Excerpt from Dr. Carol’s new book Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image
I don’t like to show weakness to my friends. Sure, we’ll talk about boys, gossip about other people, and complain about how much school stresses us out. I’ll even talk about family struggles, but I won’t own up to anything serious. Like, oh, say I had a fight with my mom. I don’t give them any details about what happened or who started it. I just leave it as, “I had a fight with my mom.” I love my friends and they do a lot for me, but people change so fast. You don’t know if they’ll hate you later and tell people something to get back at you.
Is there a benefit to getting things off my chest? Yeah…That’s why I have a therapist! When I was little – well, not when I was little, like a year ago – I never really had anyone to talk to so I would bottle things up. That’s really unhealthy and I would explode and have really bad mood swings and really bad, um, depression. I’ve been struggling with depression for like eeeeever. Lately I had my worst depression – my WORST. I call it the “depression abyss.” I realized I really needed help from my parents. I think they knew I was sad sometimes, but not THAT depressed. I mean, I come off as really bubbly and positive when I’m just hanging out or having a conversation.
When I told my mom and dad, I was shaking. I didn’t know what their reaction would be. I was always scared to tell them because I thought they would send me to a mental hospital and get all crazy. But they didn’t. They were really supportive and so now I go to see a therapist every week (or more!). Biiiiig, big step.
What knocked me down enough to seek help? Um, well, I was actually dealing with an eating disorder and a drug issue. Now I’m being treated for both of them. Yeah, that was a HUGE step too! Oh my God, that was craaazy!
Even though I get depressed, I am like the fun party girl. I’m the one that’s like, “Heeeey everybody! Let’s go party today. I know this place.” Like I’m the girl pulling everyone else in. I’m not the one feeling peer pressure; I’m the one passing it around.
All that fun and partying got serious on New Year’s Eve though. I was dealing with bad family issues on top of everything else. I was in the middle mood-wise and then I just dropped. I overdosed. I don’t remember much. I was seizing and my eyes were rolling back. My friends were like, “OK, we’ll give you until 5:30 am and if you don’t snap out of this then we’re going to the hospital,” and by 5:30 I was sleeping. Crazy, right?!
My drug of choice? Um…probably ecstasy. But I used to do like five different drugs at the same time. And I’m tiny. That’s another thing – I don’t like it when people assume the ano-rexia is because of my body. I’ve always been really skinny. I know I’m really skinny! The ano-rexia was definitely a control thing. It was like counting calories because I can control counting. It’s mathematical. Anorexia is so tangible. It’s right there.
I felt like with my depression, it was so hard to control my emotions and my own brain. Like sometimes I wouldn’t be able to feel at all and sometimes I would feel EVERYTHING like 1,000 times more. My emotions were all over the place, but at least I could control what I ate.
My parents didn’t know about the anorexia until I told them. I tell my parents about 40 percent or less. That’s the thing. That’s why it was so hard telling my parents about my drug problem. When I do drugs at a party or something like that, I’m always lying to them about where I am. So with that – me telling them I’m into drugs and stuff – that’s also me telling them, “I’ve been lying to you for like three years of my life. You don’t really know who I am any-more.” That was the hardest.
About the Author
Dr. Carol Langlois is a former University Associate Provost and Dean, trained therapist, re-searcher and writer.
Her book, Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image is a compilation of interviews with teens girls on the topic of self-esteem which also offers an effective and practical system designed to RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-Respect and Empowerment) teen self-esteem. Check out the book trailer for Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image.