, and just simply the beauty of being lucky enough to be alive. ⁣ ⁣ Now when I step away from my bike I still have that happiness, BMX is just a bonus and I’ve learned that there is so much more that keeps me happy and loving life. The things I get to do on a bike are just a huge bonus. ⁣ ⁣ It took talking and hanging out with the right people to learn all of this and thanks to that I feel like nothing can get me really down anymore. ⁣ Mental health is the most important thing in life, and it’s one of the hardest to accomplish. ⁣ ⁣ Make sure you take the time to figure out what makes you happy and what keeps you motivated. Don’t be scared to express yourself and find good people to talk to. Everyone has issues and everyone should help each other out by lending an open ear to a friend.” ⁣ ⁣ #endthestigma #whatyoudontsee #anxiety #depression #actionsports #BMX #mentalhealth

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– Which are your favourite messages you’ve published so far?

I don’t think I have a favourite. Everyone has shared something so different I feel like they can reach someone out there. From Ryan Nyquist who talks about superstitions he had for contests, to Hannah Roberts talking about dealing with some depression, and every story in between. They all mean something. We are still building the page so I definitely encourage riders to take a look at each one as they are all very different.

– How often do you have people come forward with stories?

There were definitely more at the start as I was really putting an effort in to reach out to people. I think there are a lot out there but we just need to reach them and let them know the page is here. With the contest season picking up now I’ve had less time to devote to it, but still try to get new stories to post when I can. As always we have our submission link in our bio that is open to anyone to submit their stories.

– What’s the long term goal of Mind Tricks?

I don’t really know the end goal. What I like about it is that it could become anything. A podcast, video series, clothing company, develop into more mental health outreach… The opportunities are endless and at this point with my own busy schedule the plan is just to let it happen as we go and see where it takes us.

The ultimate goal like I said before is just to normalise talking about mental health, and show people it’s OK to not be OK.


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NIKITA DUCARROZ 🧠🚲 ⁣ About this time last year I was holed up in my room.⁣ ⁣ I was pretty sure at that point that this was it.⁣ ⁣ From the outside looking in, it appeared I was living the dream. Winning contests. Traveling the world. And I was.⁣ ⁣ But I was also fighting the silent killer that was eating away at me every day. Constant panic attacks. Unexplained pain. Mood swings. Pure hopelessness that nothing would ever get better and my life was over. ⁣ ⁣ My team didn’t give up on me. And helped me out of that hole even when I thought I couldn’t be helped. I owe them everything for that. ⁣ ⁣ It’s nearing that time again, which makes me nervous. Who knows what will happen in the future. Who knows if it will come back. But for now we just have to live day by day and trust the process. And talk about it. As much as possible.⁣ ⁣ Even those “living the dream” are human. And mental health shouldn’t be a sensitive subject. #endthestigma #whatyoudontsee #anxiety #depression #actionsports #BMX #mentalhealth #Olympics

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