I hung up the phone after talking to my sister for 85 minutes and felt absolutely stunned. My beautiful, smart, sweet, wonderful 17-year-old niece started throwing up to lose weight a few months ago -- and has been cutting herself. After losing weight due to the bulimia, she now has her first boyfriend and is spending every second with him, smoking pot and having sex. She had enough credits to graduate from high school last May, but has been taking classes this year so that she could graduate with her friends. Those would be the friends she hasn't seen in weeks, due to the new boyfriend. Her grades, previously all As, are now slipping to Cs and the scholarships being offered by various universities are evaporating. I feel so helpless and scared for her. My sister has had her in therapy, but she refuses to admit that anything is wrong, claiming that she's not engaging in any self-destructive behavior anymore. Then my sister saw a gigantic bandage on her ankle.
To top off my worry, my sister confessed that she also has been harming herself. She started off scratching herself and has now switched to head banging. She gave herself two black eyes a few weeks ago. She's not getting enough sleep, not exercising, AND her husband announced that he's going to leave her "just for a couple of years" so he can move in with his mother and help her pay off her debts. I know...what a family.
I wish I knew what to do. I wish I lived closer than 1600 miles away. I wish I could just make everything better. I wrote my niece a long letter telling her of my 25+ year struggle with eating issues and men, and begging her to learn from my mistakes. I don't know if it will do any good, but I had to do something.
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