Written By: Rose Fong
Photography By: @KarloGomez
When Kelly was ten years old, she decided to stop eating. Being called “chubby” at school triggered a spiral into anorexia. In six months, she lost thirty or forty pounds, and no one really noticed.
As Kelly attempted to recover from her anorexia, she didn’t have the support she needed to overcome what would become a decade long battle with binge eating disorder. Eventually, she began to eat again, but in binges. Having restricted herself from food for so long, Kelly couldn’t naturally calculate what her body needed for nourishment.
“I was struggling with really hating myself, and I fell into depression,” Kelly recalls. Her anxieties about food became overwhelming. Along with the physical aspects of eating disorders, the guilt and shame and fear that comes with them weighed heavily on her mental health.
When she realized that there was a bigger problem than just her struggle with food, Kelly went to therapy with a specialist, someone who knows what the struggles are with body dysmorphia and eating disorders. “I realized it wasn’t my fault and that I deserved to get help.”
She found strength in vulnerability -- she started a Youtube video diary two years ago, reaching out to other lonely people who were struggling with recovery. “I think that the thing I love about myself is my courage to be vulnerable.”
In her video diaries, she presents her struggles with eating as a continual journey. “I started realizing that I want to share more about my journey as I’m doing it, to more transparent and vulnerable… my videos can help someone feel less alone get through it. [My videos] help people see what eating disorder recovery really looks like. I talk about how hard it is to get through it.”
“I really have told my followers, and basically the whole world on the internet about everything that I’ve ever struggled with, those things my old self wouldn’t have dared to even talk about, things that people are barely able to talk about within themselves.” Her social media network is an environment dedicated to openness without stigma. “I tell my followers, ‘You deserve a better life, and we gotta get out there and seek the help that we deserve.’”
“It’s really crucial that you just feel your feelings,” Kelly advises her Youtube followers, “Even the feelings we label as bad or negative… if you put so much effort into putting away those bad feelings, they just get bigger and bigger. If you let yourself be in those scary, bad moments, they tend to dissipate.”
“The way out is to not hate yourself for it. You deserve to give yourself credit and give yourself love, because beating yourself up won’t help it.” To remind herself about her own inner power, she tells herself, “I’m turning struggles into strength.”
To see more of Kelly and her journey please follow her @_Kellyu