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Man rides bike across America for depression awareness

8:16 PM, Jun 17, 2011   |    comments
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  • "I loaded up a gun with every intention of taking my life," Meier, a Minneapolis resident, said. "And sat with a loaded gun, and thankfully my then 9-month-old daughter Eleanor woke up crying and it was enough to jolt me back into reality and I got admitted to the hospital."

    Now, Meier is attacking that road by bike. He is riding from San Francisco to New York to raise awareness of the illness of depression in men.

    "Pick the worst 30 seconds of your life ever - crying, mad, angry - put it all together and have it go for a day after day after day after day," Meier said.

    Friday, he visited the University of Colorado Depression Center as one of his stops along the way. His 14-year-old daughter Anna flew in from Minnesota to continue the ride on a tandem bike with her dad.

    "Us together, even just physically, we're more powerful on a tandem together, but also just the support," Anna said.

    Meier says his daughter's support is immeasurable.

    "This is a kid who's giving up her entire summer to go talk about depression," Meier said.

    He started a program called the Face It Foundation which is focused primarily on getting men to realize they can be afflicted with this illness. Experts at the Depression Center say men are less likely than women to admit they are sick.

    "Men were designed to be warriors and providers for their family, so men are wired a bit differently," Dr. Neil Weiner, director of clinical services at the University of Colorado Depression Center, said. "I think it's easier for men to suppress their emotions."

    Meier says that was the case with him.

    "I was a hockey player. I wasn't going to admit I was depressed," he said.

    Anna says she remembers growing up seeing her dad crying and unresponsive at times.

    "I kind of feel like that's what is with depression," Anna said. "You don't really have as much connection with people."

    They hope this 3,600-mile journey will change all that.

    "I've met probably 15 or 20 guys at various places, truck stops, restaurants, bars, gun shops that have said to me, 'You mean you talk about depression?'" Meier said.

    That's the purpose of this bike ride.

    If you want to find out more about the organization, you can click on www.faceitfoundation.org.

    The University of Colorado Depression Center is starting a men's program to coincide with Meier's nationwide bike tour.

    Meier just wants people to know depression is a road they don't have to take alone even after he arrives in New York City on Aug. 18.

    "Now, we've got to drive this foundation and we've got to make sure this message doesn't get put away in the closet because we're done bike riding," Meier said.

    (KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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