7 Things I Learned About Eating Disorder Recovery as a College Student
Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Tara DeAngelis for Eating Recovery Center.
College really is way better without your eating disorder. It will only hold you back during this really important and special time in your life. Here are seven ways your life can improve when you say “Goodbye!” to your eating disorder once and for all.
1. Your grades may improve (or be easier to maintain).
My grades were always a priority to me. However, I had to work twice as hard to maintain my high academic standing while simultaneously battling my eating disorder.
Many people I know who have battled eating disorders in college reported their grades improved when their brain was healthy and they were no longer engaging in eating disordered behaviors.
So, when your eating disorder goes away, your grades can become better… seems like a fair trade to me!
2. You can meet more people.
Let’s face it: food is often the way to a college student’s soul (or so it seems).
At my school, everything is done over food… studying, planning, group projects, movie nights — most social events — are all enjoyed with a slice of pizza or a giant milkshake.
I used to be scared to do anything social because I was completely terrified of food. Now, I’m not afraid to get a bite to eat with friends while studying or doing other social activities.
3. Your friendships can deepen.
What is college without lasting friendships?
When you say “Goodbye” to your eating disorder and “Hello” to your authentic self, you gain many things. One of the best, in my opinion, is the ability to be a true, selfless and genuine friend.
And in turn, you may find your friends become better friends to you as they truly get to know your authentic self. Friendship is a two-way street — when you have more energy to give, it will likely be reciprocated.
4. You will have more energy (and a better memory).
When you commit to eating disorder recovery, your brain will become new again! It’s amazing what the body and brain can do when they are healthy and taken care of.
I was trapped in my eating disorder during my freshman year of college, spending most of my time in bed or in the library. I don’t have many memories of that first year, which was supposed to be one of the best years of my life.
That all changed when I committed to recovery and kicked my eating disorder to the curb! The rest of my college experience was chock-full of energy and filled to the brim with priceless memories.
5. The world becomes your oyster.
Without your eating disorder, the world truly does become your oyster and you will be free to explore every inch of it. You can volunteer, travel or study abroad, for example.
When I entered solid recovery, I was healthy enough to spend a semester studying abroad in London, England! I finally had the energy to explore the world because I was free from my demons. This freedom rendered me independent, strong and determined to live the life I always dreamed of.
6. Your confidence will grow.
The biggest gift I gained from recovery was confidence. I am more confident now than I have ever been in my life. I’m not afraid to try new things — I take healthy risks. I don’t put value in comparing myself to others and I don’t pay much attention to what others think of me.
I can tell you from personal experience that college is so much better with confidence. I believe you too, can find this life-changing confidence when you choose recovery!
Hint: your confidence will impress your professors and might help you get that letter of recommendation you dearly want!
7. You will be happier.
This one doesn’t even need much explaining. I promise you I am so much happier at my university without my eating disorder trying to sabotage me.
You won’t be in college forever, so now is your chance to make the most of it. You deserve your dream college experience!
With an eating disorder in your head, it will be impossible to achieve that dream, but if you give it the boot, you just might find what you’ve been looking for all along.
Tara DeAngelis is an eating disorder recovery blogger with a passion for creating honest discussions about mental health. She uses her recovery story to inspire others to seek help for their own recovery, and to encourage loved ones to understand eating disorders on a deeper level.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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