When we left my last post I was a young woman who had just finished high school. My entire life was laid out before me. I was excited to move to a new city and grab life by the horns! Or so I thought.

When I started college in London (Ontario, not England) I was around 178 pounds. I had gone to England for my cousin’s wedding that summer and managed to pack on a few pounds in a short amount of time. But anyway, I was starting college. I was going into a photography program. I hadn’t been able to get into my first choice, which was Ryerson University in Toronto, the only university that offered a photography program. But I was hellbent on doing photography so I sucked it up and went to college instead. It was a disaster.

I was a quiet girl who was up for the occasional party and was usually shy around new people. Somehow I got stuck rooming with three girls who were all smokers (nothing bugs me more than cigarette smoke) and wanted to party every night till 3 or 4 am. I also ended up hating my program. Although I was thankfully able to move to a different suite during the winter semester, my overall experience at college continued to get worse. I fell into what can only be described as the worst depression of my lifetime. I wasn’t suicidal but I couldn’t get out of bed. I fell back into habits of self-harm and mostly I just wanted the whole thing to be over.

Of course during this time I gained more weight. It could be put down to the “freshman fifteen”, the fifteen pounds that most students put on during their first year of school due to a combination of stress, horrible eating habits and lack of anything resembling a proper kitchen. I won’t go into the details of what I ate but you can be sure that it consisted mostly of beef and cheese. Yep, my two go-to comfort foods. Whether or not it was just the “freshman fifteen” it was definitely my first really bad experience with binge eating and comfort eating. It was my first time really feeling guilty about what I was eating but continuing to eat instead of changing my habits.

By the time I left school it felt like I had hit an all time low with my depression. I took comfort in knowing that I wouldn’t be going back (especially since I had flunked most of my classes) but I also felt lost. I didn’t know if I would be able to get into a different program at a different school and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was also frustrated that seeking professional psychiatric help was a painstakingly slow process. I had one incredibly cathartic intake interview and then had to wait months for a referral to a psychiatrist. In the meantime I was allowed to see a social worker whose main method of helping clients seemed to be a “don’t worry, be happy” mantra. It didn’t seem like it at the time but things were slowly improving.

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