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Miles For Mind - What does mental illness look like? By Katy Coffman

Miles For Mind - What does mental illness look like? By Katy Coffman

What does mental illness look like?  For me, it is 11 years drug free and still working to keep a handle on my Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  I am a Mom, Wife, employee and runner.


About a year ago, I was looking for something that I could do for me.  A lot of my anxiety stems from being able to control the world around me.  I have a pretty busy and amazing life; I work full time and have a supportive husband and two beautiful children.  I needed something that was all my own, something that I could take charge of. 

A friend of mine suggested running, and I thought she was crazy.  I mean, me a runner, no way.  I have two bad knees and there was no way that I would be “fast enough”.  She convinced me and I am so happy for that.

Running started out VERY slow, I had no idea what I was doing.  I then got the crazy idea to do a half marathon, because I truly believe in big goals.  I think they push you to be better, plus then I could have a schedule with a workout plan.  I quickly learned that while I control what I put into running, there are a lot of unknowns.

Each run seems to have a feel of its own.  I love the time on a run, I can get focused and work through my day.  Some days I head out with my smallest sidekick and get in some stroller miles. A long run can push my body and mind; it would be easy to give up or shorten the run.  Instead, I push through and have this great sense of accomplishment.  This helps me move past my anxiety and embrace myself.



I realized after my first half marathon, I was hooked.  I loved the feeling of accomplishment and realizing how strong my body and mind are.  Sometimes when you struggle with addiction or mental illness, you see yourself as weak. Running helps remind me that I overcome, I push and I become better. Running reminds me that I am strong and powerful, and that I am more than my mental illness or even my recovery.

Thank you Katy for sharing your story about how you feel running helps your mental health. We hope it'll inspire others to lace up in support of better mental health. For expert advice on mental health then please head to the wonderful charity Mind:

They won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.

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