Last week, SnowBrains’ Miles Clark talked with Tahoe-based Olympic skier Errol Kerr about his challenges of dealing with mental health issues.
Errol was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015.
In the above interview, Errol walks us through what happened on April 2nd and more.
“What happened on April 2nd goes back a long ways. I had my first mental breakdown back in 2015. I’ve been in and out of mental hospitals and my close family and close friends have been there with me and have been working me through the struggle. When you [SnowBrains] finally posted that article I was like ‘well, this is it now everyone already knows.’ So for me reposting it wasn’t something of shame. Now I can finally reach out and tell the world what I’m struggling with on a day to day basis. This is something I’ll live with for the rest of my life. This isn’t a drug or alcohol problem. This isn’t addiction. This is a chemical imbalance in my brain. I’m bipolar so when I’m not having an episode, I’m the normal Errol you grew up with. When I’m having an episode, I don’t know who I am.”
– Errol Kerr told SnowBrains on 4/22/20
This was the first time Errol has discussed his mental health challenge in public.
Errol Kerr Facts:
- Born 4/12/86 in Brooklyn, NY to Jamaican father and American mother
- Grew up in Truckee, California skiing at Alpine Meadows ski resort
- Started skiing at age 4 and started racing competitively at age 11
- Olympic ski cross athlete for Jamaica at the 2010 Olympic games in Canada where he finished 9th overall
- 2010 was the first time ski cross was held in the Olympics and Errol’s 9th was the best placing by a Caribbean athlete at any Winter Olympics
- Errol Kerr is based in Lake Tahoe, CA
Bipolar Disorder Facts by the Mayo Clinic:
- Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
- When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.
- Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.
- Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).