Nine months ago, my psychologist recommended I go on antidepressants. I was numb. Detached. Passively watching the world fade in and out of focus. I lived in the spaces between panic attacks, and my disordered behaviors around food and training intensified. I was claustrophobic, trapped inside a version of myself I no longer recognized. Since that appointment, I’ve made some major life changes. I quit my job and co-founded a nonprofit. I admitted to myself, and the world, that I have an eating disorder. I prioritized my health and wellbeing above my professional endeavors. I stopped asking for permission. I allowed myself to dream again. I also booked a month-long trip to Colorado.
I finished up the appointment and walked into that stagnant waiting room elated. I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride for my body, for its health and resilience. Its strength and curves. Being a woman no longer seems like a burden, and being an active woman no longer seems so well-defined. I am an active woman. At any weight.
My first-ever run was on a hot summer afternoon at sixth grade cross-country practice. I hated it. Every afternoon I purposely ran on roots, sticks, and uneven ground hoping I would trip, fall, break an ankle, and never have to run again. I quit the team within two weeks. Three months later, I was watching […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 7: Welcome to the Ninth Lane I wanted gloves. It was a cold Saturday morning when we came together, and my fingers were pressed tightly within my thin sleeves. Jacket gloves, some would say. We were meeting by a nearby trail, a good friend of mine and a new friend. She was […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 6: Silencing the Internal Critic When I originally embarked on sharing my story, I thought I was in a place where I could separate myself from who I used to be – detach my present identity from this battle that consumed the greater part of my adolescence. I envisioned a polished essay […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 5: Asking for Help It was 9 p.m. on a Wednesday somewhere in the middle of Kansas. I scrolled through the pale pink web page, eyes squinting in my phone’s harsh light. I was partway through a cross-country drive, eventually landing in San Diego, Calif. for a summer internship. I was also […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 4: Defining an Eating Disorder The room smelled familiar – like antiseptic soap and one too many sprays of Febreeze. I shifted on the table, wincing as the paper scratched against the cheap leather. I had just finished another round of the Gardasil vaccine and inquired about remedies for dry skin – my […]
NEDA Week Day 3: A (complicated) relationship with running I started running when I was 12. The sport taught me resilience and the merits of grit and determination. During a time of social angst and growing academic stress, running was my sanctuary. It freed me from my anxiety and fears – every mile a reprieve […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 2: The Burden of Perfection I have always been prone to anxiety. I remember sitting in pre-algebra, my right arm warm from the dusty projector crammed between my desk and a peer’s. The week’s fraction quiz glared at me with a large red C circled in the top right corner. A brick […]
NEDAwareness Week Day 1: Coping with Anxiety For me, disordered eating and anxiety are intertwined. They feed off of each other until I am hollow. It’s a parasitic emptiness, one that consumes your every thought and action until you are emotionally void. The cycle is cruel – anxiety begets restriction and shame; restriction and shame beget anxiety. […]
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. And this year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” Talking about mental illness is hard. The stigma, the shame, the embarrassment. it leaves little room for recovery and community, little space to grow and heal. But it is time to talk about it. It is time to […]
No Service read across the top of my phone screen. I looked up to see speckles of sunlight peer through the leaves. A chorus of cicadas echoed, and a subtle, unassuming creek flowed in the background. The soft, humid air enveloped me, and each breath was matched with sweet, fresh relief. The stillness was […]
There’s this tree on Roosevelt Island. Or at least there was. Toppled onto its side, roots and limbs exposed, trunk decaying – uprooted. I ran by this tree nearly every day during my first month here. Sometimes I wouldn’t notice it, other times I would stop and stare. At one point I stopped and […]
It’s okay to be afraid leaving the only home I’ve ever known. It’s okay to be apprehensive in new situations and challenges. It’s okay to be lonely. I have given myself permission to feel sadness, to stop resisting the uncertainty and fear, and in this grief, I have made space. Space to grow and learn. Space to fill with new experiences, opportunities, and relationships. By acknowledging and accepting the grief, anxiety, and loss over who I was, I can finally embrace who I am becoming.
The gown engulfed me. It was nicer than our gowns in high school – more legitimate and regal. Just as I felt. I stood to address the small crowd – we were each told to say a few words of gratitude, perhaps share a memory or two. I felt put together and at ease standing […]
I just completed my training as a moderator in democratic deliberation in anticipation of a forum with Indiana University’s Political and Civic Engagement Program (PACE). The forum is part of an annual campus-wide deliberation on various – and often controversial – topics. This year the topic is abortion and reproductive rights. Insert bioethics everywhere. The topic of reproductive rights, particularly […]
Friends and acquaintances alike have reached out over various mediums (email, Facebook, warm mugs of tea, emojis…) to tell me how much they can relate to my experience expressed in my latest post, “Enough.” The post was mainly my way of sharing my thoughts on my personal journey through self-awareness and seeking to better understand my own […]
I have been feeling very overwhelmed and unsettled lately. Nothing in particular has uprooted me. Very little academic stress, no recent major life transitions – but something is digging at my roots. It feels as though I’m in the process of shedding a skin I no longer need, but certain pieces keep snagging on what’s […]
As promised, Part II of my journey as an athlete and woman begins with my first-ever run. This fateful run was on a hot summer afternoon at sixth grade cross-country practice. I hated it. Every afternoon I purposely ran on the roots, sticks and uneven ground hoping I would trip, fall, break an ankle and […]
I lost my goggles, and my racing flats are collecting dust. I haven’t updated my training log since July. I’ve started riding more miles on my road bike than my car. I only run on trails, without a watch, without mile splits, and without expectations. I’ve become my own coach, and my first order of business is to relax.