When I was told that my eating disorder might get in the way of my opportunity to go to University, I was devastated. It was the one thing I had worked my whole life to achieve, and I threw myself into academics all throughout high school with college as my one goal in mind. I spent endless hours on my college applications, writing essay draft over draft, and editing and revising for months. When May rolled around, I chose to go to the University of Washington and I could not have been more excited for the journey start. I had a plan, and anorexia almost derailed that for me.
I was lucky enough to be released from the hospital at the beginning of September and my fall quarter at UW did not start until late September. I had a couple of weeks to prepare before I started school, still struggling with my eating disorder.
It has been a few months and I am trying to balance both college and my battle with anorexia at the same time, which has definitely had its tougher moments. I know that a lot of people face this challenge as well. They are attaining higher education while dealing with their mental health problems. I wish I could sit here and give you my advice, and tell you how to do it, but honestly I am still struggling through it myself, and I make mistakes everyday.
I want to be honest and frank in this post. I live in a sorority house with over 100 girls and I share a room with 34 of them. This is not hard for the reasons that one would expect. It is hard because everyday I see other health, strong, and beautiful women who are capable of going on a run, going to the gym, and doing physical activities that I wish so badly I could do.
Resisting working out and that temptation is one of the hardest things I have gone through. This may sound like an exaggeration, but when other girls are inviting you to go on hikes, or walks, or exercise classes, it is so challenging to say no, without an explanation as to why.
So yes, going through college and living in a sorority while battling an eating disorder is hard to put it simply. I am so thankful for the girls that I live with and have surrounded myself with. To be honest, without than I don’t think I would still be here. They have given me strength and model everyday what healthy is. Healthy is not starvation or restriction. Healthy is enjoying physical activity and refueling after. Healthy is taking rest days when you need it and not pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion.
I understand this now, and I hope that one day I can fully internalize and embody it.