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Personal Issue: About feeling helpless

From time to time we all feel a little vulnerable and helpless. Some of us more often than others but mostly we can recover and build new strength. But we all probably know what its like to feel helpless. And I not only mean feeling helpless for ourselves but especially for others. So, I came to ask the question: why do we sometimes feel so helpless? What are these situations and is it possible to overcome them?

I never thought that I would be picking up this kind off topic in a blog post but lately I figured it would be a good platform to talk about it. In my environment I have discovered a high rate of people facing eating disorders. I think this stems from the fact that I constantly work with girls from the age 13 to 18 and I have watched some of them grow up. From being a kid to becoming a teenager, struggling with various life issues. We have all been through this age or a currently still facing the last years of it. Some get through it easily and some are overstrained with the situation. And yes, puberty is a horrible time.

My puberty was pretty easy I would guess. When I ask my Mum today she says there were no extremes. Of course we had our fights, which we still have sometimes today. And the question of “How long can I go out tonight?” was of course a normal one during this time. But there are also other people, facing major problems and fighting self-doubt, depression, body problems, doubt and uncertainty. And those, who I talked to, never want to go back to the age of 15/16.

And for myself, I also never want to be 16 or even 19 again. Not because I didn’t like the time, it was still a great time with amazing friends; school was annoying everyone but we had a good time going to cafés, the lake and home parties. But today I feel so much comfortable and much more satisfied with me. I like the fact that time has shaped my self-confidence and expended my horizon.

And you actually start to think that you don’t have to feel helpless anymore. But than there are these situations that are just uncontrollable. Which is the case when it comes to friends and  problems that are not solvable instantly.

So, why am I opening up about eating disorders? First of all: I’m not facing any eating disorder problems myself. Of course I try to eat healthy and don’t overdose certain products but if I want to eat something special, I will eat it. If you came here to read about my possible health problems, than I have to disappoint you. This entry is about how I came across this topic and why I just felt so helpless when this situation popped up in my life.

During school I knew two girls who were facing problems with eating. Back then we were little informed about the whole topic. In our LER class (a class focusing on life, ethic and religion) we had a small segment informing us about various eating disorders. But, who really thinks about this topic more closely when being in school and fighting your own puberty problems? I never talked to these two girls and today I feel absolutely devastated that I didn’t do it.

Lately, eating disorders have appeared more often in my surrounding and therefore I figured that its time to learn more about it in order to take action according to the problem. But where do you start?

I tried to look up locations in Potsdam where you could actually go to and be directly informed about the topic. I feel that there is a flood of information on the internet but reading it all dose’t help me. I want to learn more about those eating disorders, what are possible triggers, how do I bring up the topic when I feel that someone is struggling an eating disorder and what should I actually give her or him as an advice? Questions over questions and somehow dissatisfying answers.

My next step took me to the library. As a student I luckily am able to lend books from all the university libraries and have discovered some books worth reading. Of course there are various books and I just couldn’t look up all of them but a handful already gives a good insight to the topic. Furthermore you can find good articles on the internet by using the Google Scholar search.

So, after being helpless in this situation (a few times actually) I decided to change this fact and get informed, take action and don’t just let the person alone with the problem. Of course we always have to face situations were we are helpless but if we have been in such a state once, we want to overcome it and never go back to it. I saw too many girls already suffering eating disorders and I can’t stand there anymore, letting this all just happen. We all can’t just be or become therapists but we can try to be more aware of certain topics.
I won’t be able to change anything directly and easily but at least I have decided to try and be a possible contact person.

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