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Any advice for coping with family?
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An_243801 posted:
I am 17 years old and most of my family thinks i have an eating disorder. I am very slightly underweight. I weighed approximately 60 lbs from the ages of 8 to 14. When I was 15 I gained a lot of weight and became 115 lbs over the course of a year. After that, I turned vegetarian (not because I wanted to lose weight) and dropped to 98 lbs at the age of 16. I regained the weight, and this is how much i weighed a month ago. Now I weigh 103 lbs. I have been diagnosed with dysthymia and have recently started taking Prozac (this was after I dropped to 103). My family (and a lot of my friends) are convinced that I do not eat enough and that I have an eating disorder. Sometimes when I am depressed I won't eat for 48 hours. Other times I will eat everything I see. I dont calorie count, exercise (except lacrosse, which i play after school), or force myself to throw up. I know my relationship with food isn't healthy, but I dont think I have a disorder. Though I dont have the highest self esteem, I also dont believe myself to be fat. So how do I convince the people I love that I do not have a disorder? OR do I have an eating disorder? Am I in denial of some condition? And has anyone experienced anything similar to this before? Much help would be appreciated.

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Have you ever experienced something like this before?
  • No, I have one of the standard eating disorders
  • No, I dont have an eating disorder
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  • Yes, I know exactly how you feel!
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An_245859 responded:
Hi An,
So depending on your height and muscle mass you can find out a "healthy" weight for yourself. To me you sound underweight; but you may be short or just have very little muscle. Do you find yourself skipping meals or hating yourself after you over-indulge? I cannot diagnose you because I'm not a professional, but I think you should definitely just make an appointment with one. Maybe wait until you are 18 so that the doctor doesn't have to tell your parents without your consent. But eventually you will need to seek help from your loved ones and from doctors and whatever else(ex: God, journaling, therapy,etc)
I know it helped for me to get a reality check and face, head on, my bad relationship with food and my body.
 
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An_243801 replied to An_245859's response:
My doctor says that I am underweight, but she also says that I am only a little underweight, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about as long as I eat healthy. But I know that I do not eat healthy. When I am very stressed (which is often) I sometimes only eat one meal a day or one meal and a lot of snacks. When I eat, I cook healthy food, but afterwards I often don't want it anymore. As a result I eat a lot of junk food because I know I won't turn it away. After I eat junk food, I feel guilty and I start to think about how even though I'm not fat now, I will be when I'm older. Also, if I force myself to eat healthy food like I should, my stomach starts to hurt.
I will be 18 in August, so maybe you are right about seeing a professional in a few months. I have been reluctant to tell any of this to my current therapist because I know she would tell my family. When they stress over what I eat and how much I eat, it just makes me feel worse and makes my eating habits worse.
How did you get help? Were you diagnosed with something? How did you improve yourself and your relationship with food?
 
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An_245859 replied to An_243801's response:
Most people your age don't eat as healthily as they should, so try to remember that it shouldn't really stress you out. Emotional eating/not eating is a major problem with women especially, obviously we shouldn't do it, but we still do. And it's bad for our bodies; and if you have an eating disorder it just makes you feel worse once you've done it.
It is good that you don't see yourself as fat, and that you've admitted that you have some problems. But you still need to try and eat a healthier, more balanced diet. This usually takes a long time, so don't give up. Just for now, eat when your hungry, and try to make what your'e eating as healthy as you can, while still feeling good about it.
I think you should definitely tell your therapist these things and she/he is not allowed, under law, to tell anyone about it. It's just like how doctors can't talk about their patient's medical issues outside of work. But you should just talk to her about it so you'll know she would never do that.
I know how you feel about how your family knowing might just worsen the problem. But you don't have to really make a big deal about it and say like "I have an eating disorder and I need you to be supportive and help me though this" but maybe you could go to your mom/sister/friend and just ask them to help you eat healthier. Just because it helps to have someone hold you accountable and check up on you to see how you're doing (therapists are god at that) so it is harder to fall back into your problems.
I never actually got professional help. I regret that. But I am still fighting battles with food and myself, and how I see myself.
I was never diagnosed officially but I did have bulimia for a couple years. I am still trying to better my relationship with food but is has been SO much easier ever since I asked God to help me and hold my hand through it all. seriously. so much easier. He lets me know that even when I fail I am still beautiful in His eyes, ad He helps m back on the long road to freedom. Keep going and ask Him to help you. Is it okay if I pray for your heart and your defeat of these problems?
 
