Merryweather's Courage Shines Through As She Opens Up About Eating Disorder, Mental Health
Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete, 2018 Olympian, and 2017 World Juniors Downhill Champion Alice Merryweather announced on Wednesday that she has been struggling with an eating disorder and will be taking a break from FIS Ski World Cup competition.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Alice formally announced she will take the time she needs to focus on health and happiness while pursuing intensive treatment. "Over the past few months, I have been struggling with an eating disorder," she stated. "It has beaten me down, broken my heart, drained me, and quite nearly destroyed my passion for the sport I love so dearly. Luckily, I am surrounded by some of the best people in the world who helped me come to terms with my disorder and encouraged me to seek help."
Alice, who has been focusing on the speed disciplines of super-G and downhill, as well as alpine combined, in recent years on the World Cup, attended prep period camps in September with the Team, and she said during the camp at Saas-Fee, Switzerland she had felt like she had "lost all of my life for the sport of ski racing." While training at Official Training Site in Copper Mountain, Colo., Alice made the decision to go to treatment, hence her absence at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Copper Mountain.
While the the rest of her team traveled to Europe for the World Cup kickoff in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Alice remained stateside and in treatment. She said, "I’m not sure how long this journey will take, but I’m putting my health and happiness first and taking things one step at a time. I’m optimistic that by putting in the work in treatment right now, I’ll be back stronger than ever when the time comes."
By sharing her story, Alice hopes to help dispel the stigma associated with mental health and eating disorders. "I want to encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health or an eating disorder to reach out, and remind you that you’re not alone," she wrote.
Notes of encouragement came through from teammates and friends on social media and beyond, including two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who has very publicly dealt with her own struggles this year following the tragic passing of her father, Jeff. Mikaela shared, "Pain shows up in many different forms, and it's not always clear how to tend to the wounds or easy to make the decision *to* tend to them. Just remember that you are not alone, and showing vulnerability is not weakness, it is strength."
Alice, thank you for your courage, honesty, and transparency. We know your story will encourage others to be open and seek help if they are feeling the same way. Sending all of our love.