Warwick woman on crusade to help others with eating disorders
WARWICK, R.I. (WJAR) —
"I used to eat double bacon cheeseburgers,” 21-year-old Nicole Potvin told NBC 10 News. “I was a teenager. I ran track. I did soccer and dance, so I had no cares."
But, she said, life happened.
"My parents were going through a divorce,” Potvin said.
Then, a close friend died in a car accident. Her anxiety soared.
At 15 years old, she said she felt out of control.
The one thing she could control was what she ate.
"Some days, nothing. Some days, just a salad or an apple," she recalled. "I avoided eating at all costs. I stopped seeing my friends."
After she started college, her weight began to plunge.
"I went from just after Thanksgiving in November -- I was around 128 pounds. By the end of December, early January I was 103," said Potvin.
It all came to a head when she and her mother were together in New York. She could no longer hide her extreme weight loss.
“She just started crying and saying, ‘You need help,’” said Potvin. “People have voiced this, but I haven't been able to see it because I hit it so well. But she said, ‘I can see it now. You need help.’ When I saw my mom crying in that hotel room, that's when I wanted to get better.”
Potvin started reaching out for help. She knew she needed it.
But it wasn't enough. She wanted to advocate for others.
Recently, she raised enough money to light the Rhode Island State House in blue and green, the colors for eating disorders awareness.
Potvin, a psychology major, now plans on going for her masters, and eventually hopes to help others like her. She wants them to know there is life after an eating disorder -- and it's good.
"I see someone who's healthy and most importantly, happy,” she said of herself.
If you have an eating disorder and need help, click here for more information.