Starve Myself, Parents Are Abusive & Have Secret Online Life
I am not sure why I'm here but my friend advised me to do this. I am depressed and I often starve myself and my parents are kinda abusive. I am keeping my online life completely secret from my parents. I have a boyfriend and several other friends. I am going to get to meet one of my online friend irl soon. I want to tell my parents about my online life but I know it would end horrible and scary. What should I do?
TeenHealthFX is thrilled that you have decided to address the issues you are currently facing. We encourage you to explore our website for resources you may find helpful and submit any further questions you may have.
First, you mentioned that you often starve yourself. This can cause you to become dangerously underweight. During teen years, both your brain and body are still developing, thus it is very important to eat an adequate amount of nutrients per day. Starving yourself can affect your body in many ways. Some side effects include:
- A drop in blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate
- Hair loss and fingernail breakage
- Loss of periods
- Lanugo hair — a soft hair that can grow all over the skin
- Lightheadedness and inability to concentrate
- Swollen joints
- Brittle bones
TeenHealth suggests that you schedule an appointment with a therapist in order to discuss the eating-related issues that you are currently experiencing. Your therapist can help you identify solutions and treatment necessary to combat this issue and improve your overall physical and mental health. If you live in Northern NJ, you can contact the Eating Disorder Program at Atlantic Health System via (908) 522-5757. If you live outside of Northern NJ, you can reach the National Eating Disorders Association via (800) 931-2237
FX invites you to visit the following eating disorder-related resources:
To continue, you mentioned that your parents are sometimes abusive, however did not describe how this abuse occurs. Abuse can come in many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. FX understands that your situation at home may be causing you anxiety, and reminds you that there are resources available to you. TeenHealth suggests meeting with a trusted adult, such as a school principal or guidance counselor so you are able to describe this abuse in-detail. Your trusted adult of choice can refer you to a therapist. You can also contact the Child Abuse Hotline via 1-800-422-4453, available 24-7.
Additionally, you mentioned that you have an online life which you are currently keeping secret from your family in fear that they will not be accepting. FX understands how informing your parents of your online life may seem scary, however it is very important that you do so in order to ensure your safety. If you are not comfortable informing your parents of this situation, inform another trusted adult. Further, TeenHealthFX feels it is critical that you do not meet anyone that you met online by yourself. The FBI gives an all-out blanket warning: “Never meet anyone in person that you meet online.” If for some reason you still feel the need to meet this person, be sure to bring your parents and/or trusted adult of choice. You can meet your online friend in a public setting where many people are present, such as a coffee shop.
FX invites you to read the following cyber safety-related resources:
- WebMD: Teen Internet Safety Tips
- TeensHealth: Online Safety
- New York Public Library: Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens
If you need help finding a therapist, you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.