Kelsey Schaefer teamed up with Brittany and Kali Kardia in 2017. With a background in Creative Communications, she saw opportunities for collaboration with Brittany and wanted to be a part of changing people’s lives. Her goal, too, is to help those who feel that they have no choice but to suffer in silence.
Kelsey was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder many years before seeking help for it. She was convinced that a “mind over matter” attitude was the solution and felt that she needed to simply deal with the complicated emotions she felt on a daily basis.
In her late teens, Kelsey developed an eating disorder. She had suffered from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, like a large amount of teenage girls do, from a young age. Her bodily insecurities became controlling over her life. She began purging in order to make herself feel better about eating. While binging is often a common aspect of bulimia, Kelsey rarely ever binged. She found it difficult enough to consume a healthy amount of calories without purging. As the months passed, her mental health suffered tremendously. She began to feel a sense of guilt every time she ate anything. She maintained a healthy diet and exercised daily, but she was still unable to ignore the impulse to purge.
It took several years of suffering in silence before Kelsey reached a point where she knew that what she was dealing with was not normal. Her eating disorder aggravated the anxiety disorder, which caused the anxiety disorder to become life altering. She found it extremely difficult to focus on anything besides her caloric intake. She suffered from extreme insomnia and would go several days without sleep. She became afraid of things that she normally enjoyed such as meeting new people, challenging herself and, especially, food.
“What I ate literally consumed my life. I couldn’t go out with my friends or attend family dinners without panicking inside."
After experiencing several anxiety blackouts, Kelsey became more afraid of herself than anything else. She finally told her parents how she was feeling and, after several years of being encouraged to, decided to start on medication. After her anxiety disorder became more stable, Kelsey regained her sense of clarity.
A concerning trip to the dentist’s office enabled Kelsey to acknowledge that the bulimia was not something she could justify continuing; it had to stop. However, she was not ready to come out with it yet. There were many distractions in her day-to-day life and too many opinions that she was concerned about. Yet, at the same time, she felt terrified of being without those distractions. She felt that she depended company and support. After months of contemplation, she decided that she needed to try and challenge that.
“I have the best family in the entire world. They’ve always been nothing but caring and supportive. But this was something that I obviously had to figure out for myself, before I could share it with anybody else."
In October of 2015, Kelsey made the scariest decision of her life when she went on a six-month solo trip to Thailand. She felt that some time in solitude, away from everyone and everything that felt familiar, could help her shift her thinking and tackle her fear of being alone.
She came back home with the same fears and challenges that she’d left with, but more confidence that she could take them on. She finally came out about her disorders and sought out support. Kelsey still faces the challenges of anxiety and bulimia today, but she is healthy and happy and maintains a wholesome lifestyle.
“If I can help one person from living in silence, the way that I did, then everything that I went through will have been worth it. I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been in my life, because of everything I’ve experienced.”