I’m sixteen years old and I have a solid group of friends and I go to an esteemed boarding school. However, for some reason I’ve been obsessed with my weight since I was eight or nine and I started experimenting with throwing up when I was twelve. Now, I overeat and throw up almost every day. Girls in my dorm figured it out after I’d been here for about a year, and the dorm parents figured my problem out and sent me to counseling. However, the counselors and the health center keep threatening to send me on medical leave and aren’t understanding at all.
I can’t get sent on medical leave because I feel like the only thing I have going for me is schoolwork, and I can’t forgo that. I’m not very social, I don’t have a boyfriend, and I’m definitely not popular or very athletic; there’s no other reason to stay at this school besides my classes and academic activities, which I can’t abandon because I need to get into college. Also, my parents are disappointed in me and they pay so much to send me here that I can’t just leave. They keep telling me I’m thin but they don’t get it.
Anyways, I started lying to everyone about my situation because too much was at stake; I got into a prestigious writing program for the summer and my family has plans to vacation in India, but they’re saying that we might have to forget all that if I have to spend three months in treatment. I don’t want to be treated like an invalid and I can’t afford to ruin my summer, and I can’t bear the guilt of ruining my family’s plans and making them spend more money. On the other hand, I can’t quit.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of stomach pain and chest pain and I think there’s something seriously wrong with me, but no one here is helping me or being nice about it. I’m becoming the slowest person on my track team because my breathing is so problematic. I’m really ashamed and alone and frustrated and anxious and I feel like a whale and the whole thing is just making me want to overeat more. What should I do?
You’ve been putting a ton of pressure on yourself. Sometimes the urge to be perfect can take over everything else, but it’s important to always keep in mind that no one is perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s impossible to control everything in your life. It’s completely understandable to be worried about what your parents think of you, but they clearly love you and have your best interest at heart.
Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that’s most common in adolescents and young women, and 70% of bulimics also suffer from depression. This disorder also has some serious medical consequences, including death. It’s really important for you to get treatment.
I know you said you don’t want to miss any school, but you need a break from all of the pressure. Your health should always come first — even before schoolwork. I realize that seems overwhelming, but right now you have so much going on that you can’t focus on yourself. School will always be there and getting sidetracked is not the end of the world, especially if you really need it. Life will go on and you’ll have lots of opportunities to do awesome things you love, but not if you’re too sick to do them.
Asking for help is totally okay and shows how strong you are. It doesn’t mean you have failed at anything. Take this time for yourself, and don’t feel guilty for getting — help your parents love you and want you to get better.
Let me know how it goes, okay?
WDYT she should do, gURLs? Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder? Do you feel overwhelming pressure sometimes? Share your stories and advice below.
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