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Eating Disorders

  • I’m really self conscious about my body and nothing is working to help me change it.
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    I’m really self conscious about my body and nothing is working to help me change it.

    Female, 17, Minnesota

    Question/Issue:

    I am 17 years old, 140 lbs, and 5’8. I have bigger thighs and I really want to make them thinner because they rub against each other and make me self conscious and uncomfortable. I would also love to tone my stomach and have abs. I do a lot of cardio at my community center and ab workouts, but nothing seems to be working. For the past couple of months I’ve been dedicated to eating only two times a week, but I do eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner before 8pm. Do you have any ideas on how I could actually see changes in my body and the amount I weigh?

    Teen Line Wrote:

    First of all, I just wanted to thank you so much for reaching out to Teen Line. I’m so glad you took the time to contact us. Struggling with eating, weight, body image, and lifestyle can be so difficult as well as overwhelming and I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this right now.

    I was wondering if you have talked to an adult or friend that you trust about how you are feeling such as a teacher, parent, coach, therapist, or pediatrician. Trusted adults are often good to talk to because they have previous experience and can help to give you advice. If you see a doctor or pediatrician regularly, they may also be able to talk about healthy ways to lose weight.

    Because thinking about body image and weight can be so overwhelming, I was wondering if you would be open to trying out some coping skills. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it can sometimes feel good to take a hot shower or bath, listen to music you like, hang out with friends, or play with a pet or even keep a special journal just for you where you can write down how you are feeling and what you are thinking.

    In addition to the coping skills, I was hoping you would be willing to look at some resources sort of surrounding body image. The first is this movement on Tumblr called the Internal Acceptance movement. It’s basically a body and mind positivity page that I think you might find interesting. The link to their page is http://internal-acceptance-movement.tumblr.com. I also wanted to give you this article from a website called  yourlifeyourvoice.com about this thing called the mirror rule where you work of saying positive things about yourself in the mirror. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/tip-the-mirror-rule.aspx. Lastly, I wanted to give you this article from Teen Vogue about 5 body positive things to say to yourself.

    I hope this helps.

  • I might be developing an eating disorder.
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    I might be developing an eating disorder.

    Female, 18 years old, GA

    Question/Issue:

    I think I might be developing an eating disorder.

    Teen Line Wrote:

    Thank you so much for contacting us at Teen Line, it really means a lot. I’m really sorry that you think you might be developing an eating disorder, because it’s never easy to handle stuff like this.

    I was wondering if you had someone to talk to about this. I think having someone to talk to might be really helpful, like maybe a school counselor. Also, a school counselor or your doctor might be able to find you help. No one should have to go through this alone, and I want to make sure that you have someone you can talk to. Because of what’s been going on I was wondering if you’d want to check out some coping strategies. Some teens like to meditate or journal, but if neither of those are your cup of tea, here’s a good website for some coping mechanisms that could be useful for when you’re going through a tough time: 99 coping skills.

    You said that you think you may be developing an eating disorder, and I can totally understand how scary that must be. I want to give you some resources on eating disorders that hopefully can help you understand what’s going on. Here is the website for the National Eating Disorder organization, and it has a bunch of information and resources on it that I think could be really helpful to check out. I also want to give you a YouTube playlist by a woman named Kati Morton all about eating disorders that I hope you find useful.

    I also really want to recommend you calling into TeenLine. You can reach us at 310-855-4673 to talk to another teen from 6-10pm PST or you can text “TEEN” to 839863 from 6-9pm PST. We would really like to hear more about your situation so we could help you further. I also encourage you to check out the Teen Line message board where you can share your story and check out stories similar to yous written by other teens.

    Thank you again for reaching out and I really hope you find the help that you deserve.

  • I feel like I am too fat
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    I feel like I am too fat

    17 year old, Female, Canada

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I feel like I am too fat for anything. So many people including my friends say I am skinny, and that my body looks great. However, deep down I feel ugly and fat. I often complain about my weight and how unhappy I am with my shape. I tried everything to get rid of  my extra belly fat but it won’t go away. My mom agrees and she thinks I could lose a few pounds. What can I do? This has affected me so much, and I feel I am too ugly to even have a boyfriend. I always turn down any potential guy because of my insecurities. I feel that if a guy asks me out it would be as a joke. Please Help me.

