From a teen in the UK: Okay so I was bullied during primary school by kids younger then me which made it so embarrassing that I never told anyone. They used to make fun of my weight and that’s where I think my issues began but I never acted on them. When I went to secondary school at about 12, although I wasn’t being bullied anymore, I went on a diet. Gradually I began restricting further and further until I became dangerously thin, by the time I was 13 I was in a dangerous state, believing that a banana would make me gain a ton of weight,
my mum and dad were extremely supportive and tried to help in any way they could but for some reason I have always found it very hard to open up to them so they took me to a doctor who gave me a diet plan to stick to so I could gain weight. I didn’t at first, making myself throw up and lying about what I was eating but eventually I succumbed to it because I saw how it was affecting my parents.
Now I’m 15 and struggling with overeating, I don’t think its emotional and it kind of happens frequently but randomly, I’ll just get an overwhelming urge to eat as much as possible and after I feel horrible. I’m also starting to get obsessive about my weight and have started avoiding mirrors as I always think I’ve gained weight when looking in them, I feel horrible about myself. I tend to restrict my food after these short periods of overeating and these restrictions are getting harsher and harsher and I know I shouldn’t be doing this because I could fall back into old habits but I just cant help myself and I’m deadly afraid of gaining weight as I’m scared that if I do nobody will love me anymore which is totally irrational I know but I cant help it.
I don’t know why my eating has become messed up again but its starting to scare me, I feel really out of control and this is just causing me to restrict further and then eat more when I get one of my urges. I don’t really want to tell my parents as I’m afraid to disappoint them, I
thought I was done with this but maybe not and I feel like such a failure.
Not Sure if I Am Still Suffering from an Eating Disorder
Thank you so much for writing. It takes courage to face up to a problem that feels as random as this one. The good news is that you have managed an eating disorder before. The best predictor of whether someone will succeed in regaining health is whether they did so in the past. You did. You will do it again.
Although you managed to stick to a diet the doctor gave you, you did it because you didn’t want to disappoint your parents. You didn’t have help dealing with your own feelings about your weight and food. You were bullied at an impressionable age. Their taunts took root in your psyche and you have been struggling with them ever since. You need help getting those negative judgments about your appearance out of your head.
Please, please. Talk to your folks. Believe me: They would rather help you with this problem now before it gets any worse. They would much rather help you see a mental health counselor than visit you in an intensive care hospital unit because of over-dieting.
It might help you talk to them if you just shared your letter and this response. Then make an appointment with a counselor who has experience with working with teens with eating disorders. Your medical doctor can help you locate good help.
I wish you well.