Disorders & Eating Disorders

How To Find A Job When You’re A Teen Living With A Mental Health Disorder

pets 1356191 640

Finding a job when you're a teenager is easy if you're just looking for something to help you earn cash over the summer; fast food restaurants and retail shops are always on the lookout for eager and willing young people who have flexible schedules. However, if you're a teen with a mental health or mood disorder - such as anxiety, OCD, or depression - it can be very difficult to find employment that doesn't require you to work with the public or in a crowded, noisy place.

There are some options available to you if you know where to look, however. Here are some of the best jobs to look for.

Dog boarding and dog walking

Working from home is not always an option for teens, but being a dog boarder or pet sitter allows you to do just that. Taking care of other people's pets is a way to earn cash while bonding with an animal from the comfort of your own home; just make sure you meet any necessary age requirements and double check that it's cool with your parents or roommate. Once you're up and running as a pet sitter, create a checklist of information to get from each of your clients regarding their pet's routines and any medications they may need before the owner leaves.

Another great option is dog walking. If you need something with flexible hours that's close to home, seek out clients who need a responsible person to come let out their dog while they're at work or out of town; you might even be able to find something within walking distance of your own home. Double-plus bonus? Working with animals is extremely soothing and is recommended for people suffering with many different types of disorders.

Camp counselor

While working with kids requires some patience, it can also be a wonderful way to fill your days and earn money doing something worthwhile, and it can also be a big self-esteem boost. Little ones will likely look up to you and learn from what you teach, which can help garner your confidence.

Office work

Working in an office setting can be great for people with anxiety, because it provides stability and the knowledge that each day will be structured a certain way. It's also a good way to keep stress levels down, especially if you can find a business that doesn't require too much outside of paperwork, answering phones, or filing.


If solitude is what you're looking for, you might consider looking for a job in the field of housekeeping or office cleaning. These jobs are usually very flexible and will allow you to work alone or with a small team to get the job done. Large office buildings, hotels, and museums are just a few of the places you might look for work.

Prep work/cook

Let's face it: there are bound to be more jobs in the foodservice industry that are available to young people than many other businesses, so use it to your advantage. Many restaurants need cooks or people to come in early and do prep work - such as cutting up foods and getting everything put into the right containers for the day - and these are largely solitary jobs that offer flexible hours.

Photo via Pixabay by a348363899

Eating Disorders And The Stigmas That Come With Them

It's estimated that eating disorders affect around ten million Americans over the course of their lifetime, yet there is still so much that is misunderstood or simply not known about them. For many who suffer with these disorders, the guilt and shame that come with them stem from the stigmas that surround bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating, stigmas that friends and family members might associate with them.

desperate 2100307 960 720For instance, many people don't believe that men can suffer from an eating disorder, while others believe that a person living with one of these disorders can stop the behavior at any time and get healthy. In reality, while men are far less likely than women to suffer from an eating disorder, they are very much susceptible. And because these disorders are a mental health issue, getting healthy must be done in a way that incorporates therapy or counseling, sometimes for the rest of the sufferer's life.

It's important for the general public to understand that eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice; rather, they are very real problems that affect a person's daily life, relationships, and health and can even lead to death. And while each disorder presents different symptoms and issues, they do have similarities that can be taken as warning signs by friends and family members. These warning signs are important, because they offer a chance for the sufferer to receive help early on, which increases the possibility of recovery.

Some of the most common warning signs of an eating disorder include:

  • Watching calorie intake fiercely
  • Becoming obsessed with exercise
  • Eating quite a bit at the dinner table but excusing themselves immediately afterward
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating only low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Sudden or severe mood swings

The consequences that come with eating disorders can include severe health risks and can lead to heart and kidney issues, hair loss, stroke, changes in bone density, and death. Unfortunately, eating disorders can also lead to drug or alcohol abuse as the sufferer attempts to curb their appetite or cope with the consequences of their decisions.

It's especially important to deal with substance abuse immediately, so if you suspect your loved one has a problem with drugs or alcohol, let them know they are not alone. Offer to help them find a counselor, support group, or therapist. Remember that, even though you may want to help, there is only so much you can do. Try to be patient as your loved one attempts recovery, because it is never an easy path.

