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College, roommates, and bulimia

GuestAgainGuestAgain 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited August 17 in Women's Colleges
I’m currently recovering from bulimia. I live in a triple (2 girls). I’ve been able to get in touch with one of my roommates and we’ve gotten along pretty well. The other I haven’t heard from. This is my freshman year of college and I’m brand new to recovery. Move in day is in a few days. I think within the next upcoming weeks I could be on a personal level with the roommate I’m talking with. Thank you! (Also first post :)) Should I tell them I’m recovering?
edited August 17
14 replies
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Replies to: College, roommates, and bulimia

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2095 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wait a while... like weeks or months. Everyone is getting along now, but you'll know by December or January if you want to consider rooming with these girls another year. If things fall apart, you don't need personal information about yourself out there for gossip.

    OTOH, you may need a support system, and you should have one. Try and find one through the school's student health office or whatever system they have in place.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5580 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It depends. If you want to tell them so that they don't encourage you to "fall off the wagon" (so to speak!), yes, I think it's fine. And that should come in the form of a request for what you need from them. ("I haven't had the healthiest relationship with food, and it's okay if you want to xyz , but I would really appreciate it if you....)

    If you are thinking of sharing as an insight into where you are in your life, you may want to wait until you feel you can trust them.

    In either case, you should consider how you will feel if others, beyond those two, know. It is unlikely that it'll remain a secret among the 3 of you.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1642 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sharing something very personal is something you want to do with people you trust. It takes time to develop and build that trust. For those reasons I would not share.

    I agree you will need a support system. Have you found a local counselor, support group or doctor in the area you will be going to college? Will you be able to have regular visits as needed?

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  • GuestAgainGuestAgain 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Sharing something very personal is something you want to do with people you trust. It takes time to develop and build that trust. For those reasons I would not share.

    I agree you will need a support system. Have you found a local counselor, support group or doctor in the area you will be going to college? Will you be able to have regular visits as needed?
    Yes. I’ve gotten in touch with a counselor (4 visits a year are free, everything else is paid), I know there’s a nutritionist there too but I’m not sure the cost. I should be able to have regular visits assuming I have a part time job to afford it. I’ll look into a support group but I live in the middle of nowhere. Thank you for your response, I want to tell them for support and to be honest with them
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8835 replies324 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What do you mean you want to tell your roommates "for support"? I understand you're new to recovery so you may not have had the chance for much counseling yet, but it's important that you understand that the parents of your roommates are sending them to college for an education. They aren't qualified to be a support system for another student's medical issues and you really shouldn't ask them to be. If you're not ready to handle college on your own with the support of the health network your college and insurance provides maybe you should consider a gap year.
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  • GuestAgainGuestAgain 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    What do you mean you want to tell your roommates "for support"? I understand you're new to recovery so you may not have had the chance for much counseling yet, but it's important that you understand that the parents of your roommates are sending them to college for an education. They aren't qualified to be a support system for another student's medical issues and you really shouldn't ask them to be. If you're not ready to handle college on your own with the support of the health network your college and insurance provides maybe you should consider a gap year.
    Yeah you’re right, that’s not fair to them. I just want an open relationship with them, you know? But I didn’t think about how it would affect them (I’m tired of hiding my disorder I guess is my point and putting myself out there gives less of a chance of relapse). I most definitely cannot take a gap year but I will take your advice. Thank you for giving me the perspective of them too
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6971 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP- My D's roommate has a major chronic illness. She was very transparent about her illness almost from day one. My D and the other roommates were very supportive and have her parents' contact information in case she gets sick and they need to reach them.

    I'm not sure you need to disclose immediately but I'm sure you can feel out your new roommates to see if you think they'll be supportive. I do agree that you can't use them as a support group, but you should be able to count on friends to have your back if they see something concerning.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1642 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    First make friends with people. Relationships take time to develop. Once you believe you have true friends who can be trusted and want to share personal information, then you share any history past or present you wish to. You have to let relationships form first. You don't disclose until you actually know people and consider them good and close friends.

    Agreed, your roommates are there to share space, the college experience, and possibly a friendship. Their role is not your support system although that may develop.
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 728 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    I agree with @austinmshauri . What supportive role would you want them to play if, god forbid, you relapse? Would you want them to tell your mom? The RA? One of my kids had a roommate with depression and it got pretty bad. The anxiety of not knowing what do to had an impact on her grades and her mental well being. She wanted to do the right thing but didn't know what that was.

    I also think disclosing your diagnosis can be different from going to others for support. The first is an attempt to live openly and the second something that could arise naturally as you become close with friends.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8835 replies324 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why can't you take a gap year if you need/want one? You can ask the college to defer for a year due to medical reasons.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5580 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP, if one of your goals, as stated, is to stop hiding this, then yes, just telling them could be helpful to you. I would recommend talking this through with your current therapist who will likely be helpful in guiding you on this. It'll help you work through the how as well as your expectations.

    I think your goal shows courage as well as being on the way to wholeness. Congratulations.
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  • GuestAgainGuestAgain 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you to everyone for your replies. I think I’m going to keep it to myself (still doing therapy) for at least a month, and if one of my roommates confides in me something equally serious, I might confide in them too, but most likely not. They need to worry about school first and foremost. That’s what support groups are for
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  • ItisatruthItisatruth 287 replies22 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hey, OP: first, congratulations on being on the road to recovery with a really challenging condition. I think it's fantastic that you are lining up support resources and getting prepared to tackle school with success during recovery. My daughter started college about 15 months into recovery from anorexia, and in her case it was a huge help to her to share some basic facts with her roommates in part so that it didn't seem like a huge secret. As you probably know, eating disorders of all kinds are very common among women in your age group and you are likely to find many other classmates and friends in the same position. Sharing your situation may also mean that you can support and inspire others who are struggling but maybe haven't yet sought medical treatment and counseling. Sharing this with your roommates doesn't have to be a big "reveal" deal-- could be as simple as "I'm really excited, I found out that there is a Tuesday night support group for people with eating disorders and I think it's going to a good way to help with my recovery process."
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  • MassmommMassmomm 3896 replies81 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @GuestAgain you don't need to decide this now. Wait until you get there and get to know your suite mates for a while. If they are confidante material, you'll know soon enough. But the most important thing you can do is to connect with support on campus. There will likely be a group for those recovering from bulimia and other ED. You're going to need help as the stress really ramps up. Try to find a therapist off campus, as the mental health services in college are only for short term, not for people with chronic conditions. Do this now and set yourself up for success.
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