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Thank you for contacting TEEN LINE. I am so sad about what are you are going through and how you don’t feel comfortable with your body. Having your friends not agree with you can get annoying and frustrating. It also makes me really sad that your mom does not support you. You don’t deserve to be treated like this. You can try talking to your friends and explain to them how you feel, so they understand you. Also, don’t forget that appearances aren’t everything. What also matters is what is inside like your personality. You sound like a great girl and who deserves people in your life that make you happy. You mentioned about your eating and I am concerned that you may not be eating healthy. If you would like to check out resources that deal with this you can go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. If you just want to talk about this you can contact TEEN LINE at 310-855-4673. You can also post on the TEEN LINE Message boards, which is a teen forum where teens can talk to other teens with similar situations. I hope everything goes well and thank you for contacting TEEN LINE!

    a TEEN LINE teen

  • I have been depressed for a while.
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    I have been depressed for a while.

    15 year old, Female, FL

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I have been depressed for a while. I reached my limit, to the point where I will stop eating. I can’t look at myself in the mirror and I do not consider myself to be pretty. Ever since I was in the sixth grade my biological mother taunts me about my weight. I have been going through so much lately, and since December I have been eating on and off. I lost thirty pounds but today when I weighed myself it shows that I gained back ten pounds. I do not know what to do. I still feel horrible inside and out; everyone is worried about me including myself

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Hello _____,

    I want to thank you for reaching out to Teen Line. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone about this. It sounds like you are feeling very upset about your body and your weight. You mentioned that your feelings have started to affect your eating habits. I imagine that it must be very hard for you not to think that you are pretty, and to have your mother taunt you about your weight. I wanted to let you know that what your mother is doing is not okay and that nothing that you could do would make you deserve to be treated like this. You mentioned that you lost 30 pounds by eating on and off. I wanted to let you know that eating disorders can be dangerous and can have long term effects on your health. It must be so scary for you to have so many people including yourself worried about you and your eating habits. Sometimes talking to a trusted friend or adult can be helpful to sort out your feelings. If you don’t have someone in your life you feel you could talk to about this, you can always call in to Teen Line. We are open from 6 pm-10 pm PST. The number to call is 310-855-4673. We also have a message board on our website that you could post on to talk with other teens facing similar issues. If you want to talk more about your eating habits, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Association. They are open from 9am to 5 pm EST. Their number is 800-931-2337. I really encourage you to call in to this hotline because they have great resources and provide valuable support.

    Best Wishes,

    a TEEN LINE teen

  • I have an eating disorder and depression…
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    I have an eating disorder and depression…

    15 year old, Female

    TEEN LINE QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I need serious help. I have an eating disorder and many other too along with depression and self harm. I stress about everything and experience anxiety/anger attacks almost daily. I can’t talk to my parents about & the only people trust are friends I met online. I can only meet my best friend in four years, that is if one of us doesn’t kill ourselves. I have big dreams but I’m not talented enough to achieve them. Everything keeps getting worse. I’ve tried to kill myself twice. One of them was two days ago. I don’t know what to do. My life has no meaning and I have no reason to stay. Please help me if possible

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Hi ______,

    Thank you for contacting us here at Teen Line, it takes a lot of courage to open up about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through.  It sounds like you’ve been going through some very overwhelming times.  I can only imagine just how much stress you’ve been under, from coping with your eating disorder, depression, anxiety and anger attacks, and self harm.  I’m so sorry to hear that you can’t talk to your parents about what you’re going through, but I’m glad that you trust the friends you’ve met online.  Would you ever consider opening up to them about what you’re going through?  I’m really concerned about you,  and I want to make sure that you’re okay.  Although self harm is a way to cope with all your pain, there are other possible ways to cope, and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to try them.  For example, I’m wondering if you’ve heard about the Butterfly Project?  To read more about it in detail, you can check out: http://butterfly-project.tumblr.com/.  In short, you would draw a butterfly on the part of your body where you would normally self harm, and name it after someone who cares about you.  Then, when you feel like self harming, you can look down at wherever you would harm yourself, and remember that someone in your life loves you and cares about you, and wants you to get better.  Also, www.self-injury.net is another great place to find information and support on self-harm.

