In NXT, Bianca Belair is one of the most confident superstars on television. But before she became the EST of NXT, she struggled with bulimia and depression that almost cost her her life.
Speaking to Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory, Belair opened up about struggling with her weight in high school, which led to her becoming bulimic.
"I was always considered one of the bigger girls (in high school). They always told me, 'If you want to run faster, you need to lose weight.' I was 150 - 155, they wanted me to be in the 130s. I wanted to get a scholarship and it was drilled into me, 'If you want to run faster, you have to lose weight.' I got on a diet but I hit a plateau," explained Belair. "So, I started throwing my food up. I lost weight and I ran faster, but I ended up getting hurt because I wasn't getting the right nutrients and vitamins. I went to South Carolina and decided I wasn't going to throw my food up anymore. I got my scholarship, I got what I wanted."
Belair continued, "I ended up having this obsession with food where I was binge eating at night and I was gaining all this weight. Then I had coaches tell me, 'We need the Bianca from high school.' Instead of seeking help, I started throwing my food up again."
Belair's struggle with bulimia caused her to slip into a depression.
"Mentally, I wasn't there. I got depressed and was prescribed medication. I was young, on my own and blaming everyone else. And it was really the things I was doing to myself. I wasn't being honest with myself. I transferred to Texas A&M and tried to start new. I stopped throwing my food up....for the most part," recalled Belair. "But I stopped my medication cold turkey, which you're not supposed to do. My parents and friends didn't know I was taking it because I was embarrassed by it and didn't understand depression. Things were going okay until, all of a sudden, I felt I was losing grip on everything. I couldn't catch up and I didn't know why. I was getting emotional and isolated myself. I tried to tell my parents and friends but they didn't understand because they didn't know I was on medication and quit cold turkey."
Bianca went on to recall the moment she reached her breaking point.
"It got a point where....I was just out of it. I felt like I wasn't being heard and no one was listening. I ended up taking a bunch of pills. My roommate took me to the emergency room. It wasn't life threatening bad, but the fact that I took that action, they sent me to a mental overnight hospital," explained Belair. "I ended up spending a week there, getting therapy. After, I decided to try and finish out my semester. I did, but not very well. That's when I made the decision to go back home. That's when I was kind of forced to...'Hey, you need to get help. And the only way is to go back home to your support system.' I felt like a failure and (going home) was the last thing I wanted to do. But in order to get better, that's what I needed to do."
Lilian circled back to Belair's suicide attempt, asking Bianca what led up to the moment she decided to take the pills.
"I started isolating myself. I stopped going to Church. People would say, 'Just be happy.' And that was easier said than done. I didn't understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling," said Belair. "If I wasn't isolating myself, I would be in a group with friends and I wouldn't talk. I would think things like, 'If I wasn't here, it wouldn't matter.' I don't believe I wanted to end my life. I believe it was a cry for help and attention."
Belair went on to explain that moving back to Tennessee helped her turn her life around and get her back on track to where she is today.
If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, please call 1-800-273-8255 or get help here.