The story of Cindy: As Perfect as Possible.

Excerpt from Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image 

The story of Cindy: As Perfect as Possible.

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 ‘til 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 anorexia is because of my body. I’ve always been really skinny. I know I’m really skinny! The anorexia 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………..

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Triggers Leading to Adolescent low Self-Esteem

Triggers Leading to Adolescent low Self-Esteem

I see 5th and 6th grade as pivotal points in self-esteem development. Between the ages 10 and 12 puberty sets in, increased socializing between the sexes occur and in many cases, verbal teasing begins.  More defined social groups and cliques form where peers become a major influence on a child’s self-esteem. Think about it, adolescents spend more time in the classroom with peers than at home with family members.  This peer network can define approval or disapproval for actions and behaviors, similar to a  “mob mentality.”  Their influence on one another can impact future choices and actions based on past experiences.  During adolescence many core values and beliefs about self begin to take shape and the relationships that teens build have an influence on that development. Therefor, as adolescents get older, they will choose environments and situations that are inline with their beliefs about self.  In other word, if she feels good about herself, she picks healthy environments and supportive friends. If she feels poorly about herself, she makes bad choices. This is where low self-esteem takes shape. Here are a few triggers that can lead to adolescent low self-esteem.

  • Being criticized by peers (or an adult figure) for a prolonged period of time.
  • Being ignored, ridiculed, or bullied by peers.
  • The self-imposed expectation of perfection which cannot be sustained.
  • Forced group think conformity so individual needs and interests are denied.
  • Being identified as physically different by peers. Too tall, too short, too thin, different hair, braces, etc.
  • Having few trusts friends or community outlets  (sports team, church group, social clubs, etc.)