    I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried physical exercise, listening to music, or journaling about how you’re feeling?  Those activities or other activities similar to those can often help keep you occupied, which can help you cope with everything.  I hear you not trusting a lot of people, but being able to talk about how you’re feeling is really important.  If you’ ever feel like everything gets too unbearable and you’re thinking of committing suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and (800)784- 2433, where someone will always be able to help you.   You’ve been going through so much, but the fact that you’re reaching out for help like you just did, is an AMAZING first step.  If you ever want to talk to someone about your eating disorder, you can always call the National Eating Disorder Association at (800) 931- 2237, open M-F 9am-5pm EST.  Also, if you ever want to talk to a teen about what you’re going through, please feel free to call our hotline at (310) 855-4673, open 6-10pm PST.

    Hang in there.

    Sincerely,

    a TEEN LINE teen
  • I have depression and anxiety.
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    I have depression and anxiety.

    14 year old, Female, MA

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I have depression and anxiety. I take medication for both, but nothing helps. Every day all I can think about is death. Nothing good ever happens to me and if something good does happen, it immediately gets knocked down again by something bad. I’m not pretty or skinny like the girls at my school. They’re all happy, rich, have boyfriends and good looking bodies. I’m sick of looking at my disgusting body and my repulsive self. Nobody even cares about me or how I feel. I just want my life To be over.

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Hi ______,

    There is so much going on in your life right now, and I really want to thank you for emailing us. It sounds like you are feeling really alone and like you have no one to talk to, which I know can be really difficult.  Feeling like no one is there for you when you are always there for others is really disappointing and discouraging. It seems like you are comparing yourself to people quite a lot, and I know how painful that can be.  I know its hard to see people and think, why can’t my life be more like theirs or why can’t I be more like them, but sometimes, people who look like they have it together are really having a hard time. You mentioned that you are feeling suicidal and I have to say, that really worries me.  I’m wondering if there is anything you like to do that really makes you happy, like a sport you really enjoy or a club at school you are passionate about.  I’m wondering if there is anything else you could do to help you cope, like write in a journal or draw.  Sometimes it helps to just get your feelings out on paper.  I also really want to encourage you to speak with a trusted adult about how you are feeling.  Someone like a parent or maybe an aunt or uncle you are close with, if you would feel comfortable doing so.  You can also call the suicide prevention hotline.  They are open 24/7 and their number is 877-727-4747.  Feel free to call us as well.  We are open everyday from 6pm to 10pm PST and our number is (310) 855-4673.

    a TEEN LINE teen

     

  • I just can’t cope like this on my own anymore.
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    I just can’t cope like this on my own anymore.

    14 years old, Female, United Kingdom

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    i self harm, run away, push away my friends and family, always put depressing statuses on facebook, have suicidal thoughs, and starve well ’try’ to starve myself, i just cant cope like this on my own anymore and i think its time to come out of my closet and tell someone so i looked at chat rooms on the internet and i found this, can you help me?

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Hi ______,

    Thank you so much for contacting us here at TEEN LINE. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through, and it must be so difficult having those thoughts often, and that can be very frustrating. I know you say you have felt like killing yourself, and maybe it’s hard to see that your family, friends and other people really care about you. Also, its good to remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Have you tried talking to someone trusted about this? Someone like a family member, a school counselor, a good friend, therapist, etc? It is really important to talk to someone face to face about this and let your emotions out, because it can be really beneficial in a positive way and I really care about your well-being. I want to refer you to www.self-injury.net, which can help you with your cutting. For when you want to run away, I encourage you to check out http://makerunawayssafe.org.uk/ and they can help you make safe decisions the next time you might want to run away. And about wanting to starve yourself, I want to refer you to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. You can also call the Samaritans when you are feeling suicidal, and they are available to you 24 hours a day and their number is 08457 90 90 90*, and they do charge. Here at TEEN LINE we also have a great thing called messageboards, at www.teenlineonline.org/boards and it is something where you can read and respond to people dealing with a similar situation as you. Thank you so much for contacting us here at TEEN LINE, and it is a big step forward into helping you solve your situation.

    a TEEN LINE teen
  • There’s times where I feel like I’m not important
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    There’s times where I feel like I’m not important

    13 year old, Female, NC

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    There’s times where I feel like I’m not important and I feel like committing suicide  so I can leave this world.  I have problems about my body and I’m always thinking of other ways to kill my self.  What can I do?

