Back to School: While a Fresh Start, College Also Can Trigger Harmful Lifestyle Choices

Friday, August 6, 2010 Lifestyle News J E 4

CHICAGO, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- College should be an exciting time in a young woman's life; a chance for a fresh start, it's an opportunity to make decisions that will impact the rest of her life. But according to Jena Morrow, author of Hollow: An Unpolished Tale, college life also can bring negative and harmful lifestyle choices into the forefront.

"I found college to be the most opportune time to elope in harmful behavior, a sickness that almost killed me – anorexia," said Jena. No longer under the watchful eye of her parents, teachers and friends, Jena hid her disease and lied to and deceived those who did not know any better. Hollow: An Unpolished Tale chronicles Jena's 20-year struggle with anorexia.

"At the beginning of college, my parents bought a meal card for me, but with one catch: I had to sign a paper upon arrival to college to activate it. I just never signed the paper; my parents never knew, and I played it off as a dumb mistake to my new friends," said Jena. "It was easy to hide my disease from people at college because they didn't know I ever had a problem. I would avoid social situations where I knew food would be present, and in a way, isolated myself."  

However, Jena's Resident Advisor approached Jena as she watched Jena's body wither. Later Jena would realize what an impact this intervention had on her life. Shortly thereafter, she was forced out of school to receive treatment – a rock bottom for her. With help, she found the strength to recover, and one of her messages in the book is a powerful one: the stresses, freedom and autonomy of college combine to create the perfect opportunity to practice life skills, but it's also an ideal time for negative influences to have an impact and cause unknown internal triggers to show up for the first time.

Jena relapsed later in life, but after becoming a mother she realized she had more to live for – and is now happily in recovery. Currently working as a behavioral health specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, a leading eating disorder center, Jena wrote her book to give hope to others and create awareness about the impact and prevalence of eating disorders.

SOURCE Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center



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