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An_243801 replied to An_245859's response:
I would really appreciate if you did. I will follow your advice. Thank you so much for your help.
 
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Bunnychic replied to An_243801's response:
This does sound like an eating disorder. But dang, you have alot of willpower. I suggest you try to think through with you're thoughts and try to figure out what the problem is. If you can't, get your friends and family, try support groups, and then go to a psychologist. Support groups are the best thing!
 
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An_243801 replied to Bunnychic's response:
Ok, Thank you!
 
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stardust23716 responded:
I do have an eating disorder (anorexia).. and I still know how you feel.

To be honest, my own personal opinion is that you do very likely have an eating disorder and should seek professional help to figure things out. Denial with eating disorders is VERY STRONG and hard to see through.

Not all anorexics or bulimics believe they are fat. I dont. And not all people with eating disorders binge/purge. I dont binge/purge, measure portions, count calories, exercise compulsively, etc. i simply go periods of time without eating anything. when i do eat, i eat lower calorie foods sometimes and other times i just eat more regular food. But Im still anorexic.

There are so many misconceptions/myths about anorexia, etc, in the media, on TV and the internet. Things like "anorexics dont eat". Yeah right! Of course we do! Many people believe that we all think were fat, that we are vain and obsessed with checking ourselves out in the mirror, that we all exercise like crazy, that all anorexics are bone skinny, etc. Its not accurate.

People with eating disorders are like snow flakes.. all are unique and none exactly the same. We all have our own symptoms and issues, some that are typical of our illness and others that are not. We all experience our eating disorder uniquely.. so be careful to not compare.

My advice to you is to openmindedly explore the possibility that you do have an ED. Instead of being against the idea, open your mind to other possibilities. Seek your own truth. Of course, I would strongly suggest you see a therapist about this. The therapist can help you deal with the pressure from your family and also help you figure out if you do or dont have an eating disorder.
 
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stardust23716 replied to An_243801's response:
know what you mean about healthy food upsetting your stomach. That happens to me when i dont eat for a period. Vegetables, etc, are difficult for the stomach to digest when the body isnt any longer used to digesting normally. When i have this issue, i eat oatmeal, yogurt.. stuff thats easy to digest.

you said you were afraid that you would be fat when youre older.. just an fyi.. ive been concerned with my weight since i was a kid. Now im 37 years old, anorexic and underweight. It doesnt just go away.

what you described about making healthy food but then not wanting it.. and then eating junk food because you wont turn it away.. followed by all the guilt and fear of weight gained.. i go thru this on a regular basis. it drives me crazy. sometimes i will make something to eat only to change my mind.. and then repeat this process 3-4 times. so frustrating just trying to eat something!

You can improve yourself and your relationship with food through therapy, support, understanding and self awareness. There is a root cause of your disorder that needs to be addressed. Once youve dealt with that root cause, your issues with food will resolve and all that fear and guilt will subside.

You can have a healthy relationship with your body and food.. if you choose to be open about your problem and seek professional help for it. If you have the option, find a therapist that specializes in treating eating disorders. Good luck!
 
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stardust23716 replied to An_243801's response:
your therapist cannot tell your parents only if you first instruct the therapist NOT to. At some point, you signed a "release of information" that allows the therapist to talk to your parents. If you ask for that "release of information" to be withdrawn/revoked, then your therapist cant tell your parents anything whatsoever.


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