Hi, my name's Madi O'Dell. I'd
been struggling with an eating disorder for about 5 years. And
I was diagnosed on December 7, 2009. And came to here to
Children's Hospital for treatment. I think my struggle
with an eating disorder kind of began in middle school–seventh
or eight grade. I was playing elite soccer six days a week,
training two hours a day, working really hard. And we had
a nutritionist come in and she emphasized eating healthy and
eating right for being an athlete. And so me, being kind
of perfectionistic, decided I had to be perfectly healthy when
eating and it kind of got out of hand at that point. I started
eliminating foods from my diet starting with sweets, and then
became more like chips and carbs and it just took them a little
too seriously and over-dramaticized what they were
saying and it kind of turned out bad. And so as I progressed
through middle school, I don't know, I just wasn't eating as
much as I should have.

And a teacher kind of caught onto
that, and so I knew I was caught. I was like, "Okay, this
isn't working if I want to continue this, I need to kind of
figure out another way to kind of handle it." And I went into
my freshman year of high school, and that's kind of when the
bulimic tendencies kind of took over. I had met this girl at
camp who was struggling and I kind of helped her through that,
but I think I also kind of picked up on some of her–what
she was doing. Not on purpose, but just kind of by accident.
And so that kind of started freshman year.

I just got way
too stressed and way too busy and really lost the balance in
my life. And so that bulimia and eating disorder kind of took
over. And it became something that I could control because the
rest of my life was spiraling out of control. And so it was
the only thing I could rely on that I was in control of. And so
that's when things started really getting bad. My mom
picked up on it sophomore year.

She caught me in the bathroom.
And that kind of started our journey that ended me up here.
They talked to the pediatrician and they referred me to a
therapist that was locally, and I worked with her for about
three months. I started working with a nutritionist too, to kind
of plan out my meals. But I wasn't getting anywhere. And
kind of was deceiving her and she picked up on that. And so
she recommended that I come to Children's and get an
evaluation. And I mean, I didn't at that point think I would ever
get hospitalized. I just thought it was getting some more
information on how they could help me or whatever. So I came
to my eval on December 7, 2009. And the Children's staff decided
to admit me right then, that afternoon. And I stayed on the
unit for a good five weeks–seven days in 24 hour
care, and then stepping down through the program for the next
four weeks. I mean, when I got out, I still had to come back to
Children's and work with my therapist and work with my
counselors and see my M.D., my doctor.

But as time progressed
away from my initial hospitalization, the time
decreased coming back to Children's and I grew stronger
in my own will and my own fight. And that's where I am today.
Just promoting youth advocacy and trying to get the word out
about eating disorders and how they really can devastate lives..



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