Feeling Stuck Dealing With My Eating Disorder, Sexual Abuse and Lack Of Support From My Parents

Published: August 05, 2013
Dear Feeling Stuck Dealing With My Eating Disorder, Sexual Abuse and Lack Of Support From My Parents,
I've been having issues with anorexia since I was nine (sixteen now) and I'm in relapse at the moment. I know it's not healthy, but it's not what's really bothering me this time. This year has been pretty up and down and all over for a lot of reasons. I was sexually abused by a voice teacher a couple years ago, and I told someone, which turned inevitably turned into a gigantic mess once word got back to my mom (she didn't take it well and yelled at me extensively...but that's another story) and I had had some relationship issues with my first love, though we're back together now. However, all of this put together fed to some pretty awful suicidal thoughts and I came much too close to acting upon them. I talked to a couple teachers who I trust about my situation as home life got much more complicated and everything started to crash. Eventually I got into therapy, as well. I'm working on the damage this past year has caused, but the eating disorder has brought a lot of the suicidal thoughts back along with it, as well as nightmares about my voice teacher who tried to control my weight (as well as other things), and I started to cut myself a little. I wish I could talk to my parents about everything, honestly, but they're both incredibly judgmental and going through a divorce, and bringing issues up to them has only proven to make them so much worse in the past. I just feel exhausted and stuck. Could you please help? (P.S. My therapist doesn't seem to know a great deal about eating disorders and sexual abuse.)

Dear Feeling Stuck Dealing With My Eating Disorder, Sexual Abuse and Lack Of Support From My Parents,

TeenHealthFX is glad to hear that you are in therapy, however, we are concerned about your therapist’s level of training and expertise given the issues you are currently struggling with if you feel that he/she doesn’t know a great deal about eating disorders or sexual abuse. It may be a big part of the reason why you are feeling so stuck. FX thinks that therapy with a reputable, experienced therapist could help you with the following:

  • Deal with the feelings and nightmares connected with the sexual abuse you dealt with.
  • Find healthier ways of coping so that you do not resort to self-cutting or get to a place of having suicidal thoughts.
  • Help you deal with your relationship with your parents. It sounds like there is a lot you need from them right now that you are not getting. A therapist could help determine whether family therapy might help to change this, or whether the focus needs to be on helping you to deal with the feelings you have that they are not there for you in the way you would like.
  • Help you look at the underlying feelings driving your behaviors connected with the eating disorder.

Given how much you are dealing with right now, FX thinks it is very important for you to be working with a well-trained, seasoned therapist who has a great deal of experience with the kinds of issues you are dealing with. You could discuss your concerns with your current therapist and see if he/she has any referral recommendations for you. You could also speak to a school counselor or your doctor for referral recommendations for a reputable clinical psychologist or clinical social worker.

Consider the following resources as well as you look for a therapist more qualified to address the issues you are dealing with:

If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), available 24 hours a day, or the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.