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What can I do to be supportive for a friend?

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Pneuma, Apr 12, 2007.

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  1. Pneuma

    Pneuma Guest

    I'm beginning to suspect one of my most beloved friends is developing an eating disorder. She confessed recently that she tried it once but I'm beginning to think it's going on more often than she's telling me. Today after lunch she went into the bathroom and turned the water on in the bathtub. She didn't look well when she came back....

    I'm really worried and don't know what to say or do. Can anyone help me to help her?
  2. Scum

    Scum Well-Known Member

    Ok, this is hard because everyone needs a different sort of help.

    Maybe try and approach her about your concerns, and why you are worried. Maybe in a letter because that might remive the pressure from her in feeling she has to respond and she can take time over a reply.

    Maybe suggest she gets some help and support (maybe give her some info on where she can go, but DON'T pressure her to get it, just giving her the info may be enough at the moment to make her think), also try and give her info on how dangerous purging (ie making yourself sick, or taking laxatives or excessive exercise) can be.

    Allow her to talk to you, and try to actually listen to what she says. She might just need someone to listen to her about how she feels and what is going on.

    Do NOT pressure her into stopping, do not do anything like make ultimatums, like stop purging or I'll leave your friendship (I don't think you would, but there are so many people who think ultimatums work, but they make it worse for the sufferer). Try not to make a massive deal of it, just try to keep it casual when you communicate, but also try to help her understand what she is doing. And try to stay calm.

    You sound like a brilliant friend because she felt able to talk to you before.

    If I can help anymore, let me know.

    Take care of yourself too
  3. Scum

    Scum Well-Known Member

    I forgot to add, that once you have approached her, ask her what she thinks you could do to help her, and use it as a giude. Obviously not as the golden word because often people do not know what is best for them when they are ill, but use it to guide you.
  4. Pneuma

    Pneuma Guest

    Thank you!
  5. Scum

    Scum Well-Known Member

    Hope it helps :)
  6. manutd

    manutd Member

    Ive been in noth sides on this situation, i myself have an ED and i know a friend of mine has an ED as well...
    I guess it's easier for me to try and help her becuase ive been in her position though. But the best advice i can give you is that the best thing you can do is let her know that your there for her. An ED makes you misarable, its not a nice existance, you feel so alone. Let her know that she's not alone, she's never alone. Always be there for her and let her rant offer little bits of advice. Find otu hwat you can about EDs - knowledge helps. And yes finding info to her may help, give her the link to this forum? It may help.

    I really hope she's ok.
    Take care
  7. slim_to_none

    slim_to_none Well-Known Member

    as someone else who has been on both sides of the problem i agree with what has been said.
    im just trying to think of what my friends have done to help me.

    i know i was saved by one of my best friends when i first got ill by being told about a particular online forum that was based around supporting each other, and that in essence saved me. knowing others were feeling the same.
    and not pressuring your friend too. if she doesnt want to eat around you, see if you can arrange to just go out for social food experiences where she can have something safe (ie - coffee or something) and you can demonstrate through your own actions that food is safe and not scary.

    ive found that being walked around supermarkets is helpful too. it sounds crazy, but doing that with a friend who is healthy and seeing what normal people do put into shopping baskets and buy and eat helps too.

    and meeting others who have recovered is good too. my biggest support at my worst was a woman who i had met while i was doing an IP stay in an ED unit. she was fully recovered and working with people who had an ed. She helped me so much.

    what else. maybe your town has support groups. i know where i live there is a fortnightly support meeting where people who suffer from an eating disorder can go and just vent to other people in similar situations. they also have meetings for carers / friends too. and i know those have helped both me and my friends and family.

    there are a lot of options out there to help. just dont be too pushy. let her find her own path. and just be there. be a friend. and care.
    she'll appreciate it even if she cannot tell you that herself.

    good luck.
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