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Visiting Suzy Favor Hamilton: California Part II

Half the time in California was spent with Suzy, including a gorgeous bike ride along the coast to Venice beach, and two hot yoga classes (“This is my community!” Suzy said). The other half of my time was spent walking by myself along the beach, looking in shops, and reading and writing outside.

I used to have so much chatter, introspection, confusing thoughts, and deep thinking about the eating disorder going on in my mind during my alone time. Now, there’s not much left to think about in terms of my recovery. I’m just content.

Yes, there are still difficult days (especially with travel, even). I don’t have easy access to all my “safe” food, and I’m faced with food I haven’t eaten in a long time. There might always be that challenge. But I continued to remind myself that even if I did gain a few pounds from a trip what did it matter? My clothes may be a little tighter, but they would still fit. No one would think differently of me. I know how to trust my body, and having it fluctuate slightly is healthy and normal. I could partake in all the experiences in California without spending so much time and energy focusing on the food I was consuming.

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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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Upcoming Book Release

My life has been non-stop busy, what with coaching cross country (finishing off a good season with our ladies!), adapting to a new work routine at the YMCA (it’s great to work for a place that not only focuses on fitness of the body but also the mind and spirit–the epitome of how I strive to live now), while also getting the marketing and promotion of this book going, has made life a whirlwind. I can easily say that sleeping in until 1 p.m. this morning (whoops, afternoon!?) marked a new personal record for me, and is just one example that demonstrates the exhaustion I’ve felt in keeping up with everything at the moment.

I recently ordered my first round of books for my upcoming Book Release Party event on November 15, as well as for a book reading at Aquinas College the next day!

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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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