Cory s Story
Boston, MA USA
"When I graduated high school, I left my small town to start college hours away from home. I was excited to start fresh in a new state and I hoped that a new start would allow me to put my eating disorder behind me.
The first year I met a bunch of new friends from all over the country and we had a great time together. I was succeeding in school and was starting to become involved on campus and in the community. I was so happy with my choice to attend this university.
As my second year rolled around, things got harder. My depression was getting worse, I was feeling more homesick, and I started isolating myself because of it. Weekend nights were spent alone in my bedroom, while my friends went out and partied. I would dread the weekends because it meant that I would be alone with the voices in my head telling me all of the things that I was doing wrong. I was sad to be alone, but when I was encouraged to go out with my friends, I would turn down every invite because the depression was too hard to overcome.
By this time, I was getting sicker and sicker and the eating disorder was becoming more powerful. I was seeing a dietitian and a therapist every week, but it wasn’t enough. I was told I needed more help if I wanted to stay in school. There were times like these when I just wanted it all to be over. I didn’t want to keep fighting the fight and I didn’t want to struggle anymore. I just wished it would all go away.
I knew I couldn’t give up, but I also knew something needed to change. That’s when I admitted myself into a partial hospitalization program at home in Boston. I left school and spent five months in treatment, essentially learning how to eat again. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.
Every day, constantly listening to the battle of voices going on in your head. One voice telling you to, 'Don’t listen to them. Listen to me, you shouldn’t eat that' and the other saying, 'You’re stronger than your eating disorder. Fight hard'.
After treatment, I transferred schools to a college close to my home and my treatment center, so I could be close to my support systems. I learned so much from my five months in treatment, but the most important thing I learned was that eating disorders are not about the food. They are a coping mechanism for a deeper-rooted issue going on inside of you.
After recognizing that and learning how to properly identify and deal with my anxiety and depression, it has gotten a little bit easier. It’s easier, but it’s not over. Everyday is a battle.
Five months in treatment doesn’t give me an all-clear sign. It never truly goes away; you just learn how to cope properly and you gain the strength and power to fight against your eating disorder. You do what is truly right for your recovery.
I am here today to tell you that reaching out for help when you feel hopeless is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is hard, really hard, but it shows how strong you are. In high school I mustered up my strength and told my friends what had been going on with me for the past two years. They could tell something was wrong- I wasn’t my genuine self. Opening up to my friends and admitting myself into treatment helped me to reduce the shame I was feeling about my disorder.
I owe it all to my friends and family for sticking by me over the years and being my support system. I challenge anyone who is struggling, to think about the days when they thought it would never get easier. Now, look how far you’ve come. You made it through your worst days and I know you can keep going. You can do it."
Story by: Cory Gill, Northeastern University Campus Representative