Eating Disorders
  • Well folks, I've had concerns floating around in my head over my friend whose been showing signs of having an bulemia. Problem is I can't tell if she really is or not. :huh: I've checked out other websites such as webmd and such and I was just plain unsatisfied with my results.

    Really, I can't let something such as an eating disorder persist as it does have a long list of other health problems. But at the same time I want to be able to find out from her whether she is or not simply because of my concern.

    So, any of you have any suggestions? I've come to you guys before and have gotten satisfying answers. So I'm coming to you all again.

    Your thoughts please. -_-

    How exactly would you talk to someone very close to you about this?
  • Oh boy, this is a tough situation for you to be going through!! :hug:

    Since you say that she is someone very close to you, then I would suggest honest openness, to start with. Set a time that you'd be able to be together with her, just the two of you, and then tell her that you are her friend, and therefor that you care for her very much, so you've got to tell her that you're seeing "X, Y and Z" signs and you're concerned for her safety. (of course, you should use your own wording). "I've seen you do 'this', and I've noticed that at 'these' times you do 'such&such', but I never see 'so-and-so', and I'm worried that you may be bulemic."... name the signs, whatever they may be. Do not let her laugh it off and tell you that you are being silly, say again (and again and again and again if you have to) that there are these signs and signals and that you really need to make sure that she is not putting her life in jeopardy.

    Ok, aside from openly discussing your concerns with her, I would also discuss them with her parents. (privately, without her knowing about it). I know I know, it's awful to feel like you're being a 'rat'.. then again, it's infinitely more awful to be standing at her funeral never having said anything. Yes, it is *that* serious!! Suggest to your friend and to her parents (separately, if you feel that they'd be more receptive that way) that your friend should go see her doctor to have a good long chat with him/her. This doctor visit should be without parents!!! Also, this will be more beneficial if she has a good relationship with her doctor. We all know how hard it is to open up to someone that we don't really feel comfortable with. I'm hoping that she has a family doctor whom she's seen for years and with whom she has had a chance to build up a rapport. If she opens up enough to set up that appointment with her doctor, let her know that you are available to go to her appointment with her. She may really appreciate the moral support of having you there!

    That's about all I can think of Honey, but if I come up with any other ideas, I'll let you know!! I had a beloved co-worker who had sever eating disorders as a young adult and she is very open to discuss that time in her life with me, so I'll email her and ask her what she suggests too.
  • In this situation you definitely have to display an "I understand" attitude but without making her feel too much like you are suggesting there is something wrong with her to start off with. She will be really sensitive about it and reluctant to discuss it to start off with but if you can manage to level with her and just explain you want to talk to her about it she will eventually open up.

    If you arent sure if it is actually an eating disorder just try and catch her at a time after you think she has been in the toilet and you think she has been throwing up. Just ask her if she is sick in a general fashion, if she tries to avoid the question then take her by the shoulders, tell her you care about her and that you want to make sure she is ok.

    The key is subtlety when it comes to eating disorders because they either deny that they have it or just dont beleive that they do. One main thing to remember is that it is a disorder, not a state of mind, its not something she can just snap out of. It has to be treated just like any other disorder, if she does have a disorder the best thing you can do for her is get her into a clinic straight away.

    Good luck Red.
  • I dont envy you with this one bit red. What are the signs you have seen?

    I would do what lethal suggests and when you think she is being sick - ask her if she is sick.

    I would set yourself up for a hard going tho - chances are if she isnt ready to talk to you yet she isnt ready to accept their is a problem. And, like alcoholics and gamblers etc etc until they admit there is a problem they wont begin to help themselves.

    If she admits she has a problem - book her an appointment at her own GP - or one at school, or yours if she feel she cannot talk to them - go along with her for support and offer to be there with her when she needs you. It will be a hard battle for her

    If she wont admit she has a problem - and you are stillsure there is a problem then i would then go to her parents or a teacher or another adult responsible - An elder sister or aunt?? Ask them to say that THEY discovered the signs too and then your friend may feel it is obvious to everyone and decide to get help.

    I really hope that your friend is OK red, and she gets all the help and support she needs - but to have a friend like you to notice she has a problem - Your pure gold!!!!!!!

  • oddish, I have PM'd you the signs I have seen. Would post them here in a post but I felt some of them could be a little too gut churning.

