Testing Your Limits in Mental Illness Recovery

July 11, 2018 Megan Rahm

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I am constantly testing my limits in mental illness recovery. I’ve always been an ambitious person – before as well as after receiving my diagnosis. I’m usually walking a fine line between barely holding it together and being symptomatic. I tolerate the occasional hallucinations just to continue with my busy life. I don’t want to give up anything. You only get one life and that’s it, so I plan to live it to the fullest and keep testing my limits – mental illness or not. 

Testing My Limits Before My Mental Illness Diagnosis

I began testing my limits early. As a child, I thought I would be a successful musician one day so I was seriously driven – weekly private lessons, music camps, honor bands, music classes, and activities at school. After graduating high school, I received a couple of scholarships and majored in music in college. 

I showed early signs of mental illness in childhood, but in my late teens my symptoms escalated and brought me to my breaking point. I believe the stress I put on myself in music school accelerated my downfall. 

I took way too many credit hours and signed up for way too many ensembles and activities. Needless to say, I dropped out. Testing my limits sometimes causes burnout.

Two years later, I sought help and received my schizoaffective diagnosis. I may never be a successful musician but that merciless drive never left me.

Testing My Limits in Early Mental Illness Recovery

I was really testing my limits early in recovery because I didn’t want to be seen as disabled or fragile. I pushed forward.

A couple of years after first receiving treatment, I returned to college as well as worked a part-time job. I took on a lot and crossed that line again and again. I dropped out of college a total of four times but I kept going back and eventually graduated.

My Recent Struggle with Testing My Limits

After graduation, I started my own business, which definitely tested my limits. At the time I was also working a full-time job elsewhere. When I started my first e-commerce store, I had no idea how much my to-do list would snowball. There was so much to learn. 

I added motherhood to the mix a year later, something I absolutely can’t let myself fail at. There’s no dropping out of motherhood. Being a mother is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do but the reward is enormous. It’s truly a rollercoaster. 

When I started taking psychotropic medication, I experienced stability and clarity like I’ve never felt before. I guess what I’m trying to say is: a mental illness isn’t a death sentence. If I'd quit testing my limits, I'd never know what I'm truly capable of. If you have a dream or goal, go for it. I’ve failed a lot in my 35 years but the successes and life experience gained far make up for it.

APA Reference
Rahm, M. (2018, July 11). Testing Your Limits in Mental Illness Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Megan Rahm

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