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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » My friend is anorexic.

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Author Topic: My friend is anorexic.
Serenademe
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Hi.
I found out about 3 months ago that one of my best friends (who i've known since I was born) is anorexic. She's 17 years old and she'll be 18 on September 12th.
She BARELY eats, if she even eats at all; and she excerises like CRAZY. (i.e -One time she rode her bike to my other friends house which is like 6 miles away or more. & she rode it back to her house. = 12 miles of bike riding).
Her mom also knows that she's anorexic. But my friend wont admit that she is. Whenever her mom brings it up, she says she's moving out the day she turns 18 & that she's not going to speak to her mom again. She hasnt talked to her for a few weeks now. This past month she's lost over 10 pounds and is down to a size 0 or 00. She's about 5'8 or 5'9 & probably only 100 lbs.
I dont know what to do. I want to help my friend get through this, but I dont know how. She's seen her doctor a few times, & her doctor is JUST now getting the idea that she "MIGHT" be anorexic. But they're not doing anything about it, because they say that she'll be 18 soon so it'll be harder for her to receive treatment since she'll be an adult soon & she won't even say she has anorexia.

Any ideas on how I can help her? Or what I can do. I dont want her to die. [Frown]

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Heather
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That's one lazy doctor she's got herself there. a GOOD doctor would draw a very different conclusion: that that window being smaller, NOW would be the time to get proactive.

I'm so sorry you're so scared and worried about your friend: it's valid to be scared and worried, but eating disorders are very, very tough to deal with and when someone you care for has one, it's easy to feel incredibly helpless.

Have YOU talked to her about it? In a way that makes it about you? Such as, "I'm just really scared you won't live long enough or stay healthy enough over time for us to always be friends. I know it may not be something that worries you, or maybe what you weigh just matters so much more, but it matters a lot to me."

You might also consider giving her a good book on the topic, especially something first person. I really like Marya Hornbacher's "Wasted," Lori Gottleib's "Stick Figure," or "Thin Enough" by Sheryle Cruise, or "Solitaire" by Aimee Liu.

I prefer giving those books to more clinical manuals because sometimes, a more personal approach -- especially from someone who did manage to recover, but still expresses her struggles very well and very authentically -- sends it home more effectively.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LittleMissSunshine
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I just had a few things to add here. Being the friend of someone diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified-basically someone who may not fit ALL requirements for a diagnosis of Anorexia or Bulimia, but still has very disordered eating).

If you plan on talking with her about her Anorexia, I've found that making sure YOU are educated about her disease is very important. From the sounds of it, you're being very supportive of her, and that's vital in her current saftey and hopeful recovery. Knowing more about what she's going through makes it much easier for her to talk to you, and it shows that you want to help her get headed in the right direction. Some sites that I've found very helpful are...

www.something-fishy.org
www.edap.org

Best of luck to you and your friend!

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-Lauren-
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(What an awesome contribution, LMS! [Smile] )
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nomad42
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If someone has the stamina to ride a bike that far, with a small bodyfat percentage, and has not collapsed on the way back, then she probably knows what she's doing.

I do a lot of endurance running, and if you don't eat then there's no way your body can keep up with you.

Try telling your friend that eating won't make her gain weight, and getting her daily dose of vitamins, some carbs and proteins will really boost her energy without adding weight or fat.

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Gumdrop Girl
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Nomad, anorexia isn't as much of a problem in India the way it is in the Western world.

This girl's friend is clearly exhibiting problems with body image and compulsive behavior. In the context of anorexia, this is VERY dangerous. While her body hasn't collapsed yet, she could fail very soon. Anorexia -- above all else -- is a mental disease, and the girl definitely needs help.

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nomad42
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Anorexia is merely loss of appetite, but if the image consciousness kicks in, then there is a problem.

Either way, you are right and the girl needs help. A friend of mine started doing the same thing, keeping off of food and she ended up just fainting after a while, and was taken to the doctor.

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Leabug
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Anorexia is not just a loss of appetite. Anorexia is an eating disorder, which involves obsession with what one eats, and a distorted body image of one's self.

