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Visiting 3-Time Olympian & Mental Health Advocate Suzy Favor Hamilton: California Part I

Having read Suzy Favor Hamilton’s book Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness, I was not only intrigued with her bipolar disorder experience (and her “secret” escort job that soon followed), but also the eating disorder she discusses at the beginning of the book. With that in mind, I sent out a simple tweet asking for an interview.

One informative interview, an endorsement quote for Running in Silence, and another phone call later, I found myself scheduling a trip to stay with Suzy in Los Angeles.

“You absolutely have to visit!” she had urged me during our second phone conversation. And who would refuse a trip to Manhattan Beach?

The moment I walked into Suzy’s home on January 11, 2017, I realized how tall I am in comparison to Suzy. But packed in that small frame was a young heart full of life and energy. After showing me to my guest room, we immediately began talking, catching up (since our phone talks), and asking each other questions about our journeys through mental illness. It was interesting finding similarities in bipolar disorder with eating disorders (and how they sometimes overlap—see Wasted and Madness by Marya Hornbacher for examples). We of course touched on my experience with 30 Bananas a Day, and soon afterward decided that dinner that night would be hamburgers. : )

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Race Against the Stigma of Mental Illness: Interview with Suzy Favor Hamilton

Suzy Favor Hamilton–US Junior Record holder in the 1500m; three-time national junior champion in high school; winner of nine NCAA Titles, 32 Big-Ten Championships, and seven USA National titles; American Record holder and a three-time Olympian.

And back in 2012, outted as a high-end escort in Las Vegas.

As the Olympic “sweetheart” of track and field, many were shocked by the news of Suzy’s “second life.” Amid the chaos of the reveal, Suzy began therapy to understand the reasons for her behaviors–and in doing so discovered she suffered from bipolar disorder.

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