    Thanks for the responses folks. Really helps me out to know I can come to you guys with things as troubling as this. Have chatted with my boyfriend about it and he says I should probably inquire from others whom know her and know her just as well...but then they might just be as suspicious as I am and not really confirm anything.

    Right now a private moment is really probably the best option but I'm not exactly sure how I could go about speaking to her without coming off as though I am accusing her of "X, Y and Z". I did talk to my sister about this and intend to speak to my dad about it as well. Sister said to not let it slip by because if I have the chance and I don't take it and things spin out of control then I am guilty as a friend for not doing anything.

    Sister kind of had the same sort of situation going on a few years back and ended up "ratting" her friend out but later he came back to her crying thanking her for standing up and taking care of it and seeking him proper care.
  • Red, after reading the PM i would say that you seem to be correct on your suspicions. If you kaid it down to her just as you have told me then i dont think she can escape from it. It sounds to me like she is crying for help. - i would just sit down with her somewhere on neutral ground and just spell it out to her. I dont mean to be harsh but sometimes if you dont lay things down on the line then they may not realise how serious it is.

    As hard as it may be - if she pushes you away and starts to become defensive and upset - then let her scream and shout - show her your not judging her. She may be desperate for someone to find out what she is doing so she can admit she has a problem.

    Dont threaten or issue ultimatums, listen to her explanations and if you are not 110% convinced then thats when u need to speak to someone else.

    At the end of the day, this is her life on the line. She may not thank you for it straight away but when she gets the help she needs im sure things will work out.

    And im here if you need me - Just stick by her - she is lucky to have a friend like you
  • I remember going through it!! when my sister had her bout with this....I envy you not Red. :(
  • Red, you've been on the receiving end of some good advice so far, and I'd like to add to it.

    First of all, consult the Diagnostic Services Manual or DSM. It's currently out in the fourth edition and called the DSM IV. I'm sure you can find it in your local library, if you don't wish to purchase one.

    In the section under Eating Disorders, Bulimia Nervosa will be listed. Compare the listed criteria for diagnosing the disorder against your friend's behavior. You are not a psychotherapist, so you will not be able to nail the diagnosis, but you should surely be able to determine if she shows traits of the disorder.

    If your friend is not suffering from Bulimia, she may have another eating disorder, or she may not have an eating disorder at all, but some other condition which is manifesting itself in a manner that looks like an eating disorder.

    Regardless of what it is that's eating her (no pun intended) , as with compulsive behaviors and addictions, interventions can be effective in cracking the denial necessary for this type of self-destructive behavior to exist. However, a poorly performed intervention can simply exacerbate your friend's state. If you are interested in arranging an intervention for your friend, PM me. I can set you up with a capable person in your area. I am on good terms with an outstanding therapist in the San Gabriel Valley, and this is his cup of tea.

    Denial is the biggest problem facing your friend right now. She cannot clearly see her current state, or it would not continue. Helping her to break her denial will be your greatest challenge.

    At the end of the day, you must realize that this is not your fault, and you can't fix it. You can encourage your friend to seek help, and then she's on her own. I absolutely want you to do everything you can for your friend, but I also want you to realize that you aren't responsible in any way, if it goes well or not. If you can get her to seek professional help with this problem, you have done all that you can do, besides being supportive and remaining her friend.

    If I can be of any assistance, I am happy to help. PM me for contact information.
  • Well folks, thanks for all of your advice and prayers and helpful encouragement and such. It really helped me smile sometimes when I got most worried.

    My friend has been house sitting with me all week and I have not seen any symptoms at all of any bulemia nervosa. So I think there is nothing to worry about. She hasn't rushed to the toilet after eating a lot so I'm encouraged all the more. Perhaps being around me helps her out a bit, but she has not had to rush to the toilet since she started house sitting with me.

    I'm truly encouraged and relieved to say I don't believe that bulemia is really a problem with her anymore.

    Thanks again guys for your support and kind words. It certainly meant the world to me to hear different ways to go about asking or evaluating. :clap:

    I love you guys!! :wub:
  • We love you too Pup!!! :wub: Very glad to see that things are looking more "normal" with your friend these past days while she's been so close to you! Hopefully the trend will keep up! Being the good friend that you are, I know you'll still continue to keep an eye on her though.