Bianca Belair Opens Up About Dealing With Depression & Bulimia
Photo Credit: WWE
Bianca Belair was the latest guest on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia this week and the NXT star reflected on her experience in The Royal Rumble this year, the importance of Black History Month to her and several other topics. One of the big matters Belair was candid about was her struggle with bulimia in college which eventually turned into depression as well. It all started with running track in school:
“In high school I struggled with weight a lot. Yeah so running track I was hurdler I was a sprinter, I was always considered one of the bigger girls and they always used to tell me, ‘You know, you will run faster if you lose weight, you lose weight.’ I think I weighed a 150 pounds in eighth grade.”
Belair states that she was around the same height that she is now (about 5’6″) and they wanted her down to about 130 pounds for a sprinter.
“So I went on a diet, I did lose weight, but I got to a plateau. I couldn’t lose anymore weight. So I started throwing my food up, so I became bulimic. I became bulimic and I lost weight and I actually ran faster which is crazy, but I ended up getting hurt because I didn’t have the right nutrients and I wasn’t keeping the vitamins down, the nutrients. I’m getting hurt, but I already gotten my scholarship to South Carolina.”
Not sure who still thinks she's the underdog after yesterday's match 👀
— Lilian Garcia (@LilianGarcia) February 13, 2020
Belair considered this a clean slate for herself in her freshman year of college and wanted to cut out the bulimia all together, but found herself in a difficult position.
“I ended up having like this obsession with food where I was binge-eating at night. I wasn’t eating in front of people but I would go and binge-eat at night and I was gaining all this weight. Then I had the coaches telling me, ‘What happened to the Bianca from high school? We need the same Bianca from high school.’ So instead of seeking help and figuring out a healthy way to get back there, I went back to throwing my food up again.”
This cycle eventually lead to depression for Belair and because of not knowing where to direct such emotions, ended up not being honest with herself.
“Mentally I wasn’t there. I got depressed and I ended up being prescribed medication and things just didn’t work out there. At that time I felt like I was young and it’s the first time being on my own and I was blaming everyone else. ‘It’s the coaches’ fault, it’s the program’s fault,'” Bianca recounts. “I wasn’t being honest with myself and so I wasn’t even able to get help or seek help cause I wasn’t being honest with myself. So I transferred out and transferred to Texas A&M and tried to do the same thing.”
“This time I stopped throwing my food up for the most part, but I stopped my medication cold turkey which you’re not supposed to do. You’re supposed to like ween off of it and I was taking it and my parents didn’t know, my friends didn’t know. I was just taking it and not telling anyone because I was embarrassed about it. I didn’t understand depression. Things were going okay at A&M until all of a sudden I just felt like I was losing grip on everything and I couldn’t catch up and I didn’t know why and I started getting emotional. I started isolating myself and I was having these emotions that I didn’t understand and I started trying to tell my parents and tell my friends, but they didn’t understand because they didn’t know that I was on medication and quit cold turkey and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.”
“I felt like no one was listening and I ended up (wow, I never like really talked about this), I ended up taking a bunch of pills and my roommate took me to the emergency room. It wasn’t like super life-threatening bad, but the fact that I did take that action they sent me to a mental overnight hospital to try to get me together, try to get myself together. End up spending like a week there, getting therapy and afterwards I had to make the decision if I wanted to go home or try to come back and finish out my semester. And so I decided to finish out my semester, I did not very well, and that’s when I made the decision to go back home to Tennessee and that’s when I was forced to just, ‘Hey you need to get help and the only way is to go back home to your support system.’ That was the last thing I wanted to do was go back home because I felt like a failure. I felt like everyone was like, ‘Oh yeah! You’re going to South Carolina, you’re going to A&M. You’re doing big things, you know!’ And now, I’m coming back home.”
Despite that, Bianca knew going back to her home base of Tennessee with a strong familial support system was her key to getting herself better and making the move ended up getting her back on the right track (literally and figuratively!).
“I stopped running track for a year. Got myself together, took accountability of my own actions, got therapy, got counseling, and then I decided that I wanted to walk on to the track team at the University of Tennessee. I did that and earned a full scholarship again and I finished out my track career and graduated from the University of Tennessee.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
Lots more from this discussion between Bianca and Lilian as she also talks her marriage to Montez Ford. Watch the entire interview below:
“This week on “Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia,” Lilian sits down with NXT Superstar, Bianca Belair and dives right into what Black History Month means to her. Bianca also speaks on being looked at as the underdog and then reveals her reaction on being in the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble, and what she found out the night before the event. Bianca opens up on how she suffered from bulimia which resulted in her going to the emergency room and how she battled through it to then discovering CrossFit which led to her getting discovered by former World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. Bianca also describes how her experience in NXT has been so far, her husband, WWE Superstar Montez Ford and how instrumental he has been in her career. It’s about to get real, raw, and inspiring with Bianca Belair.”