My Eating Disorder is Killing Me, but I Can’t Stop

life's hard as it is. putting pressure on yourself won't make it easier.

Hi Heather,

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.

|This gURL’s mom thinks she has an eating disorder. Heather explains the facts and gives her advice.|

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.

|Struggling with an eating disorder? Get love and support from other gURLs.|

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.

take care,

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Posted in: Being Different, Body & Health, Body Image, Body Issues, Family, Friends & Family, Help Me Heather, School, Sucky Emotions, Sucky Emotions
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  • Veronia

    I’m also suffer from bulimia….its definately hard to deal with and I feel like NO ONE WILL EVER UNDERSTAND it unless they have been through it…I tried to get help and told my doctor and now EVERYTHING has gone wrong….You can get throgh it if thats Gods plan…

  • Kittyback

    I agree with Far 100%. It may feel like now you’re doing the best thing for your body but think for a minute about all of the energy that you used to have before you had the eating disorder. D you miss it? I sure did. I felt lethargic, my hair was falling out, and I needed to wear a winter coat even in spring i was so cold. Also, my skin was dry. The eating disorder really isn’t a way to cope with the outside world because once you’re off to college, there’ll be enough chaos swirling around you that you’ll need a strong body to deal with it. You may have great endurance right now, but trust me, it has its limits. What I would reccommend to you would be to a) think of your favorite food and see how much of it you can eat wihtout throwing up. Increase it each time and savor it, really do, because food is essential to living a normal life. I thought a lot about how guys wouldn’t like t when girls ate btu it’s really not true. They actually really like a girl who can talk abut food because it’s constantly on their mind anyways. And the weiht gain for me wasn’t so bad. I thought I looked good every time I went to my program and had gained a pound or two because my skin got glowier and my face began to fill out. Hey, even my boobs did too! I didn’t remember eer liking the drama that swirled around me as an anorexic and I am ever so thankful that I got over it because I am a completely different person now. I have started taking risks, I asked a boy out, and I am going to prom in a dress that shows off my legs. The only reason I saw anorexia as a good thing was that it made it so that everything looked good on me. It doesn’t matter to me now though because I am far more likeable than I was before, and, guess what, most of the weight I gained doesn’t even show! It really goes into re-nourishing the organs that may have suffered under the lack of nutrition. And plus, I told my friends. It was a huge step admitting to them that I had an eating disorder, but that meant that I had support and when I eventually recovered they were happy for me too! I think that this is a time to build strong friendships and to value yourself for the person that you really are( and it is NOT a hippo, it is NOT a freak, it is NOT a loner, and it is NOT someone that’ll never find any romance in their life!) Be accepting and of course, finding people who you can trust is essential to getting your life back. I garuntee you’ll feel a whole lot more able and bright than before. This year, for the first time, I got all A’s as my final year averages in my classes. Getting over this will help make you strong.

  • kaylee nicole

    i think you might have what i have. every time i eat my food comes up right away and i dont make it come up like i get this burp feeling and it comes up. since i was little like 8 or 9 ive had this and i go to a doctor for it. so far the doctors dont know what the name for my problem is or what it really is. ive been goin to the doctors for this for about 2 years and they give me pills for it and so far i dont have the horrible stomach pains anymore which is great but my food still comes up. you should just go to the doctors for this and they will try and give you pills to stop it. but if you are making your self puke by putting your fingers down your throut then u have no medical problem and are the complete opposite of me.

  • Far

    My parents are Bangladeshi and I go to a pretty esteemed boarding school as yourself. I went through this. Right now, I realize the expectations that you and your parents have for you…and college…well that thing might be just a BIT important. Have you seen a doctor? You can schedule one around your area and find one that accepts your health insurance. Your stomach pains are because the there’s a good amount of acid building up? Another thing, boarding school is all about finding the one awesome teacher who’s great and will help you with anything. You cannot say that there isn’t even ONE. Find an adult to confide to, one whom you really trust, and instead of saying this on the internet, take action for yourself. Your body is your responsibility, which means that only you can help yourself. Boarding school is insane and having an eating disorder is actually common among girls. You’re absolutely gorgeous, okay? I can sense it myself. People were telling me to go on med leave too, but instead with the help of my friends, a counselor and my advisor, I got through and you can too.