It's important to remember that some of the stigmas surrounding eating disorders deal with the disorder itself; for instance, anorexia and bulimia are two of the most common forms, but they are not the only ones. Eating disorders are a complex combination of mental health and environmental factors and can include a wide variety of behaviors, such as starvation, chewing food and spitting it out, induced vomiting, over-exercising, and abusing diet pills, drinks, or laxatives. All of these behaviors can have serious physical effects.

Image via Pixabay by Olichel

What is Beauty? - An Anorexic's Tale.

For many years, I thought that I had done so many things wrong in my life that nothing good I did was worth anything. I kind of felt as though the good things I did were overshadowed by my many wrong doings. Publicly, I wrote this great facade of being this oh-so-confident person but in private, I thought I was never going to be accepted because I thought I never could reach an ideal weight. I honestly believed that I was accepted by the people because of how I looked. I thought that the smaller I was the more people would like me and want to befriend me. I don't know how I did it but the summer between my eighth and ninth grade year, I lost forty pounds, without even trying to. People began to comment on it, and, for the first time in my life, strangers would turn their heads as I walked by. I thought that that made me a special person. Soon it became my intention not to eat. My goal was not initially, to lose weight: it was to not gain any weight back. But then several crisis entered my life simultaneously and I was very lonely, very afraid and very uncertain about whether anyone cared about me, so I began to focus on losing weight. I would have kept right on losing weight had it not been for my best friend. One day, he took my face between his hands and he said, "Tiffini, do you really want to die?"

He was near tears and in all the many years I'd known him, he'd never once cried. It shook me terribly and I realized that I was working so hard to maintain what I felt was a decent weight (which was actually 22 pounds under weight) that I was not allowing myself to feel any happiness at all. My days had somehow managed to become burdens; lost in avoiding food, throwing the food I was given away, making up half-truths about why I had suddenly become "pale as a living ghost" and dodging the "Are you even eating?" questions. It has taken me a very long time to realize that I am no different from everyone else. See, I was so used to holding myself to stricter standards than everyone else that I had begun to feel lower than the very people I admired and loved, people who were healthy. I believe that too many times young people and adults base their actions (such as losing weight and then more weight) on what they think everyone else thinks of them. They think everyone sees them as overweight, creating the image of themselves as overweight and so they become anorexic. They think everyone sees them as selfish, so they become compulsive do-gooders. The problem exists because in trying too hard to do what they think will bring acceptance and love into their lives that they lose sight of what's really important and good things that are in their lives. No one really knows what others think but we do know that we were created equally by a God that loves us, and He's most happy when we're happy. If we're starving ourselves, then how can we possibly be happy? I have finally begun to understand that real beauty, (beauty that is worth finding and beauty that is worth being proud of) comes from the heart. It comes from caring about your friends and your family, it comes from doing the things that you know to be right, and it comes from acceptance of yourself for who you are, instead of who you think you should be.

It is still sometimes difficult for me to remember all that though. Sometimes I will still stand straight up and look down. If I see a "pudge" I will still sometimes panic but I have learned of a way that helps me through those moments. It's a method that helps anyone, for it helps boost self-esteem and if you have self-esteem then the need to please other people is lowered. Every day, I write 5 good things down about myself. Sometimes it's, "I like my eyes" and sometimes it's "I worked hard today" but I write 5 different things down that I can take pride in. I take that list out and I re-read it and re-read it again. It helps me balance my sometimes irrational and inaccurate thoughts with more realistic ones. We are not all bad and I have never met a truly physically ugly person, ever. Remember that you are no different from anyone else: you have beautiful qualities about you just as your favorite model or actress does. And keep in mind that those spirits that are genuinely happy radiate beauty, from the inside out.

"Do I Really Lack Self-Control?" Compulsive Over-Eating

Originally posted on http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/svp/uhs/eating/eating-selfcontrol.htm

What is it?

Compulsive over-eating is characterized by uncontrollable eating followed by feelings of guilt and shame. It is different from bulimia in that it does not involve any purging. While it inevitably results in weight gain, it is also not to be confused with obesity. Not everyone who is overweight has an eating disorder.

Why do it?

While people who compulsively over-eat are usually very preoccupied with issues of food, eating, and weight, their uncontrollable bouts of eating are an attempt to manage other hidden issues. That is, the compulsive over-eater uses food to cope with stress, upset, emotional distress, and other problems (i.e., depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem). However, the negative feelings blocked by the over-eating are only momentarily avoided, as the person inevitably feels guilty, shameful, and even defective about the over-eating.

