National Eating Disorders Association

The Road Within: An Interview with Gren Wells

Emma Shakarshy, Proud2Bme Youth Outreach Coordinator

At Proud2Bme, we're tired of narratives that portray young people with mental illness as helpless victims. We're tired of one-dimensional characters and after-school specials.

So when we heard about Gren Wells's directorial debut film, The Road Within, which comes out this Friday, we were immediately excited by this refreshing take on an issue we've seen mishandled time and time again.

We were so honored to interview Gren Wells about her personal experiences with her eating disorder, as well as the new film that came out of it. 

Proud2Bme: Why is it important to tell stories of youth and mental health?

Gren Wells: I don't wish high school on even my worst enemy. I had an incredibly hard time making friends because I was different. I was younger than everyone because I had skipped a grade. So, therefore, I was automatically a nerd. I was also painfully shy - and this combination made me feel invisible. 

So my anorexia originated from this feeling of not fitting in. It obviously grew into something much more powerful that took over my life for many years - but feeling different, feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere, was absolutely what caused me to seek something that I felt I could control. 

Looking back, I wish someone had spoken to me about mental health. I wish it had been a mandatory class in school because I now know that I wasn't the only one who felt this way. EVERYONE feels different. EVERYONE feels alone. EVERYONE feels like they don't fit in. Obviously, some people experience this feeling more so than others, but it is a universal feeling and if more stories tackled it, more kids would realize that they're not alone.

Read the full interview and watch a trailer of The Road Within at!