Mixed Media, 48x48"
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
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