Lili s Story
"The biggest change in my life happened when I moved out of my childhood home in the fall of my sophomore year in college. This was a huge decision, which I did not have control over. So, to cope with my feelings of depression and lack of control, I controlled my caloric intake, maintained a strict exercise regimen to keep a regulated schedule. These actions led me down a slippery slope and controlled every aspect of my life. I didn’t want to live like this, but I didn't know how to break free of my eating disorder (ED).
I slowly started to lose my passion for life, excitement to try new things, and the ability to truly enjoy a meal without feeling guilty. But, during sophomore spring semester, February 1, 2016, anorexia, and depression gave me an ultimatum - I could either succumb to this disease or I could fight back as hard as possible. I have learned through other experiences in my life that quitting is never an option, so I choose the latter. It took a semester off from college, an intensive two-week therapy program, medication, and subsequent therapy sessions to work through the healing process.
The constant presence of my ED’s voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough consumed me (and still does sometimes). But when life becomes difficult and I find myself wanting to restrict, I try my best to remember that I am enough, I am beautiful, and that my weight doesn’t define me. I have to constantly remind myself that I need food like a car needs gas. Staying committed to recovery is a full-time job and I’ll be employed for the rest of my life, however, the hours I work now are more flexible.
Having a mental illness has been one of the hardest things in my life that I’ve had to deal with, but it has made me more observant and empathetic. I’ve witnessed girls as young as four years old pinching their own fat or becoming victims of body shaming from their siblings. I am sharing my story because I want young girls and boys to know that achieving a goal weight is not worth sacrificing your health or happiness. When I was fighting back against my ED, my body was weak, my spirit was defeated, my smile was fake, and the light in my eyes was dimmed. But since I’ve received treatment, my smile is genuine, my life is meaningful, my laugh is loud, and my body is strong.
I am sharing my story because I want others to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. To all those fighting, you are enough, you are beautiful, you deserve to be here, you matter, you are unique. From one warrior to another, keep fighting and stay strong. You can beat this! 'Just when a caterpillar thought the world was over, it turned into a butterfly.' ~ Unknown."
- Story and Photo by: Gillian Neubert, Connecticut College Campus Representative