Question: I’m in high school and everyone sees me as happy and perfect. Really, I have symptoms of an eating disorder, pretty bad self image and have cut in the past. I can’t tell anyone because I don’t want to let anyone down – especially my friends and family. How can I get the help I need without feeling worse about it?
Perfection is an illusion. No one is perfect and everyone has their secrets, but secrets keep you sick. Most of these behaviors root in low self esteem and it would be best to start there. Building up one’s self-esteem can be done by working with a therapist and challenging your thoughts to change behaviors and feelings. This type of therapy is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage to heal. Most family and friends respect that in a person especially in someone they care about. There is a triangle of behaviors people act out when they don’t know how to regulate their emotions in a healthy way. To self soothe or cope with stress people sometimes choose unhealthy methods to cope by using drugs and alcohol, develop eating disorders, and by self injuring. Often these behaviors will rotate and shift back and forth from one to the other and cycle. These behaviors give the illusion of control while your life becomes more and more out of control. They are like putting a band aid on a severe wound. It won’t be enough because you need to deal with the underlying issues that triggered these behaviors in the first place. I can’t stress enough that getting you healthy is nothing to be ashamed about and won’t let people down. I have a feeling the people in your life would be more upset if you didn’t get help and continued to struggle. These addictive behavioral patterns can be changed if you’re willing to do the work. If you’re ready to come in, we will be here to support and help you through this. I often tell people when they are unsure about what to do and feel unhappy, to find the courage to change the things they can. Healing is possible and worth it!
Jennifer Wagner MA LCPC CADC