I'm a 19-year-old girl from Germany. Currently, I'm studying to be a teacher. I come from a very lower to middle-class family. Oh and I'm overweight. The reason why I'm writing to you is because I need help. I'm too scared to go to a psychologist or doctor in my city because I feel like a crazy human if I would do so.
I'm depressed. It isn't the first time. I had my first (little) depression at the age of 15. It was the time when school started to get very difficult. My parents always wanted me to be a doctor or something like that because we couldn't afford a lot. Of course I'm happy that my parents care about me, but they wanted me to be very successful and they didn't care about how I felt inside. My parents forced me to take classes like biology, math, physics etc., which I hated! I had to study so much that I stopped going to sport classes and I also stopped going out with my friends. I was feeling lonely and sad so I turned to food. I got bigger and bigger every month. I felt empty, sad, frustrated. So I got very overweight after a few months. I was very ashamed of my body, I felt worthless.
Two years after this was my graduation year. I got bad grades, so it was all for nothing. After that I started studying medicine. It was terrible, I hated it. Again, I turned to food because there wasn't anything else in my life that would make me happy. I only had 2 friends who didn't even care about me. This was the time when I had my second bout with depression.
Now I'm 19. Two years have passed since I went to school. And my life has never been worse. I'm now studying to be a teacher. I hate my studies. I never wanted to be a teacher. But I'm forcing myself because my parents are poor. I'm very, very, overweight now, because I ate a lot in the last 3 years. I have a binge eating disorder. I have moments where I stuff myself with food until I feel like vomiting because I have nothing in my life that I like. I have 2 friends that I have to stay with even though I don't really like them just because I have no other real friends. My siblings don't care about me because they're too preoccupied with their own lives. My mom treats me like I'm just a piece of nothing. She always tells me that I'm not good enough, that I should be like other girls, that I should smile and laugh in front of others. It's because of her that I got this big. She was the one that made me feel worthless in school. She never appreciated what I did and always complained about me. That's why I turned to food. I think that I even have a food addiction.
Today I can say that I have the worst depression I've ever had. I have no motivation to continue in life. I wake up every morning with a headache and nausea. I feel so bad. I'm crying at least 2-3 times per day. I cry myself to sleep every night. My head hurts a lot. Nothing makes sense. I'm just a mess. It would be better if I would just be gone forever. When I was a kid I was such a big dreamer. I dreamed of the impossible things in life. I dreamed about being a fashion designer, about being a Youtuber who makes makeup videos on the internet. I dreamed about traveling the world. I dreamed about all of these things. But I didn't achieve anything in life.
What I should do? How can I get out of this life? Please help me.
Thank you a lot.
Anonymous Girl, 19 years old
You can beat this. First, let's deal with not wanting to go to a psychologist. Please read this. Its first few words are:
"You do NOT need to be crazy to benefit from seeing a psychologist."
"Everybody has problems. Sometimes, these problems are terribly serious, and yet the person copes: finds solutions that make things better, or learns to live with the situation."
"However, sometimes the problem stays unbearable, or even gets worse and worse. That's when a highly trained helper is invaluable."
If you have a painful tooth, you seek a dentist. If you have painful moods and emotions, seek a psychologist.
You are clearly highly intelligent, believe it or not. You have analysed your situation, and explained your current problems as well as I could have, and written about them in a foreign language. So, your poor results in school were not because of lack of ability, but because you hated being pushed, and because so much of your mental energy was taken up by your depression. When you apply your intelligence to your food addiction, you will beat it. Read my research-based guide for beating an addiction. The page is about cigarettes, but you can adapt it to food.
In a similar way, you will find a book designed to help alcoholics very useful. It describes a method that will be perfect for you. It is Alcohemy by David Norman. Here is the link for buying the Kindle version in Germany.
The last issue I want to talk with you about is your relationship with your mother. I can see how her actions have been harmful, but I suspect you have got her motives wrong. I think she saw your intelligence from an early age, and pushed you because she was sure you could do better than anyone else in your family. She has wanted you to become a professional because she has wanted a better life for you, not necessarily because she wanted you to do anything for her. All the same, the damage has been done. I ask you to do your best to forgive her. That will liberate you from a great load, and make it easier for you to cure yourself of your addiction, and of your depression.
You are now 19 years old: officially an adult. It is time for you to take charge of your life. Your passion is fashion design, not teaching. I don't know if you have the skills and abilities for that kind of artistic work, but you probably have a good idea. Try it out in your spare time. Read up on it, and if it seems practical, change your training to that field.
I hope we can stay in contact, so you can join my worldwide tribe of grandchildren.
Your new grandfather,