Depression & Bulimia

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW


I have had problems with depression for roughly 5 years. For a few months I have been bulimic and I am trying to hard to fix myself. My mother is a full time nurse and has a life of her own so i don’t see her very often. Once I thought very seriously about suicide (not a current issue) and she told me it was simply because I was a teenager. Similar response to when I confided in her and told her I was suffering from depression and bulimia. My older brother overheard though and had a very serious talk with me, saying he was very worried and urged me to not rely on my mother and seek help on my own. He has since moved away. My father lives a long way away and when he found out I was feeling depressed he told me I had no reason to as I had so much. Which made me feel very guilty and isn’t the first time I have had that thought about my depression. When my friend told her mother she was feeling depressed she got help, and both her mother and mine were very worried about her and told her she always had their support. I am glad that she is receiving care but I still felt very upset about the care and attention she was receiving from my mother when I was not. I have tried to fix myself many times, sometimes with short lived results. I am beginning to feel the effects of bulimia: stomach pains, sore throat etc. The effects are not serious or life threatening but if I can I want to live without them. I want to be healthy and happy but I don’t know how or if I deserve it.

A. First and foremost, you deserve to be healthy and happy. Please, never forget that.

You stated that the effects of bulimia are “not serious or life-threatening” at this time. I would disagree. The fact that you are experiencing physical symptoms is a sign that the bulimia is serious and ultimately may be life-threatening. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. They are very serious and require prompt treatment.

Sometimes parents may deny that their child is experiencing mental health problems because they’re unclear about how to handle the situation. Perhaps that is why your mother is reacting the way that she is. If that is the case, you need to make it clear to her that your symptoms are real. This can be done in several ways.

The most efficient way is to be honest and straightforward. Request that your mother take you to a mental health professional and inform her that you would like the same type of care that your friend received. If she is unwilling to assist you in receiving professional help, then write her a letter detailing all of your symptoms, or speak to a school faculty member or a trusted relative.

I’m sorry that you are experiencing these problems. I hope you are able to get the help that you desire. A good first step is knowing that help is necessary. Your current challenge is making that clear to your mother. Be persistent and never doubt that you deserve help. It won’t be easy but your health and happiness is worth the effort. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Depression & Bulimia. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/05/depression-bulimia/

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