On asking for help.

I have bulimia. I know I do, and I know I have a problem. I’ve had this problem since I was thirteen, and I’m seventeen now. The thing is, I think that I’d actually like some help. I don’t like the way I feel right now, and I hate hating myself, if that makes sense. The thing is, I’m afraid of what may happen if I admit that I have an eating disorder. Will I get sent to a hospital? Therapy? I don’t fucking know, and that scares me. I think my friends would be there for me, but I’m afraid of how they’d take it. What would you do, if anything? Am I being totally over dramatic?

First off, you deserve massive kudos for recognizing you have a problem. That alone will insure you won’t be staying in a hospital, so don’t worry, Winona. They’re not gonna go all Girl Interrupted on your ass.

You’re probably looking at some psychological counseling and nutritional counseling. Nothing to fear, really. It’ll probably just feel like one more weekly extra-curricular activity.

Before asking your parents for help, do a little online research about your treatment options. Find a few programs in your area. You may want to start here.

Only spend an hour or two with the research. There’s no need to obsess about all the crap that’s online. Print out a few pages of the most helpful material and plan out a time when you can have a sit-down with your parents. (You can download a ready-to-print resource guide here.)

Bring the stuff you print to the conversation. Trust me on this. It will help answer their questions and immediately alleviate some of their anxiety.

Start the conversation exactly like you started your note to me, “I have bulimia. I know I do, and I know I have a problem.”

The rest will take care of itself.

As for your friends, of course they’ll be there for you, but don’t tell them just yet. Wait until you’re in treatment and talk with your therapist about how best to involve friends with your healing.

Breath easy, sweetheart. You’re gonna get well.


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