News & Politics

Secret Life of Teens: Meet Caroline

A 17-year-old Maryland private-school girl wrestles with an eating disorder and a drug-dealer boyfriend.

Editor’s Note: To protect the kids’ confidentiality, pseudonyms and photographs of models have been used.

“I love shopping and spending my parents’ money. I’ve never had a job aside from babysitting, which I hate. I have no sense of the value of money, because I have a credit card that’s attached to my parents’ account.

“A normal shopping trip would be around $150. I go shopping about twice a week, but I don’t always buy stuff. During exam week, when we just had school in the morning, I went to the mall every day. If I buy one thing that’s more than $100, I’ll call my mom first. She’s usually okay with it. . . .

“I have an eating disorder. I’m in treatment now. It’s funny that I go to rehab and my druggie friends don’t. I pass out all the time because I’m so weak. In a typical day, I eat a banana and maybe some peanut butter or crackers. Or I eat a PowerBar. Those keep me full, sort of. I’m worried about gaining weight. . . .

“To stay awake, I use Red Bull and Adderall. One of my friends has a prescription for Adderall. A lot of kids use it. It makes me feel really, really focused. I usually take 20 milligrams. It lasts for a good ten hours. I don’t take it often, only when I really, really have to—I’ve used it only four or five times.

“I think it would help my performance in school so much, even if I could just take 10 mg every day. I’d like to ask my parents if I could get a prescription, but that would require admitting that I’ve taken it. . . .

“My boyfriend does coke and is a drug dealer. At first the fact that we were so different was kind of cute. I’m the good girl, and he’s sort of the rebel. But now it’s like, ‘Okay, this has been fun, but we really don’t have anything in common.’

“I don’t think I have a future with him. Last night was his prom, and he took another girl. I’ve tried to break up with him multiple times, but I have a problem with hurting people and I know it would hurt him a lot. He’s good with the lines—‘You’re the only thing I’ve ever wanted to fight for in my life’ and blah, blah, blah. I buy it every time. All my friends hate him. My mom just met him a couple weeks ago and thought he was nice and cute.”