We have a special guest blog today from a current member who hasn't been around for a little while. You may not know her, and even if you do you probably don't know her story. She decided to share her story with this community because of what you all mean to her. This group is her support system and will help her when she returns. Please remember that this is very personal information that she has decided to share publicly for the first time, because this is part of her healing process. Thank you for being here for each other and providing a safe place for things like this.
Now, here is Kady's story:
As I sit here at a coffee shop in Southern California, I’m taking some time to reflect on the past year that has led me to where I’m at today. You may be wondering where I disappeared to at the end of February, when I went from being at the box 5 days a week to suddenly 0 days a week. I had to make the tough decision to leave my family and life at home to come out to a residential eating disorder treatment in California on February 28th to attempt to save my life and I have been out here ever since.
You see, I have battled an eating disorder on and off since I was in middle school, with the most devastating year being this past year. Many people never knew that I was struggling with one because I didn’t “look” like someone who would have an eating disorder, including members of my own family. I have used it to numb out throughout the years and it has become a survival tool for me the past few years. People with eating disorders develop one as a coping mechanism to deal with things going on in their life. No one just wakes up one day and decides that they want to have an eating disorder. There’s a lot more going on under the surface that needs to be addressed. It’s a pretty damn effective tool to use to numb out any and all emotions. It serves a purpose in your life for some time until you reach the point where your life becomes unmanageable with it. That point came for me last summer, along with lots of anxiety and depression. I reached the point where I was having so many obsessive and ruminating thoughts about my weight, body image, exercise, food, calorie counting, etc. that I could barely do what I needed to do to get through the day. I thought I could focus on controlling my body during a time when the rest of my life felt completely out of control. That was the one thing that was mine and only mine. I was never actually in control of my eating disorder though, it was running the show the entire time, and it was leading me down a path to death if I didn’t step in and try to beat it.
I didn’t realize how bad it was getting until Theresa brought up in one of my appointments with her that she noticed that I had been losing weight. After having my second child, Connor, I hung onto some of the weight that I had gained during the pregnancy for a little while. On February 8, 2017, I got violently ill with a stomach bug. I felt like crap for about 10 days and I struggled to keep much of anything down for those 10 days. It was at this point that I was thrown into a full-blown relapse. I had lost the remaining pounds I was still carrying from the pregnancy rather quickly and then some on top of that. I was rationalizing it in my own mind, telling myself that this was fine because I wanted to lose the rest of my baby weight anyways, but I was not going about it in the appropriate way. I realized that was the case when many people commented on the recent and sudden weight loss. I told people who would comment that I had started eating healthier and that I had been going to the gym more, which was partly true, but restricting and over-exercising played a big role as well.
My endurance and strength in the gym was diminishing, considering I wasn’t fueling my body for the level of activity I was participating in. Theresa encouraged me to talk to Cori about what was going on, so that way she would be aware of it and I could talk to her about the workout for the day if I thought that it was going to be too much for my body. I was hesitant at first because I had only been a member of CrossFit 616 for a few months at this point, but eventually I came to the conclusion that it was a good idea. I messaged her to see if I could talk to her about something and of course she said absolutely:) Originally we were going to talk after the 4pm class because I wanted to do the class, but then I realized after doing the warm-up that my body was not going to be able to complete the workout that day. I don’t remember exactly what is was, but I do remember that it included lots of rowing and 100 burpees. So before the WOD started, I went outside with Cori and Tink to talk about it. It was hard for me to talk about it with someone who I didn’t know very well at the time, but Cori was extremely caring and supportive and I felt at ease while telling her what was going on. She assured me that she would be there for me and help me through the rough spot that I was in. Over the next few weeks, I opened up to both Theresa and Cori more about the specifics going on in my life.
Even though I had let some people in on my struggle, I was still in a bad spot with what seemed like no end in sight. All I knew is that I could not live like this for much longer. I had never been so miserable in my life, but my eating disorder had so much power over me at the time that I couldn’t do anything to pull myself out of it. One Monday at work, I was sitting there and decided that I couldn’t go on like this any longer. I was not able to be present with my own husband and kids. I wasn’t able to focus at work. I was isolating all of the time that I wasn’t at work or at the box. So I texted Cori and came to the gym to talk to her. Before this time that I met up with Cori, Theresa had emailed me with some treatment options available in the area. With Cori and Theresa’s help, I picked one to give it a shot and Cori took me in for an assessment that very same afternoon.
Between July and January, I did two inpatient stays and many weeks in a partial hospitalization program. The inpatient stays were necessary to break some of the physical behaviors I was engaging in and the partial hospitalization program was meant to provide me with with education on healthy coping strategies and the opportunity to work with professionals skilled in eating disorders. In between these two stays, I was seeing my outpatient therapist and dietician weekly. Even though I was taking action to work on my eating disorder, I still hadn’t found what I needed to be able to really kick it to the curb. These tactics would quiet it down for awhile, but then it would eventually creep its way back into my life. Working full time, being a mother of a 2 year-old and a 4 year-old did, and working opposite shifts of my husband did not give me the time I needed to focus on and work on myself. I thought that my number one job as a mother was to take care of my kids first and foremost, but what I didn’t realize in the midst of my disorder was that I needed to take care of myself before I could take good care of anyone else. I wasn’t even present most of the time I was with them. I was too exhausted to do fun things with them, or really even just play with them in the evenings. It was all I could do to get dinner made for them and then get through bath time and bedtime with both of them. But you better believe that I had the energy to make it the gym and to do more working out at home after the kids went to bed. My disorder had me tricked into thinking that exercise took priority over lots of other things I cared about in life. I was not living in alignment with my own values. I was living in alignment with my eating disorder’s values, and that is a terrible way to live. After trying the local options available with not much success, my husband and I decided that going to a residential treatment facility would give me the best shot at life.
I am letting you all in on my story because you are family to me. The CrossFit 616 community has been one of the best things I could have ever asked for. Also, I will need your help and support when I return home (not sure when exactly that will be yet). In treatment, I have been working on repairing my relationship with movement and exercise. I need to get back to a place where I am doing it because I enjoy doing it and not because my eating disorder is using it to compensate for the calories I consumed that day or to punish me in some way, which it often tries to do. You are all part of my journey and I look forward to seeing you when I return. Cori, Tom, and Brian have all been supportive on my journey and I know they will continue to be when I get back. When they say that you can talk to them about anything, they really do mean it! They care about their athletes immensely and that support and love is spread throughout the community as a whole. This is my first time “publicly” talking about my eating disorder, so I ask that you please be respectful with the information you’ve just read. Also, if you have any questions at all please feel free to ask me about it. Talking about it takes the secrecy away. Shame has a hard time surviving when it is exposed, so talking about it helps to keep me accountable.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” - Brene Brown
Workout for Friday, June 29
Muscle Up Progressions and Practice
21-15-9 for time
Squat Cleans (135/95)
1 Mile Cool Down Run