Check out this link for more information on what anorexia is: http://69.7.225.164/teen/your_mind/mental_health/eat_disorder.html

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Lea

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Serenademe
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So, i talked to my friend. (by the way..thanks for all the links to those sites & everything too. they were helpful.)
I told her I was really worried about her & everything. Most of the time I talked..she just had a blank expression on her face, no emotion. And she was staring at something off in a distance...like she wasnt even in the same world as me. I dont know if she even heard most of the stuff i said. But she did answer some of the things i would say. She didnt ever tell me she was anorexic, but she did say she liked feeling 'fit & in shape.' & then she just got up & said that "I would believe her that she wasnt anorexic if I was a true friend. But she'd forgive me & forget that we even had this little talk."
At that point, I didnt know what to say. It seems like she's changing. Before she was outgoing, always polite, etc. Now its like she doesnt have a filter in her head. She says whatever she wants, she's very laid-back now. It's like she a whole different person. Her 18th birthday is coming up soon, September 11th. I dont know what I can do anymore though. [Confused] [Frown]

[ 08-12-2007, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: Serenademe ]

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LittleMissSunshine
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Hey Seranademe...My hands are a bit full at the moment, but I'm going to answer your questions and try to help you out later today...

I'm sure someone else will answer soon too!

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Serenademe
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Okay! Thank you!
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Heather
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Unfortunately, when someone is deeply in denial, there really isn't much of anything you CAN do, especially as a friend, rather than as a doctor or therapist. Now, given the way she was seeming to try and assert a sort of control over you with that last statement, it does sound like she is somewhat aware she's got a real problem here, but it also sounds like she's just not at a point where she's going to seek out help or support yet.

So, that really only leaves you with providing whatever emotional support for her you're up to. I say "you're up to," because it's SO important when you're in a supportive position to remember that you matter too, and that it doesn't make you a bad friend if you have limits to what support you can give or are willing to give. That also means that if even just being her friend is -- at times, or period -- no good for you, too big a burden, or she's changed so much that she's not being a friend to YOU, that that's okay, too, alright?

I know that's advice that's pretty limited in its helpfulness, but spots like this sadly tend to be this way.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LittleMissSunshine
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I second Heather's observation about denial. If a person isn't ready to seek help, there's not too much you can do. Another point to consider-if a person isn't "ready" to examine their problems, therapy or treatment really is pointless. Best results from treatment are going to occur when help isn't being resisted, or when the person realizes they have a issue worth resolving. The preceeding applies to everything from eating disorders, drug addiction, even things like grief.

That being said, I still think supporting your friend is very vital at this point (keeping in mind what Heather said...). The continuing support you give to your friend, in whatever form that may take is awesome. Part of this may just be me being optimistic and idealistic, and some of it is personal experience...but I'd like to think that your friend will one day hopefully realize that she needs some professional help to overcome her eating disorder...

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Serenademe
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Okay guys. Thanks for all the help! I'll just be there for her & hope for the best! Thanks again.
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BlueEyedBeauty
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I, myself , am EDNOS. What Heather and LittMissSunshine said about seeking help is true. My mom found out in April of 2005. She thought I was just bulimic and found out because our pipes wore down due to age. I got desperate and started puking in trash bags, and she found out. She threatened to send me to rehab(I was 15 at the time), forced me into therapy, made me pay $50 a week(food I wasted) and didn't allow me to take driver's ed till I got better. She thought it was just a phase, and I ended up resenting her. I still have a problem that no one knows about, and my boyfriend sometimes worries. I was not ready then, and still am not. But my boyfriend has helped me into getting better. He tells me how much he loves the fact that I have a butt, and how he finds such thin girls unattractive and would be afraid to break them. Be sure to tell your friend that you love her no matter what, be there for her when she needs help, and don't pressure into eating or getting help. Sometimes that can overwhelm her, make her eat, but then beat herself up after wards.
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Heather
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(I would add that overall, it is NOT suggested to tell someone with an eating disorder that they look awful or unattractive. It is known and shown, very strongly, to not help in the slightest, and only validate what those with EDs are already feeling.

It also sets up a pretty precarious precedent when healing is based on a partner talking about what is and is not attractive to them. NONE of us can control how others percieve us. So, one partner might feel this way -- but what if the next one doesn't? What happens then?

So, just a reminder per the last post, focusing on how a person looks and if they are attractive or not is generally NOT suggested by experts when it comes to EDs, and most ED folks who DO heal will later report in literature on the topic that that was NOT helpful.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ElleBaby06xxx
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hey, this comment is old but i feel i need to write this.
about some earlier comments, the term 'anorexia' purely by itself does just mean a loss of appetite.
however, 'anorexia nervosa' is the well known eating disorder. unfortunately, it frequently gets shortenned to just anorexia, thus people are confused when informed of anorexia's actual meaning. So you were both kinda right [Razz]
i know this because i suffer from anorexia nervosa.

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