Now I’m going the distance

Now I’m going the distance

When I was younger, before my mental health got really bad, I loved sport. I’d always swim and did any sport I could at school.

I was diagnosed with cyclothymia (a mild type of bipolar disorder) and borderline personality disorder. Because of this, I have intense mood swings and I also struggle with paranoia and severe anxiety, particularly social anxiety.

A side effect of the medication I was taking was weight gain – I put on six stone, and I was hospitalised many times over 18 months. All of this presented me with huge barriers to getting into sport.

Last year – after years of losing myself to my illness – I decided I was going to take things into my own hands. I started training in February and in July I took part in my first triathlon. Then I did another in September.

It took a lot of effort to be able to overcome the thoughts that people were going to do something bad to me, or laugh at me, or even treat me like I shouldn’t be at the gym or pool. But despite the panic attacks I pushed through.

I’m now a member of Manchester Triathlon Club, who are excellent with helping me with the way my mind works. The coaches are fantastic at dealing with the emotional roller coaster I present! I’d recommend them to anyone in the area wanting to get into triathlon!

I train five times a week at least and now and I have better control of my life than ever. I’ve improved my social skills, made friends. I’ve lost 4 stone in a year. I like myself now and I want to be alive. Even if I’m in a horrific mood I can get into the pool for a training session and by the end I feel 10 times better.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you really want to do something, you can always find a way to do it. It might be difficult and might seem impossible, especially at first, but you can do it.

Zoe is running the Great Manchester 10k for Mind in May. Help her meet her target.

How triathlon can help:

  • Training for three activities will keep you fit
  • You could do it on your own or join a triathlon club
  • It’s great for making friends