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If pushing myself means that others don't lose their childhoods to mental illness then it's worth it

Blogger Megan Haste believes mental illness pushed her to her psychological limits – now she’s testing herself physically so other children don’t struggle like she did. 

At the age of 13 I'd started attempting to take my own life.

I now realise my illness must have started much earlier for things to get as bad as they did. I have vague memories of struggling to breathe on the bus when I was going to school. Most likely this signaled the start of my anxiety which would go on to cause me to drop out of school altogether.

It wasn't until I was 14 that I sought help by speaking to the Head of Pastoral Care at my school. Thankfully, I already had a good rapport with her as she was my art teacher, so although it was still incredibly difficult to speak out, she was very understanding. Eventually, this lead me to seeing the school counsellor, which was unfortunately not very helpful. Cue years of going through NHS mental health services, a month-long hospital stay at the age of 16, and finally me making the decision to discharge myself at the age of 17. 

To this day, I still struggle with anxiety and depression. I'm lucky to now have access to an incredible therapist who's helped me achieve some major breakthroughs in terms of shutting down my negative internal narrative. Most recently I've had to deal with ongoing trauma as a result of an assault I experienced at the age of 18, but all-in-all my mental illness has pushed me to work that bit harder when it comes to campaigning on the subject of mental health.

To me, mental health research will prevent future generations from going through that period of thinking “What's wrong with me?” that I experienced, as well as helping to ensure that we provide people with effective treatment early on so that the illness doesn't have years in which to really take hold of the person.

That’s why I’m doing my own Dare to Swear challenge – Dye another Day – the Edinburgh Colour Vibe 5K run. For me, Dye another Day means stretching my body to its limits.

So far I've been hitting the treadmill pretty hard. As someone who's hard-pushed to walk 5k, let alone run it, getting ready for September is proving a challenge. But challenging yourself and meeting your targets is half the fun, right? I’m looking forward to getting colourful!

My mental illness has pushed me to my psychological limits, and if pushing myself physically means that others don't lose their childhoods to something as cruel as mental illness, then it's worth it.

Read more from Megan on her blog.

Last updated: 26 July 2017

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