ED-help

Today one of my friends called. She went to the doctors and was diagnosed with depression and an eating disorder. She did not go into the conversation, but agreed to meet me for coffee tomorrow.

Now, my mind is spinning. She asked me to ‘please not be mad’. Why on earth would I be mad? For her ‘taking my place’?  Stealing my title? For not stopping her before it got to this? For, even though I warned her and asked her and told her and begged her months ago already, I stopped warning her at some point and let her slip? I am not mad. Not at her at least. I am sad. And darn anxious.

Because, now it’s me at the other side.

Shit

I have no idea what I am supposed to do or say. She is not anorectic like I was, she is not emaciated, scarily thin. She’s not even skinny. She has always been a bigger girl and then lost a lot of weight through heavy excercise and dieting. Every lost pound was advertised on her facebook. Everyone cheered. Except for me. I warned her. I showed her what she did not want to become; me. And still I somehow let her slip.

Anyone, any advice? What do I tell her tomorrow? Or what not? What can I do to help her except simply being there for her? It’s not an “I’ll eat with you”-matter, because she’s not like that. She’s not the scared-of-food anorectic. She’s unhappy with her body, overexcercising to get rid of emotions and.. well.. She’s just not in a healthy place. It’s so different from where I was that I am so unsure what to do.

Advice, anyone?

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4 thoughts on “ED-help

  1. Hun,
    I think that the best thing for you and her is to sit down to the coffee date tomorrow and discuss the issue upfront. You have to be completely honest with her in the fact that it may be triggering for you to help her and you may not be in the best state of mind to give her the help she needs. If she needs a hug or a person to go shopping with (aka out with for lunches/breaks) then you can be that friend. But advice-wise, putting her burden on top of your own will just mask your own recovery and slow it down. You need to put yourself first in this situation. It’s not to say that you can not be there for her tomorrow; to listen to her. You say that she has seen a doctor and that he diagnosed. So she has the medical support. Perhaps encourage seeing a therapist/nutritionist or talk with her family (if she has their support too).
    Also, since the situations are different, she may even be triggered by your situation as well as vice versa.
    Remember, even though she doesn’t look the part, she still has an eating disorder and she needs a hand to hold. She probably asked you because you have been there and you are a most wonderful support/friend. <3
    You say that people cheered when she lost weight? She should drop those friends ( no offence-they do not sound like good influences at this time in her life)
    Praying for her and you. Love you.
    xoxo

  2. My advice is don’t push. Don’t give her advice or push her to say things she doesn’t want to or try and push home how dangerous it is. In reality, you don’t know all the ins and outs. If she’s seeking treatment, the big step you’d have to push for is already done. If she asks for advice, give it, and obvs if in a conversational way you give suggestions and stuff that’s fine, but don’t sit her down and say “right this is what you do – eat x, do x exercise, stop x, start x” or whatever. And don’t sit her down and say “This is so serious. Change or die” kinda stuff either.

    If it were me, I’d listen, I’d sympathise, I’d let her know how seriously I take her. If she’s only just been diagnosed and it’s the first time shes talked to you about it, it’s going to be so hard for her and overwhelming her is only going to make her run away from you and the insight and help you can give her.

    If anything she does or says is triggering, tell her it is to keep yourself safe. Don’t be worried to not tell her things you’re uncomfy with sharing if she asks.

    Regardless of what form her ED takes, she’s probably looking to you because she feels you may have similar thought processes and will understand. It’s ok if you don’t, but just listening and accpeting what she feels as fact. I’m sure you’ve tried to talk to someone without an ED and they’ve just told you you’re being an idiot and to stop being silly or whatever right? And how then you just feel worse? Your feelings are just dismissed as silly and wrong (Which is partly why I blog). If you can give her acceptance, that’ll do nothing but help.

    You cannot be expected to be the minder of all your friends mental health. You know full well there is absolutely no way to stop the progression of an ED unless the sufferer wants it. Regardless of anything you said or did, she was always going to get as unwell as her ED could make her before it hurt her enough for her to seek help. You cannot blame yourself and you didn’t slip. Imagine if it were you and someoe with an ED tried to stop you restricting. Would you have listened? Or would you have let it continue thinking it was nothing until it got so bad you were forced to change?

    I hope it goes ok. Take care alright.

    x.

  3. I got here late, and you’ve likely already met with her. I hope everything went ok.

    The comments above are spot on in my opinion. You come first. You can’t be expected to fix people, but you can listen and if they ask for advice you can offer it. She is probably super scared, and we all know how it can help to talk to people who know what you’re on about – that’s why I love you guys!

    The ‘don’t be mad at me’ could be because she feels embarrassed, you warned her but nothing you could have done or said could alter how things are now. I know that it didn’t matter what anybody said to me, I didn’t pay attention until it was too late.

    I think it is good that she’s reached out, but don’t feel like you need to fix stuff, she can work through this with her team and probably just needs someone to talk to who can relate xx

  4. Hon you didn’t let her slip. Only she is responsible for her actions. That’s something I had to learn – I didn’t have a choice to get the ED but I DO have a choice to fight it or not. She chooses so far, to give in to it. You also can’t change her mind for her, can’t push her to the place of being ready to fight it.
    I totally relate to being on the ‘other side’ – that happened to me with a close friend recently. She went dramatically downhill and suddenly I realised just what people who cared about me went through when I was more unwell.
    I also found myself struggling to understand how she couldn’t just eat, couldn’t do what it took to save herself – even though I had been there and to some extent still am, myself!!
    Remember how much you used to beat yourself up (and still do)? Sounds like your friend has the ‘sorry jar syndrome’. Seems that most of us with ED apologise even for being alive. A clinic I went to had a sorry jar because of this!
    *hugs* hang in there.
    The best way you can help your friend is to show her the way – by pushing on with your own recovery and showing her what it’s like to beat this and that it’s worth it xxxx

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