Kassidy Johnson, Her Story, Her Passion

Kassidy Johnson is a 2017 graduate of Maize South, a 5X KSHSAA state champion and a Big 12 Champion...Oh, she also has an eating disorder, and this is her story... Kassidy has been kind enough to share this with us at Kansas Milesplit so that her story can be heard by others who think they are alone in this battle. "Its time to change her story", and that is what she is doing.

Hi, I'm Kassidy Johnson, I just shared 'my story' & it is definitely the most personal, vulnerable thing I will probably ever share online⁣⁣⁣ I feel called to share this in hopes that it will shed light on an important but taboo topic and hopefully help some people who may be struggling themselves⁣⁣⁣. To the 99% of people in my life who will find out about this for the first time from the blog post (sorry about that, it's easier this way)⁣⁣⁣
⁣& as always, my DMs are open for support ⁣⁣ (also - there isn't a look. i was struggling just as much here when i looked healthier as times when i didn't)

This is my story. & where my passion comes from

I grew up playing sports and loving food

I loved competing and being active and I ate literally anything and everything

somewhere along the way, being an athlete became my entire identity

this was especially true when it came to running track since I had some decent success in the sport early on which helped solidify this idea in my mind

at the end of my sophomore basketball season, however, I ended up getting injured

this meant that I was unable to run for the first half of the track season that year & upon return for the end of the season, I lost to competition that I had never lost to before

not only did I lose races ... I lost my identity

I was in a really vulnerable place and my whole life felt out of control

I came to believe that if I wanted to get back to where I was before I was sidelined, I needed to lose weight

it started out with okay intentions of eating more nutrient-dense foods & through research, I even developed a real passion for health and wellness

this did however very quickly spiral into fear
fear of calories
fear of food
fear of gaining weight
fear of losing control
fear of not doing enough
fear of being slow
fear of being unworthy
fear of living fear.

but I thought that in order to be good, this is just what I had to do - a sacrifice I had to make

I was in denial that anything was wrong

so I kept to myself

I then got to college and not too long after, I got a stress fracture

my hormones were out of whack and my bone density was decreasing

even then, I convinced myself that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was heavily restricting my intake

I think deep down I knew it wasn't okay because I did everything in my power to hide it from everyone around me since 1. I carried a lot of shame & 2. I couldn't fathom the thought of negatively influencing others and them feeling the same pain as me

nonetheless, I recovered from the bone injury, came back to running and had a good track season the following year

at this point, it had been 4.5 years
4.5 years of mental torture
4.5 years of thinking about food every second of every day
4.5 years of destroying myself from the inside out

I was finally starting to realize just how miserable I was

I was surviving, sure, but I definitely wasn't living

but it was just what I had to do, right?

I thought that restricting my intake would allow my life to flourish but then my entire life became restriction

I then got 2 more stress fractures and I finally had to ask myself,

"am I really doing the 'right thing' if it keeps me from even being able to run?"

not only was I jeopardizing my running career, but my mental and physical health were declining

so I finally accepted help

and it has been really really hard to overcome the thoughts that I have drilled into my brain over the last 5.5 years

overall, it is NOT about vanity
it is NOT about track & field
it IS about mental health

eating disorders and disordered eating are however common in the running world

this doesn't mean they're normal though

but the only way to change the culture is to change yourself

so that is what I am doing

& yes, this is my story, but it's time to rewrite it

I am not yet recovered and I still struggle a lot but my life is already so much better

& with that, I want to use my passion for sports and nutrition along with my experience with an eating disorder to help others reach their goals in a healthy manner and to truly live their best lives

if you resonate with any of this, know that you are not alone and feel free to reach out for support - my Instagram DMs @kassidyjeane are always open ultimately though, please seek professional help. you are worth more.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call theNational Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text "NEDA" to 741741.