How does it start?

Compulsive over-eating generally has a gradual beginning, often starting in early childhood when eating patterns are formed. It usually starts very subtly, with a child turning to food whenever she or he is upset. Over time, that person learns that food in fact will soothe the upset feelings. The destructive pattern continues as the person does not learn to trust that feelings pass and that she/he is capable of self-soothing without food.

Why is it so hard to stop?

Like someone with bulimia, the person who compulsively over-eats has usually tried every way they can think of to stop. Often the attempt at control takes the form of rigorous dieting or living by inflexible standards of eating. While strict dieting may help intermittently with the weight gain, in the long run it doesn't do anything to remedy the emotional reasons for the compulsive over-eating. Moreover, restrictive dieting is so depriving that it creates a situation of compounded desperation to eat. Therefore, dieting often backfires and just perpetuates the compulsive overeating.

Misunderstanding and prejudice

Compulsive overeating has only recently come to be taken seriously and straightforwardly in our culture. Prejudicial impressions remain very strong. People with this kind of disordered eating are often stereotyped as lazy and gluttonous, or, at best, as having too big an appetite and lacking in willpower or self-control. Their pain is then overlooked not only by themselves but also by many of us.


Recovery is completely possible for compulsive overeaters through a gradual process of lifestyle change and with the help of others. Along with the medical, psychotherapeutic and nutritional assistance helpful to anyone with distorted eating habits, oftentimes groups such as Overeaters Anonymous are very useful.


Website: Overeaters Anonymous - http://www.oa.org



"Starving To Death: Literally" - Information On Anorexia Nervosa

"Gosh, how fat can I get?" This is a thought that crosses many teens' minds. I'm sure that if you're a teenage girl (or boy) you probably are agreeing with me. Don't get me wrong! Being concerned with you're weight is alright, sometimes. But concern can turn into an obsession and that is where it gets ugly.

Anorexia Nervosa is only one of the eating disorders that strike young teens today. Defined from the medical dictionary CancerWeb, anorexia is "the uncontrolled lack or loss of the appetite for food." Too many adolescents see that this disorder is a simple solution to their weight issues. Of course, I can understand that because it's a "quick and easy way to lose weight," but in reality it's the worst solution. It is what I call, a slow death trap.

At first anorexics don't seem to be suffering, but that's what makes the disorder so awful. An understandable thing to compare it with is cancer. At first cancer is unnoticeable because it starts out small, but once it spreads and gets larger, it almost seems hopeless to make it go away. It is the same thing with Anorexia. It gets bigger and bigger until its too large for the scrawny body its attacking. Then it's just stuck there.

As a past anorexic, I feel obligated to send the message out to other teens that anorexia is really not the way to go. It's a terrible habit and it gets you extremely sick. Do you know why it gets you sick? Because you're immune system gets so weak from not eating, it can't fight off a simple cold. People who start starving themselves think that they will lose all their fat. They are far from being correct. When you don't eat, your body goes into a starvation mode and says, "hey I'm not getting the certain things I need to give me energy, strength, and warmth, so I got to keep this fat." So really, you keep your fat, but you lose your muscle. Starting to get the picture?

There are physical things that happen to an anorexic's body that is just repulsive. Because they don't get the nutrition they need to keep them warm, they grow more hair then the body needs. Getting absolutely toothpick thin isn't exactly attractive either. Oh yeah, and if you like you're hair real thick and beautiful, you probably shouldn't become anorexic as your hair becomes thinner from lack of nutrients.

Although there are physical changes in an anorexic, there are also mental changes. Like I said before, losing weight becomes an obsession and that can mess up someone's self esteem and pride. When someone is obsessed with their weight they will do anything to keep food out of their stomach, even puke becoming an anorexic and bulimic. When it does get to the point of throwing up, it's harder and harder to get better. That's where denial comes in. Denial, denial, denial. It's the number one sign of a disorder. Denial can lead to A BUNCH of psychotic problems, which is obviously not very exciting.

So anyway, for the sake of the teens of today's world, spread the word about anorexia nervosa. Make it seem as if it were the worst thing in the world, cause it IS on that list! If you are currently anorexic, PLEASE GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.