I'm really scared. I think I have an eating disorder... it started with me and my friend wanting to lose weight. We joined this website that helped you to log calories and exercise. We both become instantly obsessed, although she was much more healthy about it than me. She cared about being healthy, not just being thin. I just wanted to lose weight... I severely limited my calorie intake... when I started I weighed 121, that was April 17th. Now May 25th I weigh 107 or less, I am weighing myself in a few days so I’m not sure. I also began making myself throw up. In the beginning it was something I did because I thought it would make me feel better, and I was in control and never thought it would get out of hand. But it did, I made myself throw up twice today. And I felt like I had to... I couldn’t stop myself. Everyday either I eat more (like 1000 calories) and throw up... or eat between 300 and 500 calories. I know... it’s bad. I know I’m not fat but I don’t feel skinny either. And the few friends of mine that know are super concerned but I made them promise not to tell. I don’t want to get help. I want to fix this on my own. I've gone through many traumatic situations in the last 4 years... I’m pretty sure I can get through this alone as well. How do I... by MYSELF overcome this??? I refuse to go to the doctor. Or tell my parents. Or a counselor. Or anyone. Ohh and I'm a 16 year old girl and 5 feet 4 inches. Please help me.
You can find the reality of your situation in your own words, “I was in control and never thought it would get out of hand. But it did, I made myself throw up twice today. And I felt like I had to... I couldn’t stop myself.” Many girls begin the process by attempting to lose a few pounds, but instead it turns into a viscous cycle that begins to take over their whole life. Most individuals who suffer with an eating disorder are striving to gain a sense of control in their lives through a restriction of food (anorexia) or by purging whatever it is that they have just eaten (bulimia).
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are sometimes are referred to as "food addictions". Addictions to things like drugs or alcohol are often easier to "cure" because you can simply avoid them forever once you begin to heal. But you need to eat to live, and thus you have to face food multiple times every day. And figuring out what your body needs and how you feel about eating it can become a daily struggle that is very tiring.
You should NOT keep losing weight. Losing more weight could cause serious physical damage to your body and might land you in the hospital. Eating disorders often hinder your body's growth and development, your bones become weak and brittle and can break easily, and your teeth and throat can be damaged due to excess vomiting. If you get too thin, your organs may stop working correctly, and you might develop kidney problems and poor heart functioning.
Not telling someone or doing it on your own is not an option. Sooner or later the symptoms will become painfully obvious to those around you most likely after you have done additional damage to your body. Even though you have some great resiliency getting through some tough situations during the past 4 years this is not one you can do alone. Treating an eating disorder is complicated and usually involves a team of professionals such as an Adolescent Health Specialist, Pediatrician, Therapist or Nutritionist. It is also the type of disorder that has a major impact on the family and it is important that they become part of the treatment process.
TeenHealthFX knows this is not the answer you wanted to hear but we are very concerned about your health and feel that it is very important that you let your parent(s) or some adult that you trust know what you have been struggling with. The next step would be to make an appointment with your doctor so that you could have a complete check up and develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs. An eating disorder is a challenge that can be overcome. It takes time and hard work, but you can do it with some help.
If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown 973-971-6475 or the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Summit at 908-522-5757 for an appointment. Outside this area contact a local Adolescent Medicine Specialist, your local teen health center.
For more information you can check out the following websites: