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"You Are Not Alone. ILY Kelly."

Mixed Media, 48x48"

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Kelly's Message:

So, I have been hesitant to post about this topic for a

while. Today I am choosing to be brave and to be myself. I have

been battling an eating disorder, anxiety and depression for a few

ears now. This past March I decided to check myself into

residential treatment at McCallum Place in St. Louis. They have a

specialized program for elite athletes seeking treatment called the

Victory program. This post is a victory for me. Had I seen a story

like this during my swimming career, I truly believe I would have

been able to seek help for my eating disorder much sooner. Mental

health and mental illness are no joke- they are life threatening.

For many this comes as a shock. I've always been known as a fun,

happy, and outgoing person. However, there was something going

on behind closed doors that few people knew about. I started by

telling my doctor, and then I slowly began to feel comfortable

sharing this part of me with others. Telling people about my eating

disorder was one of the most liberating things I have ever done in

my life.


To anyone who thinks that you have to be happy all the time, you

don't. To anyone who thinks they need to be tough all the time,

you don't. Athletes. Are. Humans. Too.


A BlIlIG thank you goes out to my family, friends, teammates,

coaches and doctors. They provided me with their unconditional

love, support and patience. I've realized now more than ever how

grateful I am for the people in my life.


Accepting your reality is tough. A lot of times, doing so requires

support. Asking for help is hard, but it is one of the bravest things

you can do. Asking for help is OKAY.


With all of this being said, I have decided to put my health and

recovery first. With a heavy heart, I am officially announcing my

retirement from swimming. Swimming has provided me with more

than I ever could have imagined. To everyone who swimming

brought me to know, thank you. This was a fun ride!


Moving forward I am going to continue on my recovery journey and

focus my energy into spreading awareness of mental health among

student-athletes. If you ever need someone, message me, text me, whatever you need. Life is tough, but you are not alone.

_______________________________________________________________

Art is meant to be shared. It is meant to be a gift. It is meant to comfort, to relate to, and bring to bring awareness. I hope this helps your message shine Kelly <3

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