    TEENLINE WROTE:

    Hey _______,

    I’m so glad you contacted us at TEEN LINE. It sounds like you’re feeling very overwhelmed and upset, and it makes me worried to hear that you’re feeling that way! I would strongly encourage you to tell a parent or any other trusted adult about how you’re feeling. You don’t deserve to be feeling like this, and I want you to feel better. Writing in a diary or talking to a friend could really help you lift some weight off your shoulders. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and I believe that you can get through this.

    You mentioned you constantly think of ways to kill yourself, and that worries me. I want to give you the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline in case you’re thinking of hurting yourself. Their phone number is 1(877) 727-4747. Don’t hesitate to call.

    Call us in here at TEEN LINE, we would love to talk more in depth with you about what you’re going through. Our phone number is 1(310) 855-4673 and we are open from 6p.m.-10p.m. PST.

    Hope to hear from you soon, stay strong.

    a TEEN LINE teen

  • I’ve had this eating problem for about 3 years.
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    I’ve had this eating problem for about 3 years.

    16 years old, Male, Aus

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I’ve had this eating problem for about 3 years. I just hate the way I look, so I don’t eat. I have a BMI of 17.3, which isn’t too bad, I guess, but It’s been causing me to develop health issues. I sleep more and work less; I’m always in a horrible mood. And recently, I’ve started having suicidal thoughts. I’ve been cutting myself repeatedly, wishing I could die, simply because I’m ugly. I have no reason to live. I just want help, but there’s no one that cares.. I want to die most hours of the day.

    TEENLINE WROTE:

    Hi _____,

    There is so much going on in your life right now and I really want to thank you for emailing us.  It sounds like you feel like you have no one to talk to, which can be very isolating, so I really think its great that you reached out for help, it shows how strong you are.  You mentioned that you haven’t been eating because you hate the way you look.  Not eating isn’t healthy, and I have to say, I’m really worried about you.  It seems like you are really self-aware, and you have noticed how not eating is affecting you.  I know you said you feel like no one cares, but I’m wondering if there is someone you would feel comfortable talking to, like a trusted adult or family member, or maybe a school counselor.  I also want to give you the number to an eating disorder hotline based in Australia.  They are called the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders, and they are there to talk to you.  Their number is 1800-33-4673.

    You also mentioned you were having suicidal thoughts, which also worries me.  I want you to know that suicide is not the answer and that things always have the capacity to get better. I want to give you the number to a hotline based in Australia.  They’re called Samaritans and they are there to talk to you. Their crisis number is 08 9381 5555 and their youth line’s number is 08 9388 2500 and they are both open 24/7.

    You also mentioned you are cutting.  It sounds like you are using it as a coping mechanism to deal with everything that is going on in your life.  I’m wondering if there is anything else that you can do to cope, like drawing, playing a sport, taking walks, or listening to music.  I’m also wondering if there are any other things you can do instead of cutting, like drawing on yourself when and where you feel the urge to cut with a red pen or writing in a journal just so you can get your feelings out on paper.  I also want to give you the link to www.self-injury.net.  They are a website about self injury, and they have more coping mechanisms, information, and success stories about people who have been able to stop self harming.

    It really sounds like you are being hard on yourself, and a lot of the time, that can make you feel really bad.  I really want to encourage you to try being kind to yourself, which is easier said than done, but maybe just pick a part of yourself that you like, like your hair or your personality or something, and just go from there. Its really hard when you have high standards for yourself, and you feel like you aren’t meeting them, but you seem really smart, and definitely strong because you were able to reach out for help, which is something not many people can do.  It takes a lot of courage to do that. Unfortunately, we cannot take calls from Australia, but Samaritans is really great, and I really want to encourage you to give them a call.  I really hope that everything works out for you.

    a TEEN LINE teen

     

     

  • I think my friend may be developing an eating disorder.
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    I think my friend may be developing an eating disorder.

    15 year old, Female, FL

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:

    I think my friend may be developing an eating disorder. She is constantly expressing to me and our group of friends how she wishes she was skinnier, and that she was pretty, and so on. One time she told us that she has started skipping meals to help with her”diet”. I am very worried about her, especially since her parents don’t monitor her very well. They are extremely oblivious. I don’t know what to do to help her. We have tried telling her the side effects of things like eating disorders, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Please help! She is so gorgeous and I hate to see her like this. She deserves better than what she is giving herself.

