Eryn Hill hit the publish button on her first blog post and felt relief. She was nervous about admitting to the world that she was anorexic and sharing the details of her recovery, but mostly, Eryn was relieved to stop hiding.
“I tried to hide it before and everyone suspected, but then whenever I posted that blog, it sort of validated the rumors to make it real,” Eryn said. “I felt even more myself walking into school after the blog because I wasn’t hiding it anymore.”
Going public made anorexia even more real, and publishing Eryn’s Journey became a turning point in her recovery. Eryn, a Farragut soccer player, will receive the Courage Award at the Knox News Sports Awards on Thursday.
‘Pile of bones on a hospital bed’
In December 2016, two months before she started the blog, Eryn was admitted to the hospital at about 85 pounds on her 5-foot-7 frame. Her doctor had given her two weeks to gain weight, but she had only lost more.
The 16-year-old had lost about 50 pounds since the start of soccer season, about a four-month span. Now that the season was over, Eryn was down to about 500 calories a day. — rarely eating anything that didn’t come in a 100-calorie pack.
Being hospitalized, being told she was killing herself, that she could do permanent damage to her organs and risk not being able to have children, was her wake-up call.
“She didn’t have any choice, and she was in this really vulnerable spot where she is this actual pile of bones on a hospital bed, concerned if her organs were working correctly,” Eryn’s sister Katy said. “I think when that part finally set in it was like, ‘I can’t get around this one we have got to figure this out.’”
Eryn didn’t want to be that skinny. She hated looking at herself, wore baggy clothes and rarely took photos that showed anything other than her face. It was a matter of control, not body image.