When someone is in the throws of depression, they often want nothing more than to put 3,000 miles between themself and the feeling of despair.
For a man who passed through Richfield last week, he is literally doing just that.
Lucky Tatlah is on his third attempt to ride from his home in San Francisco, California, to the east coast — this time with the target of New York City in his sights.
Each turn of the crank helps, and as the miles mount up, Tatlah said he can feel his spirits lift.
“I get to a point where I’m rock bottom both physically and mentally,” Tatlah said. He said the day he started his current trek, he didn’t make it out of the house until after 6 p.m.
“I hopped on the bike and almost immediately started to feel better,” Tatlah said.
He’s made the trip both times before, raising thousands of dollars for charity. This time he is riding for Revive Humanity, a charitable organization that builds libraries and schools in third world countries.
He made the first ride in 2012, raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention — a cause close to his heart.
Diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, Tatlah said he has been suicidal many times in his life.
When he was 18, he was suicidal.
“Everything was fine, there was no reason to be depressed,” Tatlah said. He said he had a loving, supportive family, a comfortable life and lots to live for.
However, it didn’t stop him from attempting to end his life with pills. The attempt landed him in a psychiatric hospital.
“It was good for me,” Tatlah. He said through the years he’s tried all kinds of therapy and medications.
“It depends on the person,” Tatlah said. “They can really help a lot of people.”
However, for Tatlah, sometimes the medications come up short and the shadow of despair comes back, swallowing him up.
That’s when he knows it’s time to ride.
The fresh air, the exercise, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a charity bike ride prove to be the most effective way to combat the depression and keep it at bay.
Tatlah said he wants to show people that there is hope, even if it appears to be eclipsed by hopelessness.
“Things will change, your feelings will change,” Tatlah said. “You just need to reach out and ask for help.”
Sometimes asking for help can be the hardest part of all, Tatlah said.
“I was ashamed, I thought I was a wimp,” Tatlah said. “It affects your whole life.”
The struggles with depression have affected Tatlah’s family life, and his relationships with others.
So he rides, cranking out mile after mile, raising money to help others. Each day, he’s able to add more and more miles.
“I’d like to get a 200-mile day in before the end,” Tatlah said.
A few miles outside of Richfield, Tatlah’s bike broke — requiring a stop off at a local bike shop for repairs.
“Lucky has traveled with us to Peru, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Belize and Honduras,” said Ryan Ogden, founder of Revive Humanity. He said Tatlah has helped in the construction of various revive projects, but that his current bike ride might be a key to funding another.
“We want to build a school or library,” Ogden said. “That’s a pretty big goal.”
People can follow Tatlah’s progress on Instagram at Lucky83. Donations can be made online at revivehumanity.org/donate.