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Love of ATV riding and mental health

VTT et la santé mentale

If someone would have told me a few years ago, that I would look at an ATV and that I would feel a love like the one I feel for mine, I would have laughed. I really had no idea that I could feel this way about a machine such as this.

I didn’t talk about it openly, except to my loved ones of course, but as I was doing my dishes a few months ago, I was looking out the window at my beautiful ATV and I felt the need to share my journey and experience with mental health.

I was on sick leave from October 2021 to April 2022 because of my heavy past that I had never dealt with, which had finally caught up with me. Life tends to do that, and you must take the time needed. This situation was greatly frustrating, being a strong woman who needs no one, how delusional was I!? From December to June, I went to weekly therapy, and it needs to be said! If you have one gift to give yourself, do that! Face your feelings, live them and THEN move on!

Therapy opened my eyes to plenty of things, the most important being that I’m allowed to be sad, I’m allowed to be scared, but I cannot hide it all from myself or hide it from the people around me. It’s quite the task to take on, deal with one feeling at a time, name said feelings, share it, cry, laugh, get angry, whatever!

VTT et la santé mentale

Let’s get back to the 4-wheeler: my whole life, I told myself “It would be fun to go ride with someone”. My partner and I started riding during the pandemic. He would regularly ask me to drive, but I didn’t want to, I was scared. Scared of not being good enough, scared to not react properly if anything happened, scared of embarrassing myself. You see the link between the two now? Such sadness! I’ve behaved like this with so many activities in my life in case I hurt myself or made a fool of myself. But while I was on leave, I was sick and tired of thinking that way because those negative thoughts do not deserve that control over us. So, I tried, I couldn’t drive for more than an hour at a time, my shoulders would hurt because I was too tense. I fought off my fear!

I even went out during winter, alone on top of it!

(This coming from me who hates winter!) I had never really invested in proper equipment to not be cold, but what a difference that made! I love it that much! I think about it all the time, I want to ride constantly! I talk about it all the time, to everyone, without a doubt I must be totally annoying! It is nearly an obsession! I’m still scared, but I go anyway! And I keep trying harder and harder things. I’m realizing that the dirtier I am, the more I pushed my fear, pushed my limits.

I started off slowly, on federated trails. I would turn corners very slowly. I would avoid water puddles because I didn’t want to get dirty. One day, I didn’t have a choice because the puddle was enormous. I drove through it, and I was quite surprised by the feel of it. Very different type of driving. One thing led to another, I caught myself looking for those water holes, to my partner’s disappointment as he much prefers to speed around the trails. Then one day, I went through a mud hole, and it was the beginning of everything for me. I cannot go without it anymore.

I went to my first mud event in May, without my ATV, I wanted to make sure I had an exit door if needed (hello to those negative thoughts again!). I observed and met new people. These people told me about another event that was happening in Ontario a few weeks later. It was incredible! The gathering of people who share the same passion! The mutual aid that I saw while people were bogged down, it was beautiful! There was absolutely no hesitation in speaking to people you didn’t know. I even saw a Quebecer speaking French to an Ontarian who spoke only English. They were using hand signals to understand each other to get their quad out of a deep mud hole. Quite a heartwarming thing to see!

VTT et la santé mentale

I cannot go without anymore. I got my whole family involved now, my teenager specifically, she loves it just as much as mommy does! I’m just as bad as a kid waiting for Christmas, but I’m waiting for the next mud fest. While I wait, we prepare, we grease the machines, check the oils, etc. You’ll now have a good idea what my next articles will speak of.

Moral of the story: why don’t you confront your fears? Maybe, like me, you will fall in love with something you never thought you would be able to do!