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Talk.


“How’s it going with your eating?”

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I’ll never forget that moment. I was sixteen and sitting shotgun as my dance coach, Dana, drove me home.

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My mind raced and I froze. My secret was exposed. She knew.

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I honestly don’t remember how I responded. But I must have come clean, because I remember what Dana did next.

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She walked with me. She took the hand of a sick and broken teenage girl, and she walked with me through my mess. And we talked. She gave me a safe place to open up, for the first time, about the darkest secret I’d ever kept.

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A few weeks later, Dana sat with me and coached me through the most dreaded conversation of my life—telling mom and dad the truth about my eating disorder.

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Had it not been for Dana, I might never have talked to anyone about it. Had it not been for Dana, I might have kept my secret until it killed me.

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But talking about it saved my life.

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Not right then and there. Not without many more years of struggle, hard work, and plenty of prayer. But eventually.

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Talking was the first step. And in that sense, talking was the most important step. Because if I hadn’t talked about it, I would have continued to live with it until I had died from it.

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If there is anything I have learned from my story over the years, it is that talking changes everything.

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So today, if you are suffering in silence, my appeal to you is this:

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Talk.

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Talk, because talking chases away the secrets. Talk, because talking shows you that the secrets weren’t enough to condemn you after all. Talk, because talking illuminates the darkness.

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And if you are not among the 1 in 5 who struggle with mental illness, my appeal to you is the same:

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Talk.

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Talk, because sometimes we don’t have the courage to speak up on our own. Talk, because sometimes we need a Dana to start the conversation by asking a simple question. Talk, because there is somebody in your life today who needs to know that someone sees them.

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No matter who you are, or what you’re going through—

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Talk.

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Who do you need to talk to today?

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