    TEENLINE WROTE:

    Hey _________________,

    First of all, thank you so much for contacting us here at TEEN LINE. It seems like you are very concerned about your friend and what is going on in her life right now. You mentioned that your friend wishes that she were skinnier and comments on other girls’ sizes. That must make you feel so worried since you have been noticing her not eating. You also mentioned that she is telling you and your group of friends that she is skipping meals to help with her “diet”. This must make you worry because you don’t want your friend to go through something like this. Especially that her parents are totally oblivious to the fact that she is skipping meals and is concerned about her weight. First and foremost, I would suggest for your friend to speak with a trusted adult that she feels comfortable enough talking with about this issue. If  she does not have such support system then I encourage her to reach out to us at TEENLINE. If she is open enough or comfortable enough to call TEENLINE directly so she can discuss this more openly to get a further understanding of what is going on with her. We are open from 6 pm- 10 pm (PST) everyday of the week. You can call in at 1(310)-855-4673. You can also suggest to call the National Eating Disorder Association at 1 (800)- 931- 2237. This association can give her further referrals or information more on eating disorders. They are open from 9 am-5pm (EST). Again, thank you so much for reaching out to us here at Teen Line and I wish you and your friend the best.

    Sincerely,

    a TEEN LINE teen

  • I’ve been called fat for as long as I can remember
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    I’ve been called fat for as long as I can remember

    15 year old, Female, KY

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:
    I’ve been called fat for as long as I can remember, and now it just keeps stinging. I have a boyfriend that thinks I’m fine the way I am, but I can’t shake all the comments I get. I’m depressed and have contemplated suicide… I need help.

    TEEN LINE WROTE:

    Hi H____,
    Thanks for contacting TEEN LINE! It takes a lot of courage to reach out and ask for help. I can imagine it must feel really hurtful to be called fat, especially when it’s been going on for a while now. Its understandable that it would be difficult to just ignore all those comments…it sounds like you have a really loving boyfriend though who might be a good person to talk to and turn to for support.
    I am really concerned about the fact that you have contemplated suicide and I am wondering if you have told anyone about these thoughts. It can be really helpful to talk to someone about everything you’re going through so you don’t have to feel alone with it. Talking to someone can also help make the emotions not feel so big and overwhelming and can help you feel supported. Maybe you can talk to a relative, school counselor or another trusted adult? Also, Hayley, if you are feeling suicidal, I want to give you the Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is open 24-hrs a day. You can reach them at (877) 727-4747. It is really important that you call them and reach out for support if you are feeling suicidal or if you experience any suicidal thoughts.
    We are also always here to listen and help in any way we can at TEEN LINE from 6-10pm (PST) and would love to hear from you! You can reach us at (310) 855-4673. If you feel more comfortable, you can also live chat with one of our teens during the same hours at www.teenlineonline.org.

    a TEEN LINE teen

  • i have an eating disorder.
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    i have an eating disorder.

    15 year old, Female, US

    TEEN QUESTION/PROBLEM:
    I have an eating disorder. This is the first time I have ever admitted it.

    TEEN LINE WROTE:
    Hi J___, thank so much for reaching out to us at TEEN LINE. It’s really brave of you for admitting that you have an eating disorder, and I understand how difficult it must be to feel like you have to have to hold that in. I know that it may seem incredibly uncomfortable, and scary to tell people about it, but ultimately it’s really important to get help and support, as it can feel lonely to not have anyone to talk to about something that is very prevalent in your life. I can give you the National Eating disorder association, who’s number is 800-931-2237. They can refer you to different types of help and support groups, where you can get professional help, while also being able to talk to people going through similar experiences. Also, I can give you the number to Over-eaters anonymous, which will refer you to the nearest 12 step program in your area. Their number is 323-653-7499. It really does seem like you have a lot more to say. Have you ever considered talking to a family member, close friend, trusted adult, or even a school counselor? Please, call or chat with us here at TEEN LINE as an opportunity to talk to another teen like yourself about all that is going on in your life. Our number is 310-855-4673, and we are open every day from 6-10 PM PST.

    a TEEN LINE teen