LEANNE McKillop's weight dropped to four and a half stones - and she still refused to eat.

Her kidneys were those of a 98-year-old woman but she still refused a drop of water.

When she was 14 she began experiencing mental health issues when her body started developing.

She took an overdose and began seeing a child psychologist.

She felt like she was being compared to her two older sisters and brother at school - and it led to her "rebelling".

Leanne said she hated school because she felt like an "outcast."

It was only when the 31-year-old realised the toll her mental illness had taken on her family, that she began her road to recovery.

However, Leanne said the stigma she faced during the most difficult years left her worse off - and is now determined to help others facing a similar situation.

Leanne, who has lived with mental health issues for 17 years, spoke out as part of See Me's new campaign urging people to take action to end discrimination.

The West College Scotland student, who lost two friends to anorexia, said the worst stigma she faced was in a psychiatric ward when she was 26.

She said: "The nurses kept trying to feed me chocolate. I wouldn't eat. They didn't understand my illness. There was no help for me there.

"I got discharged and I then got frightened to drink water. I wouldn't drink or eat anything and I lost a stone and a half in two weeks.

"Then my kidneys packed in. Doctors said I had the kidneys of a 98-year-old."

That was Leanne's last stay in hospital. Since then she has built up to a healthy weight of eight stone and is studying for a HNC in health, fitness and exercise.

But it was when Leanne was at school that she said she hated it because she felt like an "outcast".

"You knew people were talking about you," she said.

After leaving she worked at a fast food chain and developed bulimia.

When Leanne was 17 she moved to Tenerife to work in bars. She drank alcohol to block out the voices in her head.

When she returned after suffering a fit thought to be brought on by an allergic reaction, Leanne became obsessed with working out at the gym

She said: "I was on a mission to lose weight and it was a downward spiral.

"I got banned from the gym in Greenock because I was going three times a day."

When she was 19 and weighing just under seven stone, she was admitted to rehabilitation centre, the Priory.

However, she said the bosses at the call centre where she worked made her feel like nothing was wrong.

She said: "They said: 'Can you not just stay working 12 hour shifts and drink Lucozade? The boss also said to me: 'Can you not buy a pair of trousers that fit you?'

"And that was stigma to me. You wouldn't say that to someone who had cancer.

"In my head it just played with me - they thought it was a wee fleeting comment but they don't understand what it does to you."

After she came out of the Priory, Leanne was still caught in the cycle of moving away for work and returning.

She said: "I thought I could run away from my problems and that they'd disappear."

Leanne continued to be admitted to and discharged from hospitals.

When she was put into a psychiatric ward six years ago her health deteriorated and she dropped to her lowest weight.

She says her sister was about to be engaged and the family had to rush to Leanne's bedside instead of celebrating.

Leanne said: "I gave up on life.

"My sister was meant to get engaged but they had to come and get me and I ended up in hospital - that was a kick up the bum.

"I knew then I was ruining other peoples' lives. I went to see my consultant that Monday and he was lost for words.

"If he was about to give up hope, I knew it was bad."

Leanne, who is from Greenock, said the sight of her dad in tears also "broke her heart."

After spending time in the Priory, she moved to her own flat where she still lives with her two cats, Amber and Tallulah.

Despite heartache after losing her best friend, who died of a heart attack brought on by anorexia, last year, as well as another friend six years ago, Leanne is focused on the future.

She says it took her years to accept that she had an eating disorder and the stigma of mental health needs to end to help others recover.

She said: "At the height of my illness I never believed I would get better. And that's a horrible thing to feel. The stigma from other people just makes it worse.

"I was afraid to leave the house. People think it's best to be secretive about mental health but we all need to know more about it and speak up.

"I don't want anyone else to lose their life."