More: What was your definition of having an eating disorder?
DB: It was anorexia, bulimia, bad habits that make you sick, and also weight issues. It was an emotional and mental disorder.
More: So you lost control?
DB: You don’t have control when you are on drugs. When you have an eating disorder, you are in control of what you will and won’t put in your body.
More: What caused you to have an eating disorder?
DB: I was going through a period in my life when everything was out of control. I felt the eating disorder gave me control and really challenged me to not eat during the day. It’s like you get this sense of empowerment from not eating. When you realize you won one battle, you go on to the next, and then everything spirals out of control. This is an ugly disease, and many people have a hard time breaking free from it.
More: Did you have a hard time breaking free?
DB: At one point I did not care if I lived or died. I remember a visit with my parents where they were so broken-hearted, seeing what I was doing to myself.
More: What motivated you to get healthy?
DB: My family. They are my best support system. It took a long time for me to care about myself, but when I thought about how my parents would have to live with the fact I was not here anymore, that became my motivator to seek help.
More: How did you not fall back into your old habits of avoiding food while you were training for the Olympics and following a strict diet plan?
DB: As I was healing I built an extremely healthy relationship with food again. You have to teach yourself nothing is off-limits—that way, you learn how to control your portions and not binge. Now I want the best foods that have the nutrients that will give me what I need to perform well.
More: So winning this medal takes on a much deeper meaning?
DB: Probably. Anyone who has overcome something big would say yes.
More: Having overcome so much, what was going through your head when you learned you had won an Olympic medal?
DB: It was elation, and feeling this incredible sense of joy. It was so surreal because I had spent so much time envisioning it. I could not believe the outcome was what it was.
More: Don’t you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Way to go, Dotsie!”?
DB: That would be very dangerous. If you get to that space with your ego, that to me would signal I am no longer the friend I want to be to my universe.