Kelly Bishop was a girl who seemingly had the world at her fingertips. However, beneath that outward appearance, she had lost total control.
Bishop's drive and determination had formed her into an outstanding swimmer and a brilliant student named to the 2011 USA Swimming Scholastic All America Team.
The focus on being a perfectionist, though, had transformed into a destructive trait when the swimmer began to apply that same intensity toward her body.
Over the past three years, Bishop battled with anorexia and bulimia.
Things came to a breaking point when the already petite Bishoplost close to 26 pounds in two months during the middle of her senior season.
"If I lost one more pound, I was told that I was going to be kicked off the team for good," Bishop said of an ultimatum not to let her weight fall below 100 pounds. "That was something that I was terrified of, but I was equally terrified of gaining weight. It put me in a tough spot."
It took the intervention of parents and coaches because Bishop was beyond the point of reason, even though, she admits, the path she was on had her scared.
"It's almost self-punishment," Bishop said. "It's a quest for perfection. The most pressure I've ever felt is from myself. No matter how far you get, you'll never be good enough. For me, it was not performing in the pool and not doing what you know you should be doing. A part of you feels empty because you love it, and you are not fulfilling that. Another part of you will still be empty because you're not a 5-foot-10 model that you always wanted to be. No matter what, you are always losing."
Still, she was resistant to admit anything was wrong.
After being a two-time state swimming qualifier, Bishop was struggling early this season. Yet, even when things were at their worst, Bishop was strident about admitting anything was wrong.
At a duel meet against Moline, Bishop showed a flash of the swimmer people had come to expect, posting a then-season-best time of 1:01.95 in the 100-yard butterfly.
"I wasn't just swimming," Bishop said. "I was swimming to try to prove that I was OK and I didn't need help. That was a very passionate evening for me. I cried all night. In my mind, it was the last time I would ever swim my senior season. However, I came to the realization later that no matter how fast I swam, there were bigger problems that needed to be addressed."
The road to recovery included three weeks in the hospital, and another two weeks in outpatient treatment in Arizona.
"I had kissed swimming goodbye," Bishop said. "I had lost sight of what was important to me. I never thought I would do the things that would make me happy ever again."
Bishop underwent a painstaking road to recovery and feels that she's come through the other side stronger than ever. After winning the 100-yard butterfly with a season-best time of 59.62 at the sectional, she earned a spot at the state meet. Bishop then proved to be headed in the right direction again.
While her pursuit of finding balance in her life never will be over, she just hopes that her story can help others in similar situations.
"I don't want to be a 40-year-old with Osteoporosis," Bishop said. "I don't want to live my life based on some silly image of myself. I don't want to let my body define me. I want to use my body to do the things that I love, and to go chase my dreams. I don't want to be blinded by an unrealistic image that is just going to lead to disaster."
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2013. There are 21 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: We give "the government" the benefit of our circulation free of charge, for two advertisements for mules, horses and forage. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The official board of the First Methodist Church voted to build a new church. 1913 -- 100 years ago: W.A. Reid was elected commander of Siboney Bay Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Blanche S. Osborne, of Rock Island, is the only woman in the city who is a member of the American Legion. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Rocket Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Howard Mesecher, will present a concert of barbershop songs at the December meeting of the Woman's Club of Moline at 2 Saturday afternoon in Scottish Rite Cathedral. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Helen A. Stone, of Moline, traded her organ's bench for a seat in the pew when she retired as church organist of Union Congregational Church, Moline, recently. She's been playing either piano or organ for the church for 61 years.