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Mum who battled bipolar and marriage breakdown to run half marathon

Dr Ellie Mackin overcame her mental health problems to become a university lecturer - and is now running a half marathon

Ellie hopes to raise money for the charity Mind(Image: UGC)

A mum who battled bipolar, eating disorders, and a marriage breakdown, has spoken out about mental health after achieving her dream of becoming a university lecturer.

Dr Ellie Mackin, 34, from South Ealing, opened up about her experiences in a bid to raise awareness about the disorder ahead of running a half marathon for her favourite charity.

 

 

She was officially diagnosed with type 1 bipolar in 2012, but it was a long road to finally get the right treatment.

Ellie said: "During my teenage years, I struggled with eating disorders and had been diagnosed with depression.

"It can take a very long time to be correctly diagnosed with bipolar, and many people with bipolar are originally diagnosed with depression.

"Towards the end of my PhD I had a prolonged, severe manic episode that led to a lot of risky behaviour and ultimately led to the breakdown of my marriage.

"That whole time was really difficult and one night I ended up at our local Samaritans admitting that I couldn’t really see a way out of how I was feeling."

Dr Ellie Mackin spoke out about her experiences of mental health(Image: UGC)

 

She was given an an emergency appointment and although she saw a psychiatrist quickly, she initially felt powerless but has gradually learnt how to cope with it.

Ellie said: "I now think of my bipolar as a chronic, invisible illness and, therefore, a disability.

"Seeing it like that has made me treat this as an illness just like any physical illness, and in turn that’s actually reduced my ‘shame’ and the self-internalised stigma that I felt about having been diagnosed with bipolar.

"I think that has made it much easier for my friends in particular – knowing that I wasn’t ashamed of my diagnosis made it easier for them to ask questions and sort out their own ways of supporting me.

"Some of my friends have confided their own mental illnesses with me, and others have become open about theirs."

Ellie is now a lecturer at the University of Leicester(Image: UGC)

 

Ellie’s disorder has not slowed down her career, becoming a successful lecturer of Ancient History at the University of Leicester, but she still worries the disorder will have an impact on her students.

She said: "They need me to turn up to class on time, prepared, give them the information and time they need and deserve.

"Most students, at some point, with have mental health problems, and at most universities counselling services are already overstretched.

"Organisations like Mind can help provide information and resources to students who might be struggling and don’t really know where to turn."

The charity 'Mind' has helped Ellie and her students(Image: UGC)

 

Ellie feels "very lucky" to live in Ealing where there were great mental health services but calls the NHS mental health service a "total postcode lottery".

Running gives me time to 'be'

The History tutor, who will be running in the Royal Park’s Half Marathon fundraising for Mind, said: "Running gives me time to be.

"Without exception, I always feel better in some way after I’ve been for a run, so that’s enough to get me out the door most days.

"I’ll be more than happy to finish and have fun, as corny as that sounds."

The Royal Parks Half Marathon takes place on October 8 2017.

To find a charity place for the Half Marathon please visit their website.

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