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Friend with eating problems

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I posted on here a while ago about my friend's eating problems. She has a mixture of anorexia and bulemia, and it became a really big issue a few months ago. Since then, she's gone to a special eating clinic to try and sort things out (she has appointments every few weeks). I chat to her about it sometimes, just to see how she's getting on and to give her the chance to talk, but she's seemed to be getting a bit better, although she's still very thin. But yesterday I was talking to her about it, and she said that she's realised that she's happy being the way she is (i.e anorexic/bulemic), and she doesn't want to change. I didn't really know what to say. I didn't want to encourage her, but at the same time I didn't want her to close down on me, so I just asked her why she feels like that and stuff. And she basically said that it's too hard trying to change and she doesn't want to put on weight etc.
Now I just don't know what to do. I don't want to try and force anything on her, but at the same time I can't just watch her go downhill. She said she was going to tell the eating clinic her decision....I'm guessing they can't do anything if she makes a decision like that. So what do I do now? Anyone got any advice, cos I really don't have a clue. Thanks, Tates x


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Eating disorders are quite often a psychological addiction, in a way; not eating, or regulating the consumption of food, becomes an obsession, and can overtake a personality in quite drastic ways. If everything in a person's life is out of control, then eating is one way in which they can restore control over themselves; eating disorders are quite common among high-achieving girls for this reason. The control becomes an obsession.

    I'm not entirely sure what to suggest, because you simply HAVE to be strong for her, but you can't force her to do something she doesn't want to do because, as you quite rightly see, she will close down on you. The eating disorder clinic will understand how to react better than a lay-person will, I would have thought, so they will understand how to deal with her better- it is quite a common occurrence for a person to go into flight when their thought patterns are challenged, like they will be at a clinic such as that.

    Also be aware that if your friend is thought to be a serious danger to herself or to others then she can be sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 (I assume you are in the UK; if you aren't then there will be similar laws elsewhere), and can have treatment forced upon her.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your a good friend for caring.

    When I was dealing with anorexia, I was really mad at my friends and family for a long time because I didn't think I had a problem and I didn't know why they were making a big deal out of something. Now I can see that all they were doing was truly caring for me by saving my life and getting me help. I got intensive therapy for my eating disorder and it helped alot.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey Tates
    It is really hard being the friend who has to stay supportive but also cares about their friend and what they are going through. Many users have experienced similar worries about their friends, which is why we have written some features about this.

    Take a look at the eating disorders - helping a friend factsheet. We also have some true-life stories of a girl with an eating disorder and her friend, both explaining how a friend can help:
    My eating problems
    How I helped a friend

    The most important thing is to be there for your friend and to stick by her - she probably relies on you more than you realise.

    Hope this helps

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