Eating disorders have long been thought of as primarily afflicting women, but compulsive exercise and anorexia plague young men as well. One of those young men is 25 year-old Troy Roness of Bismarck, North Dakota.
After a guest appearance on the Dr. Phil Show in January 2009, he battled through an 81-day residential treatment program to deal with anorexia and compulsive exercise. “After my first stay at Rogers Memorial Hospital, I realized I hadn’t conquered all of the inner demons that had subconsciously robbed me of life,” he says. “I had to admit to myself and my family that my struggles were still alive and I re-entered treatment for a second 81 day program.”
“My personal struggle has been a difficult journey – worth taking. I’ve come to believe that there is something powerful about saying, ‘I finally shared my secret. I realized it was no longer mine to keep.’ When my exercise and eating habits had taken over every aspect of my life, it didn’t end my life to share my insecurities and shame — it began my journey back. I would encourage everyone to discover what it truly means to feel good again – just as you are.”
Although there isn’t any scientific research to back the claim that people who identify as LGBT tend to suffer more from eating disorders (although research suggests they come forward more often), the stigma surrounding cultural norms keeps many people from coming forward and getting the help they deserve.
Since beginning his journey to recovery, Roness has become an outspoken advocate and speaker on the topic of male eating disorders. He is the Inaugural United States Male Junior Board Representative for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA); the Male Advisory Board Member for the global eating disorders organization MentorConnect; and an Advisory Board Member for the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED).
Roness also blogs on the topic for PBS’ This Emotional Life and the Huffington Post. “Through my writing and speaking engagements, I’ve found that the message of recovery needs to be heard by all. I want nothing more than to help explain, through my life story, that recovery is possible for everyone, no matter your gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.”
Now pursuing a Masters Degree in Education at Minot State University, Roness has spoken to thousands of people in North Dakota and through his blogs, he hopes to reach millions of people across the United States and the world.
“I fully intend on using my past experiences to motivate and support others who are dealing with similar self-struggles.”
To read Troy Roness’ PBS blog go here.
To read his Huffington Post stories go here.